Do You Need a New Site Design?

Does the name lifeBLUE Media ring a bell? If you’ve been a devoted reader of John Chow dot Com, then you may recall when I highlighted lifeBLUE’s Romance Cinema application earlier this year. Going back even further, I reviewed their win a free redesign contest in July 2007. After experiencing the John Chow Effect, lifeBLUE Media has clearly recognized the value of getting themselves promoted on this blog.

Well, they’re back and they ordered another review to promote a new contest that they are holding where you can win a new design for your website or blog. How do you win these free web design services? Read on to find out.

Does Your Site Look Like Complete Junk?

It makes perfect sense that this latest promotion from lifeBLUE Media is dubbed the I Need a New Design Contest. Catering to people who aren’t exactly satisfied with their current site designs, lifeBLUE wants to offer one lucky winner the opportunity to get a completely unique and custom look for their website or blog.


While quality content is still king, having a good site design can go a long way in giving a good visitor experience. If a blog has a great ideas but looks like utter garbage, it’s unlikely that site visitors will stick around (or come back). This is why having a good design is so important.

Back to the Ugly Duckling

Just as with lifeBLUE’s first contest, the winner of the new “I Need a New Design Contest 2.0” will be the person who has the absolute worst site design currently. Yes, this is very much a matter of opinion, but it’s not the opinion of lifeBLUE that matters; it’s yours.


After joining the contest, your site will be submitted to the Wall of Shame. The relative size of the block indicates how well that poor site design is doing in the contest. The larger the block, the higher the ranking. In this way, you get some free promotion for your site through this contest as well.

So Easy to Enter

With many contests that you encounter on the Internet, you may be faced with quite the lengthy registration process. For the lifeBLUE web design contest, you just have to fill three fields.


This will take you all of 10 seconds to complete, but that’s not where the work ends. You’ve got to get people to vote for you.

Average Daily Votes, Not Cumulative Votes

Your goal is to get your audience (and other members of your online network) to vote for your site on the lifeBLUE website. Interestingly, the winner is not based on a cumulative number of votes. Instead, the winner will be determined by the number of average daily votes. The idea is that you have an equal chance at winning if you enter on the first day or the last day of the contest.


I understand that lifeBLUE Media doesn’t want late entries to feel discouraged for entering late, but because the winner is based on the number of average daily votes, it almost makes more sense to enter on the last day and absolutely bombard the site with votes. If you enter on the last day (February 15, 2009) and get everyone to vote for you on that day, you probably have the best chance at winning. In this way, the system almost discourages early entries.

(UPDATE: I just got an email from lifeBLUE Media responding to this concern and they’ve decided to give two prizes instead. One prize will be awarded based on average daily votes, but another one will be given based on total cumulative votes. This second prize, which is of equal value, encourages you to enter early.)

Looking at the current standings, you only have to get about 11 votes each day to be the leader. That doesn’t sound too hard, does it? I just got a new design for Beyond the Rhetoric, so at least you won’t have to compete against me. 🙂


50 thoughts on “Do You Need a New Site Design?”

  1. I agree that a site’s design goes hand in hand with contents. I would definitely take part in this contest. lifeBLUE are well known designers and i would be glad if they re-design my website 🙂

    1. Li Weng says:

      It definitely looks like a contest worth-while to participate in. I think site design is an important part of conversion, since people make visual judgments before they rate things rationally. And it’s really emotions that make you buy. However sales copy is still a lot more important in my view.

      1. Yeah…this is so cool. They have some pretty cool designs..I’m going to check them out now.

        1. Blog Expert says:

          I really enjoy your picture. that’s all I have to say.

      2. I need a new design..please help

  2. Li Weng says:

    Michael it seems that you’re quite interested in design and web templates from your posts. They’re good posts btw 🙂 I’d say this contest is a must-join for blog owners.

    1. Good writeup!! Michael you’ve certainly been doing a lot of reviews lately!!! Good show!!! 🙂

  3. Steitiyeh says:

    i just subscribed 😀 i am ranked #2

    1. Ben Pei says:

      Great to hear that!

  4. Steitiyeh says:

    i think it’s wrong that i subscribed now, i should’ve subscribed on the last day and made everyone vote!!

    what do you think people?

    1. Ben Pei says:

      Lol.. thats an idea but would you have enough time for that on the last day?

