NEW YORK (AP) — A website redesign reversed one company's fortune.

When Fortune Cookie Advertising was launched in 2011, the website had too much text and was hard to use. It was turning customers away, said owner Shawn Porat.

Fortune Cookie Advertising prints advertisements on the back of the paper slips that are found inside fortune cookies in Chinese restaurants. A locksmith, for example, can have Fortune Cookie Advertising print an ad offering a $5 discount on the back of a fortune. The locksmith can then have the cookies distributed to a nearby Chinese restaurant. Porat wanted businesses to be able to design their ads on the website on their own, but that wasn't happening.

"People called complaining," said Porat, who founded Fortune Cookie Advertising. "People were asking if the company was legitimate."

A poorly designed website can make or break a small business. A website is where customers first go to research a company. A bad first impression can mean losing a potential customer.

A new partner, Yan Revzin, bought into the New York-based company in May. The two brainstormed about what they needed to do to build the business, and agreed that a new website was a priority. The company hired a programmer late last year to overhaul . It took over three months to completely redesign the site, which finally went live in February.

On the new website, businesses are able to customize their ads on the back of a fortune with text or add a photo. (The actual fortune can't be changed for cookies distributed in restaurants. But businesses that want the cookies for a private use or a corporate event can print on both sides.) Businesses can also select which Chinese restaurants around the country will get the cookies with their advertisement.

The website redesign cost the company $20,000. Porat said it was worth it. "It's very easy to use," he said.

Before the redesign, the company received one order every two weeks through the website. Now, the company is averaging five orders a day.

The company hired the programmer to work about 10 hours a week after the redesign was launched to maintain the site and continue to upgrade it. Soon businesses will be able to search Chinese restaurants based on income and other demographics, Porat said.

"It saves our customers a lot of time," said Porat.



— Fortune Cookie Advertising: