By Andrew Neitlich

This is the kind of website every web designer should design

By Andrew Neitlich

I just signed up with www.carbonite.com, a web-based backup solution. The process meets almost every criteria I can think of for a positive web-based ecommerce service:

– First, I heard about the service from a respected colleague, so I was already predisposed to buy.

– The home page is simple yet glorious. In a single sentence it tells you what the service does and how much it costs. It also offers a free trial — one where they don’t even ask for your credit card. It even offers “unlimited” backups at a low price. I love home pages like this one.


– If you want more info, it is easy to click any of the links to learn more. They have audio clips, animated tutorials, and text.

– The whole thing is simple and focused on a compelling value proposition — save your files for only $5 per month.

– My experience so far has been excellent. It was easy to get started and the system is doing what it said it would do. There were no download issues. Everything was easy.

I hope you are designed websites that convey what your clients (or you) offer in the same simple, elegant, powerful way as this one! And I hope your clients can deliver on what their website promises.

If you can, you will be unbeatable as a web designer. You will be able to help companies convey their products and services in simple terms, and convert prospects to buyers — and maybe also be sure that their products/services deliver in a simple and powerful way. You’ll be more than “just” a web designer, but someone who plays a key role in marketing, product development, and strategy. Or, if you focus on taking what the company has and helping them convert visitors to buyers with an irresistable web site, you’ll be way beyond most!

(Note: I have no stake in this company whatsoever. The above review is based on no conflict of interest or desire to promote this service).

If you have a site to share that isn’t your own, where there is no conflict of interest, and that you KNOW converts visitors to buyers, please share your favorite and why you think it excels in generating sales. BUT DO NOT USE THIS TO PROMOTE ANYTHING OF YOUR OWN OR YOUR FRIENDS/FAMILY/COLLEAGUES.

  • What I liked most about the site was that the pricing was stated up front. You rarely ever see this on sites these days. What you will see is that “Contact Us” link that forces you to hear a sales pitch. I find that so annoying.

  • Yes, it’s a great website, but not all websites/offerings can do this as clearly as you might wish. To reference the above comment, sometimes it’s not possible to place an exact price up front, and a ‘contact us’ is needed (say, for example, ‘how much does a website cost?’).

  • Geoffco

    If you can’t define what you do and why someone should care in 1-2 short sentences, you’ve got a problem.

    It’s all about having a clear USP and then making that the first thing you tell people.

  • Although those bevelled “Try Carbonite Free” buttons are a bit lame.

    I personally like http://www.photobox.co.uk/

  • I like a lot of things about the site, but when I went to download the trial I got:

    The software requires Windows XP and your computer is currently running Unknown.

    Unknown? I’m on a Mac. It could have at least said on the home page PC required.

    At least it knew I was on SOMETHING else and didn’t let me download. Eh.

  • Personally i like the skype website and in some ways this site remindes me of it. Good clear website.

  • So whats the difference between something like this and mozy.com? For $4.95 a month I can get 30GB of back up. Mozy also has a free 2GB no questions asked.

    I am not affiliated with mozy.com in any way. :)

  • James Arnez-Saleh

    What I really like about this site is the totally whacko cartoons by Jasper Friend — I know this dude from his comic books and grafiti around Boston. His name is in the credits at the end of the Flash movie on the carbonite.com website (you have to click the guy eating popcorn), but I didn’t need to see the credits to know who did it. Most cartoons look like, well, dumb cartoons that any art student could draw. But this dude is a total original and if you live around Boston you can spot his work instantly. Who would have thought of using a grafiti artist on a corporate web site? This is one web site that made me LOL.


  • Lee

    I think this might appeal to a “marketer” more than an actual end consumer as they pricing table is more than confusing (why pay $5 for 1G when you offer more than that – if you don’t understand what you are buying this could be confusing) and I think the big failure is to lure consumers in with a monthly price point all over the home page only to find out you must pre-pay for a full year when you go to sign up. I imagine the bail rate is very high on the sign-up page.

  • didimo
  • I like Wordtracker.com, good page, great service, despite being a little pricey.

  • How did beley not see https://site1.carbonite.com/manage/images/signup/signup_system.gif which is on the free trial signup form?

    How did XiledWeb not realise that Andrew isn’t pitching the service over any given other (we’ll ignore that check from http://www.payperpost.com mate =]) but merely drawing attention to the web design aspect of Carbonite – part of which just happens to be prominent, reasonable pricing?

    I promise not to troll these comments picking on people who totally missed the plot, but these two made me chuckle and sigh at once.

    Nice post! Can’t ever get enough of good web design examples and multi-paragraph blog entries. Both are right here.

