When it comes to website design, there are a few common things that everyone would like their site to do; it should be user-friendly so it’s easy for visitors to find information or buy online, it should build trust through functions like reviews or testimonials, and it should be set up in a way that means it is more likely to rank well within search engines.
There are also some standard conventions which can be followed in terms of design – but sometimes it’s okay to break the rules! If your customers demand something other than the norm, you have got to put their considerations above that of your website designer – and a great example of this is Ling’s Cars.
Lingscars.com is a car leasing website (whose owner, Ling Valentine, was featured on BBC’s Dragon’s Den) and it’s main function is to convince website visitors to convert in to customers by leasing a car online.
As soon as you load up Ling’s website, you’re immediately assaulted from all angles: there’s streaming music, weird Star Wars-themed animations sprawled all over the homepage, bizarre Microsoft Paint-drawn arrows highlighting random items in the menu, animated gifs a-plenty, and the kind of psychedelic background that would make even the gnarliest of hippies feel sick.
It’s actually really difficult to look at Lingscars.com for more than a few minutes without feeling nauseous: there’s just so much going on. Everything flashes or blinks, has cartoony outlines, and screams “look at me” from your browser. In fact, some people were quick to decree that this was the “Ugliest Site on the Internet”. And they have a point – it really is quite horrible.
Yet despite this – and despite apparently breaking every rule in the golden book of web design – Lingscars.com has a HUGE conversion rate. In 2010, Lingscars.com turned over £35m of hire cars and in 2014 Ling expects to rent over £75m worth of cars (at RRP).
The site looks like hell – but actually includes many sensible features. Everywhere you look, there are offers for cars: it’s in your face, but that’s why you’ve visited a car leasing website, surely?
Ling uses clear language to explain how much the car will cost, she includes pictures, bright text and flashy animations to keep your attention moving from car to car, and then she backs it up with testimonials from happy customers (with “1,500+ letters received!” scrawled on the homepage just to underline the positive responses she gets).
There are also games and interactive elements including a list of staff members who are currently online and available to chat directly to customers over the internet – all of which help to convert website visitors in to customers.
She may have thrown away the design rulebook, but Ling Valentine has created an incredible website that does exactly what she wants: it gets people talking about her business, but, more importantly, it effectively turns curious visitors into committed customers time and time again.
However from a design aspect it’s easy to want ‘Everything on the first page’, whereas clearly from lingscars.com they could benefit from a key design eye to narrow the core features down and lead the user on a more useable experience.
So, when it comes to your own website, don’t let the traditional get in the way of your seasoned customer knowledge. Create an online presence which truly caters to your customers in a simple yet effective manor.
If you would like to work with a website designer who knows that every website has got to be uniquely targeted to unique demographics, then contact us and we’d be happy to provide you with a quote!