How One Insanely Ugly Website Quietly Generates $30 Million /Year

I love seeing how people, especially online, beat their chest, talking about: “Design is essential for conversions.”… or… “What color should my button have to increase conversions”…

… all the while, there’s one butt-ugly website, quietly generating $30+ million each year.

And, according to Similarweb.com, they’ve got 70+ million visitors… per month!

Holy Underwritten Metropolis Batman!

The site in question is:

“The Drudge Report.”

Founded in 1995… and… let’s just say it’s *not* going to win any design awards any time soon. In fact, the design hasn’t changed much (if anything at all) these past 20 years.

It’s fascinating.

Now, I’m not saying I’m anywhere near the amount of revenue Drudge generates.

But, there are still great lessons you can learn from Drudge.

Here’s what I mean: There’s always “that one guy,” beating his chest about why design is the be-all-end-all to website conversions. Sure, there might be some truth to that. But, as the adage says: “You can’t polish a turd.” If your offer sucks monkey-balls, no matter how much you try to dress it up and put lipstick on that offer, it’s still going to suck. It might look pretty, sure. But it’s still a bad offer.

However, look at the Drudge Report.

It’s ugly as hell.

It defies ALL the typical advice you see online.

Yet, it’s quietly making millions of dollars every month.

Here’s the thing:

Drudge understands and has dialed into their niche in such a way that their readers don’t really care about the design. Of course, some people might like to see an updated design. But, that’s not why people (70+ million /month) visit that site.

They visit the site for the content.

Content that speaks to them.

That reminds me… every time I use this example, there’s always one person who’s going to challenge me on this. (Which is fine. It’s not against the law to be wrong.)

“But, Kristian, think about how much revenue they could be making if they updated their design!”

Look, I’ll be happy to listen the day you generate $30 million /year.

Here’s the thing:

Whatever niche you’re in… no matter who you serve… no matter what your product is… there’s always a natural progression in any business:

  1. Find out what people want and understand their hopes, fears, and dreams
  2. Create a solution to solve your customers’ problem
  3. Market that product
  4. Sell said product
  5. Give your customers what they paid for

Once you know what people want — not what you want — everything else becomes pretty straightforward.

Let’s imagine you already have a product and you want to sell more of that product.

Here’s an old-school exercise you can use to get people’s attention:

(Quick note, can’t remember where I learned this from. But, full disclosure, it’s not my idea.)

Before you sit down to write your blog post… sales letter… social media post… or, the best thing since sliced bread, your email (in my very biased opinion)…

Ask yourself this question:

“What’s the ONE thing you can say to your specific client at that moment, to get them to yank you inside their house and force you to tell them about your product or service?”



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