I contacted a designer recently. His name is Manuel Moreale or Manu.

Ever since I discovered his site while idling in India back in January, I have been transfixed.

There was something about its simplicity that just ticked all the boxes. It was honest, genuine and even though the word has become so overused and bastardised – authentic.

I’d always wanted to be a type of watering hole. A space where people can indulge their love of plants. Without me trying to shove my books down their throat. I wanted it to be respectful of my visitors’ attention while at the same time earn me a living.

We only have one life, so why not make each moment as enjoyable as possible. Easier said than done in this digital world of flickering, distraction, liking, scrolling, hating.

I want my site to be calm and serene. The kind of place you want to hang out.

I emailed Manu, never really expecting a reply. I just told him my story of how I found him and was there anyway that he could give me pointers for my own site. And I was prepared to pay him.

What I found in my inbox the next day touched my heart. Manu had taken a good amount of time to look over my site. Created screenshots and technical explanations on how to go about designing a minimalist website. He didn’t ask for payment. He provided service first.

One of the reasons why my site is very calming and relaxing is because there are no two things fighting for your attention. Once you land on the site, the only content you’re presented with is the actual content.

Once you remove most of the noise from a site it all then comes down to spacing and typography because that’s pretty much everything that’s left.

The thing is, most of the things you do to have a site like mine go against common wisdom when it comes to marketing and internet promotion.

I didn’t mind. Even with my attempt at creating a minimalist website as soon as I returned from my travels (I am not a designer in any shape or form), I found that my sales didn’t go down. Quite the opposite.

I’ve sold far more books in the last few months since the redesign. Yet it breaks all the usual marketing rules.

Sometimes when everyone is zigging you just need to zag.

Remember that my focus was and is on the customer experience. The visitors’ journey. The sales are a secondary consequence of being respectful of your visitors time and attention.