How a $27 Ebook Made Me $5,500.00

Here’s a message I received recently from Robert Keppel, owner of Applied Colors, explaining how “Save the Pixel” (my best-selling ebook on graphic design principles for the web) saved him five and a half thousand dollars!

I sell professional grade equipment for cleaning cars.

This was my site in March:


The feedback I got from customers, friends, colleagues was that my site looked like a blog, and not like a store.

Plus, we were trying to do so many things on the home page (educate, ask for email, present reviews, present our articles) but it wasn’t clear what our PRIORITIES were.

I paid a few designers for “mockups.”  To implement them was around $6k, including the shopping cart software (big commerce)

They were good.

I bought Save the Pixel with the intention of guiding THEM as they built the new site.

But, instead, I designed a version of my own in Photoshop, implementing the concepts of…

  • simplicity
  • space
  • color
  • contrast
  • navigation
  • size

… to make the site more “gettable” and make it clear that, above all, we wanted our customers to learn about and buy our great equipment

I’m not a designer by trade (I cleaned and painted cars for many years), but have adequate Photoshop skills.  Most of the elements you see in the home page were bought from Graphic River.

I presented the designs to my customers and they overwhelmingly chose MINE!

So I had a programmer convert the design to a WordPress theme for $500.

I then learned WooCommerce and implemented the shopping cart myself.

So essentially I saved $5500 between your book, hiring a coder, and using Graphic River!

I didn’t think I had an eye for “Design” but after reading your book, it gave me confidence to make designs for my own sites — and gain more control of my marketing.


Robert Keppel

What I love about this story is how it supports my conviction that the real skills in web design are really marketing skills, and the functional techniques required to publish online are now in the hands of any business owner.

Robert did the smart thing — the right thing!

  • He educated himself about what really mattered in visual design (through “Save the Pixel”)
  • He purchased graphic resources (from Graphic River) instead of paying a designer to create them by hand
  • And he learned how to use a simple e-commerce plugin!

The net result is a website that looks and works great, for a fraction of the price it would have cost a few years ago.

For more about this, read my recent post: Web Designers, Quit Reinventing the Wheel, Today!.

About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben has over 20 years' experience in web design and marketing, and is one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written a bunch of books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally.In 2015, Ben created Open-Source Marketing, which promises to turn the practice of marketing upside down.. Find out more at

Diana Ratliff - 3 years ago

Congratulations, Robert! And well done; you didn’t sit back and complain about web design costs, you learned what you needed to know and took action.

I wish more people would see the sense in Ben’s “don’t reinvent the web design wheel” mantra! I talked to a prospect yesterday (dentist) who did so, fortunately – he loved the idea of paying less upfront for a site “design” and investing more in marketing the new site – but lots of people still buy into the idea that every site has to be completely unique as far as design.

I was talking to a friend in another online forum – in his business networking group, he’s not allowed to call himself a “web designer” because he doesn’t hand-code!

Anyway – wish you much success, Robert!

Jonathan - 3 years ago

Not to nitpick, but he didn’t ‘make’ $5,500. He probably ‘saved’ that amount, but I’d be more interested in how much he made from the site once he implemented the information he learned from the book.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Good point. The fact is, he’s $5,500 better off than he would be. We’ll have to wait and see how the new site works out.

arun - 3 years ago

Interesting and some good advice for sure. Checking out the WooCommerce link now and will surely enroll for your Pro Web Design Course in the near future. I have been on your mailing list (different mail id) since last year and loved those 50 Web Design secrets. Cheers.
Thanks Ben.

Pieter - 3 years ago

I dont know whether he really saved over 5000 dollars.
To know for sure, we need to compare the time it took him to learn stuff and create the design with what he would have earned if he got the site online earlier, built by a pr.

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