The “Clean” Website Paradox

clean websiteBy Haydn Rowe

So often the brief for a website designer or developer begins with the words – “we want this website to be fresh and clean”.

And one thing many people say about their current website, is that “it’s a mess, we need a cleaner website”.

Really? Why?

Let’s test that burning desire for a “clean” or “cleaner” website by asking a couple of questions…

When was the last time you were on the Internet and came across a website so clean and so fresh that you dropped everything and fired off an email to your friends and colleagues sharing the joyous news that you’ve found an unbelievably clean website?

When was the last time you found a website so clean that it had you reaching for your credit card to buy before you knew what was happening, or filling in a form on the website requesting an appointment?

Hmmm – nope, I can’t remember either.

This is the clean website paradox – everyone wants a clean website, certainly a cleaner website than they have now – but we don’t really know why.

It just seems like the right thing to say when your developer or designers asks you what’s important to you about the design of your new website.

Let’s dig a bit deeper and put the “clean website” idea to the test.

First lets look at the worlds most popular newspaper website, Britain’s own Daily Mail – surely their Mail Online website must be super clean?

Here it is…


OK – that’s not at all “clean”, in fact if you have time go to the Mail Online now and start scrolling down the page – it goes on f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

But hey, they don’t actually try and sell on the Internet, so let’s look at the world’s most successful website in terms of sales.

Amazon is number 10 in the world website rankings and the first that actually sells products…


Nope – that’s not clean either. In fact, it’s a mess, but it sells like crazy.

And the UK’s most successful property website?


No – that’s not clean either. What’s going on here?

Successful websites understand that visitors have
a primary purpose when visiting – to get information.

And that if the website doesn’t deliver, then the back button on the browser gets hit pretty quickly, and you lose the visitor.

They also understand that visitors have different requirements …

Some want general information on products and services as they “gen up” on the industry, the products and the service.

Others want to buy now.

Some want to ‘check you out’ – get an understanding of who you are, look at your ‘credentials’ and your track record.

Some want to download your information offers – white papers, buyers guides and reports.

Your visitors could fall into any of these categories – so your website needs to offer all options to visitors so they can find their way easily to the content that they want.

That’s why seemingly “busy” sites can be the most successful.

WDM offers a no obligation, Free Website MOT where we will assess your website in 4 key areas and advise on how to improve your website’s performance. Click here to find out more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *