I’ve long thought that the more “innovative” a website is, the harder it is to use.
The more animations, the more sideways text, the more “creativity” a site contains, the more it differs from the web conventions visitors have come to expect and rely on.
Ramit Sethi’s website is totally un-innovative. That’s why I think it’s good.
There’s no giant hero image or crazy ass giant video in the background on Ramit’s site that starts playing when the page loads. Aside from the photo of Ramit, there’s just one color, yellow!
And not only is everything else gray, it’s light gray text on a lighter gray background. It’s as if he wants you not to notice the rest of the site. I believe that’s precisely the idea: the only thing Ramit wants you to do on this site is to take his earning potential quiz.
Here’s the part of the page that’s visible in the viewport:
As you can see, it’s clear that the designer of this page really wanted to you click that “Start the quiz” button.
It’s also pretty clear what you get if you do click that button. I can tell that if I click that button, I’m going to be presented with an “earning potential quiz” and then I’ll get a custom report after that. It looks like Ramit only wants to attract people who want to “discover how to start making extra money”.
Below to the main call to action are the media outlets where Ramit has been featured. He’s using a tactic called social proof. Social proof, which I first read about in Robert Cialdini’s book Influence, is basically a shortcut our brains use that says, “Look, a bunch of other people think this thing is good, so it’s probably good.”
Besides the few short blurbs under “What you’ll get”, there’s really not much at all on this page. There aren’t even footer links like you’d expect from a big, popular site like this. This page has one single goal, which is to get you to take that quiz (and ultimately give Ramit your email address).
By the way, if you’re someone who markets and sells stuff online, I highly recommend that you get on Ramit Sethi’s email list. I teach myself email marketing mainly by subscribing to the email lists of “the masters” and observing their tactics. I don’t know of anyone better at email marketing than Ramit.
- Point all your guns in the same direction. Decide one single action you want the user to take and make everything on the page support that action.
- A quiet, “boring” design is probably more effective than a “creative” or “modern” design.
- Social proof builds trust.