    2. BusinessX says:

      Thought about that too. Two issues- 1). seems a bit risky, they may adjust rules mid-stream (can they do that?), 2). February 15th is so far off, I would probably forget about it by then. I like action now.

      Perhaps the best strategy is to monitor the daily averages, and choose a day closer to the end, then push. Since it is daily averages, if you have a 500 vote day within the last day ten days, that is a 50 vote/day average. Still good enough to beat 11 votes.

  5. Ben Pei says:

    Hey John.. Is Blog included?

    1. Good point, for many of us here it’s just the blog and the sales letter we’re using. The whole site is centered around the blog.

  6. Online Jobs says:

    its true that website design is really important and its even important that the design matches The blog or site type,i will join the contest later

  7. Melissa says:

    I’m currently looking for a site re-design–at the least, a new header graphic–so I’m off to enter!

    1. Trevor says:

      I’m in the same boat.

      Looking for a site redesign.

  8. Young says:

    I want to join in, but lifeblue does not support Chinese!

  9. Just filled hopes I will win 🙂

  10. J.D. Meier says:

    Great writeup Michael.

    I’ve seen site designs make a big difference in the quality of some blogger’s lives. Sure beauty’s skin deep, but I’ve seen blog make-overs reinvigorate and renew passion.

    I look forward to the before/after shots of the winner.

  11. Joined the contest. It would be great to get free professional redesign. What redesign? I even don’t have a normal design. I though about your blog designers.

  12. John Creek says:

    i can try to join the contest

  13. Zijian says:

    Who would have thought that there were other types of competition besides Miss604.

    1. competition on top of competition…..if they keep this up everyone is going to make money by winning everything and not having to pay for anything…..i like that.

      1. Zijian says:

        Probably not on top but rather different roads. Ultimately, it is a competition to better yourself? The better wording for it would be to innovate oneself on whichever path you take.

  14. Very cool! I love the Wall of Shame approach.

    1. Ben Pei says:

      Lol its too cruel..

    2. But it really gets people at the ego level doesn’t it? Sometimes that’s more of an impetus to make change than anything else lol.

  15. Russel says:

    Great post Michael! I am commenting on behalf of lifeBLUE Media. Due to all the feedback we received from contestants. We have decided to give away two FREE designs. One to the highest number of average daily votes and one to the highest cumulative number of votes. Thank you to all the contestants, we value your feedback. May the best(worst) website win.

    1. Marita says:

      Just added our site – thanks for the contest!

      I also went though your portfolio, wow! You really do clean up the web nicely 🙂

  16. Ben Pei says:

    Got ya tweet on hitting 44k subscribers.. congrats dude!

  17. Car Blog says:

    Entered the contest but don’t expect to win, actually don’t want a site design 🙂

    1. Takumi86 says:

      Same here but there’s nothing to lose
      so I’m gonna try to enter this!

      1. Since you don’t really care about it, that’s not fair to the ones that do.

  18. StoreEbay says:

    Joined the contest.

  19. Yessir, i’m in too.

    It’d be really nice to win a new design


  20. It is definitely a great offer…well i just revamped the design of my love blog – Cupid Blogger Dot Com, but i find it is not professional and neatly customized…

    Do check out my blog and give me some feedback..i will definitely sign up for the contest

  21. New design is always a great idea.

  22. lol, what a contest. 😆

    I am joining in, but I don’t think I have poor design, though I need a new design 😀

  23. Good luck to everyone that enters. Of course the site design is important, but I wouldn’t say that it’s THE most important thing. A well-designed blog can still suck if there’s no real content.

  24. That ‘s great . I appreciate their simple application form in fact that’s what really made subscribe for their contest . Long application forms are a put-off .

  25. thanks for this . So thanks again and in the spirit of community – I’m following you up!

  26. Vote for me, I really need a makeover!

    Web Design

  27. hope you guys are voting for me

  28. I’ve been learning and doing my own site designs. Im afraid that my expertise s not quite there yet and Ill be checking into lifeblue very soon. Thanks for the review.

  29. How often do you think you should re-design a site?? I cant remember how often John re-did his?? Do you think once every 6 months?? or is that too often??

  30. Chester says:

    There are so many free wordpress templates out there so I am not sure if I will need this.

  31. let me try to join the contest.

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