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Thread: Ugly site high rank

  1. #1
    Junior Registered
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    Ugly site high rank

    In the last few months I came across a few websites which are badly designed and bad lay out but with a surprisingly large visitors and high page rank.

    The most notable so far is http://www.craigslist.org/

    I can assure that my site is probably 5 or 6 times more well-designed but when I compare on the number visitor (which i'm on the losing end), it makes me clenching my fist.

    Anyone to share their secrets?

  2. #2
    Registered Sagewing's Avatar
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    Craigslist is kind of plain (understatement) but it's very usable and intuitive. I wouldn't say it's 'badly designed' - it just not graphically rich. It's well designed if you look at all the aspects of design.

  3. #3
    Web Monkey MarkB's Avatar
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    It also does what it says on the tin, without any fuss or unnecessary bloat, which is just what its users want and need - hence its success
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  4. #4
    lol Vinnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zulkiflimusa
    In the last few months I came across a few websites which are badly designed and bad lay out but with a surprisingly large visitors and high page rank.

    The most notable so far is http://www.craigslist.org/

    I can assure that my site is probably 5 or 6 times more well-designed but when I compare on the number visitor (which i'm on the losing end), it makes me clenching my fist.

    Anyone to share their secrets?
    Yeah, design (speaking of graphics/aesthetics only here) is nearly irrelevant in the case of Craigslist because of its community and inertia. CL was one of the first classifieds sites on the internet, which brought people to it who now stay because everyone else is there.

    Now, there are two aspects to design: the aesthetics/looks which you touched on, and the function of the site. In terms of functionality, CL is just fine and works exactly as expected. People always seem to forget that and assume that "design" is just about pretty pictures when it's much more.
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  5. #5
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    Yeah - I've come across this fact too. It doesn't seem that search engines can discern between ugly and pretty

    Not yet anyways...

  6. #6
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    Another great example of how "Content is King!"
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  7. #7
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    sad though, the owner could have made a fortune replacing the classifieds script with something decent etc. 110,000 things for sale.. nice. and not to forget his forums... I guess this site wasn't created for the money, as there are no ads etc.

  8. #8
    Registered Giles's Avatar
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    It almost looks nice. But it's yuck. I agree, if there are two sites with the same content I would g for the pretty one.

    I wonder how long until the search engines take this into account...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giles
    I wonder how long until the search engines take this into account...
    I don't see how they could. You can use all the elements of what makes a site look good, and it still look ugly.

  10. #10
    Administrator Chris's Avatar
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    If the ugliness makes it less useful it will already be reflected in that they should end up with less incoming links.
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  11. #11
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    Its not about the design being ugly or pretty, its about it being usable. I visit tons of websites every single day, and the amount of hard to use sites is staggering -- and this comes from someone who grew up with computers. I can't even imagine how some of these sites look to novice internet users.

    Compared to Yahoo, MSN, or even Ask, Google is damn ugly. Has that had any negative affect on Google? Possibly, but its so small that the pros far outwiegh the cons. Before I was doing this I planned on being an artist. In the beginning it was all about detail and realism, but as I got older I realised how critical layout and eye movement was.

    The problem with websites is that most web designers don't really understand this. May be they took a graphic design class and the teacher went over it, but they haven't mastered it. And if they have, they are focusing too much on the sites design rather than the content. Despite what web designers think, people don't visit web site to look at the design unless the site itself is about design.

    Instead, They add all kinds of elements that kill navigatability (yes I just made that word up), conversion rates, and click throughs. I think this problem is exacerbated by the ease of use of all of these web design and graphics programs. I'm not saying there is anything bad with it, but just because someone can make gradients doesn't mean they understand the core concepts of design.

    So what happens by default is that when someone who can't use photoshop or illustrator or dreamweaver puts together a webpage it looks pretty plain. The useless elements that distract are left out, and the core function of the site shines through.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of ugly sites that don't work too. However, every time I've seen someone say -- hey this site is ugly, why is it so successful? -- I've looked at the design and its actually laid out very well, even if it isn't pretty.
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  12. #12
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    Nice post Cutter.

    I saw an article the other day where someone redesigned craigslist and it looked a lot nicer and easier to navigate. I can't find the article, but here is the link to the redesign.

    http://craigslist.thebignoob.com/

    Interesting stuff.
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  13. #13
    Registered John's Avatar
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    I think someone on these forums made a real ugly site with all kinds of funky colors and what not but had a good layout and good content just to prove the design doesn't matter. For some reason I'm thinking it was Cutter or Chromate.

  14. #14
    Crazed Toucan Toucan42's Avatar
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    Function over fashion. Period.

    However, a good planner will consider design to be integral to the process of developing a functional site.

  15. #15
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    The thing is that visual layout can not have a positive impact on search engine rankings, but it back-end may make the site harder to crawl. A design isn't related to SEO and website promotion as well as to website content, which craigslist beats you all over the place.

    And yes, if designers designed usable websites (or at least considered usability and accessibility when creating websites), website usability consultants would have much less work to do.

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