Friday, July 13, 2012

Does website design affect sales?

Michael W. Davis

Ever wonder if the design of your website affects sales? I didn’t until an author friend visiting mine commented about her own experience with that very topic. To that end, I constructed a new layout that altered the structure, button selection, what went where, and eliminated a bunch of stuff. I recorded data for six months and compared the results to stats I had maintained on the old design. Did I notice an improvement? You bet, and here’s a summary:

- Primarily I reduced clutter, how much was on each page, eliminate certain buttons, deleted a few pages and added a new one (awards).
- Across six months, the number of deep hits (visitors stay > 1 min) increased 65% per week, on average.
- During the same period the rate of visits to my buy page (where books are available) increased 110%.
- The rate buy page visits translated to actual sales increased from 25% to 60%

Yeah, I call that significant and well worth the effort. Note that a complete refurbishing is not a trivia matter. I designed and built both websites myself and would estimate that the last one took two weeks and about 60 labor hours, but I consider it well worth the effort.

My point? Have some friends you trust, that will be gut honest (not wives, lovers, mothers, etc) evaluate your website. Ask for their opinions, and listen to what they say. Some author buds/budettes are great too. You might be surprised at the result, if you can get people to bleed on your baby, yeah, you know, like the blood squad that critics your scripts.

Details of what I did and the benefit are at Click the yellow button near the upper left corner ("So you what to write a novel"), scroll down the left and read the article entitled “Does website design affect sells.” Heads up: the article was prepared for newbies in a workshop. It starts with basic stuff so don’t complain about its length (g)


Big Mike said...

Geez, gotta comment on my own post. There's a typo and I didn't want to edit and resend to subscribers. If you want to see the full article, go to the bottom row of cover art on home page ( and click the cover entitled "So you want to write a novel?" then go to the article near bottom left of next page entitled "Does website design affect sells?"

Sorry about the typo.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2011)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Decluttering is excellent advice. I'm sendig that portion to my webmaster.

January Bain said...

Great advice as always, Big Mike. Thanks!

Rhobin said...

Good advice, another set of eyes always sees what you've missed.

KMTolan said...

Web guy here. Some quick tips after I first give a "Hell yes" to this article.

1. Your site should be simple enough that no scrolling (or very little) is required per page - at least on the front-facing pages (first chapters gonna scroll, heh).

2. Navigation should be simple and not require a back key.

3. I should be able to see all of your page no matter if I'm using a smart phone.

4. Don't clutter, and make sure all of your pages follow a central theme.


Linda LaRoque said...

Very nice banner!