You might not know this but for most of my 20’s I was pursuing a career of being a professional Opera Singer.
During this time I had the opportunity to travel the world to places like Italy, Germany and Austria learning from the some of the best musicians around.
On more than one occasion I met with Placido Domingo, one of the world’s greatest Tenor’s and it was from him that I learned one my most useful pieces of advice.
He told the story of how he and some colleagues went to a performance of Tosca at the Vienna Staatsoper. When they started watching the performance it turned out that the Tenor performing was really bad. So bad that his friends wanted to leave after the first intermission.
But Placido wanted to stay. When his friends asked why, he said:
“You can learn more from a bad singer than you can from a good one. Because if the singer is bad but performing at a professional opera house, then they must be doing something right. And whatever that that thing is he must be doing really right. And if I can identify what that is, then I can learn something.”
Ultimately I channeled my creative endeavors towards website design rather than singing, but I have kept the lesson I learned from Placido and continue to apply it to this day.
Here’s how I apply the lesson I learned from Placido.
If I come across a website that is ugly and outdated but ranks well on Google I don’t just say to myself ‘hey what a crappy looking website’. Instead I think ‘okay this website looks crappy but it’s still ranking well on Google, what is it doing right?’
Or I may see an ugly looking website that is spending hundreds of dollars a day on Google AdWords and I will realize that even if the design doesn’t look great there must be something useful about the structure of their content or the way the offer is structured, otherwise this company wouldn’t be spending thousands of dollars a month sending people to this site.
So how can you apply this lesson to your website?
First of all don’t discount what’s already working for your existing website. If you have a site and it’s ugly or dated but still bringing in customers, ask yourself what is it that is bringing you success? Is it a particular offer you have? Is it the copy? Is it the simplicity of the design?
Once you’ve identify what is already working, then be sure not to throw those elements out when redesigning your website.
Also, take a look at your competitors’ websites. Are there any sites that you find ugly or dated that somehow perform better than your website? Ask your what is it that does seem to be working. Then incorporate any of those elements into your own website.
So there you have it, a lesson learned from one of the world’s great opera singers that you can apply to your website design or to any area of your life really.
And for those wondering, yes I still sing from time to time but mostly in the shower.