  • heh or upload here fo free

    Just a simple question. How come can you trust a company who doesn’t have a “decent” web page for the solution they offer?

    Unknown? I’m on a Mac. It could have at least said on the home page PC required.

    At least it knew I was on SOMETHING else and didn’t let me download. Eh.

    It’s writen, black on white on the download section: System RequirementYou must have Windows XP computer… Do they need to be more precise? :)

  • HML

    Just the kind of site every web developer should be designing… if you don’t mind the fact that a good portion of the page above the fold is Flash, and simply appears empty if plugins are turned off, disabled, or blocked.

    Worse, is that all Flash is doing there is mostly displaying line-oriented B&W graphics. Can anyone say GIF?

  • I was under the impression that the stats on users that scroll the home page are quite low, therefore a long home page like that one is a bad thing?

    Anyone got any ideas?

  • Gator99
  • Personally i like the skype website

    Yep, me too- little touches like customizing the download and install instructions and screenshots depndingon which browser the user has make it pretty slick.

  • Jdriscoll

    Logo’s week. Too much text on the home page. An increase in line-height would have been nice for readability. Not sure why you’ve got a boner for this site…

  • Milos

    Mozy.com`s great!

  • Allen S.

    I didn’t like the website becasue the offer seems too good to be true. I looked around for the catch, but couldn’t find it.

    $5/mo for 40G has got to be a scam :)

    I visited logoworks.com the other day, and thought it would be a good design to steal.


  • DC_todd

    dude. that site is plain jane….you don’t have to overdue it but come on…plain jane. those flash graphics are too tall…the information is too far down on the page…..I’m a flash guy too…and they haven’t put in the active x fix yet. They should try a plain colored background color and keep the white behind the text to make it a page effect and give it a little more contrast. most “developers” have no idea about design….and vice versa…every once in a while someone can do both or have at least the sense to do both.

  • okrika

    I looked at the site and didn’t see anything so great to inspire me to design a site like that.The site backgroung does not blend seamlessly with the logo and the graphical images.In the bottom where it says try it out, the graphical images are not clikable only the text below the graphical images are clicable.

  • Hmmmm

    This seems like a blatant copy of the Skype site to me (http://www.skype.com/). The grey fade at the top, speech bubbles, element positioning. It just looks like a complete copy.

    Logo is very weak too.

    The service does have it’s good point too though. However I would always be careful to differentiate my service based mainly on price as this does as you always have to make sure you’re the cheapest. They may (or may not) be now but if someone else launches cheaper then they’ve lost their USP.

  • UrbanNomad60

    I wouldn’t say it’s a blatent copy of Skype. It does have some similarities, but if you look at the source code, it’s very different. The Skype site is nice clean code, this carbonite site is a very ugly piece of work. There’s code mixed in with the content, tables, a mixture of VBscript and jscript, Flash for no good reason, no alt tags on images, etc. So as an example of web design it’s poor, but I think what the original comment was about was the marketing style; ie: upfront.
    Mind you I had to search to find the “Win XP only” information, so a more accurate description would be backup for any “Win XP PC”

  • jendy

    “This is the kind of website every web designer should design”…

    I don’t think it’s that good at all!

    – The design does not account for 800×600 screens
    – Typography needs improving i.e line height (all the rows of text are too close)
    – too much scrolling for the home page

    that’s just what jumped out after a 5 second glance of the home page.

    Be interesting to know if the owner is a business acquaintance of Mr Neitlich…maybe they play golf together.

  • aneitlich


    Please, call me Andrew, and please, read my blog in full where I indicate that I have nothing to do with the company.

    Also, I don’t play golf.

  • alienbrain

    Eh, the site is not visually pleasant nor that readable, I don’t like the comparison with other competitors; it’s low. It’s also slow and all menu items are images, plus, it’s using tables all over the place which questions its accessbility. It was made in the 99’s ?

  • Mathew Patterson

    Most of the commenters seem to be missing the point of Andrew’s post. Nearly all of Andrew’s positive comments about the site refer to the content – the copy, the simplicity, the easy access to more information.

    Whereas the comments are all about visual design. A beautifully laid out page with perfect typography but poor messaging will not convince people to buy.

  • I’m impressed with one thing. With just scanning and half-reading the homepage, I have an almost complete idea of the service and what they’re about, what it can do, and what I’d use it for if I got it. I don’t really have any significant questions and I didn’t have to click on anything at all.

    On the downside, I think it could be prettier. It looks ok, but it could look better.

  • Lelika

    An interesting point of view:If you have a site to share that isn’t your own, where there is no conflict of interest, and that you KNOW converts visitors to buyers, please share your favorite …
    Photo Gifts – are you looking for an amazing gift?

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