How Not to Design a Website

Web Goddess Blog

by | 19 Apr 2016 | Website Tips

In my post, It Pays to be Consistent, I talked about keeping your website fonts, colours, images and behaviours consistent across your site and whilst researching the subject I found a plethora of badly designed websites but decided to stick to the sites that demonstrated the points I wrote about.

So, this time I thought I would share 10 other things that the worst websites are guilty of:

#1  Under construction – used to be used when the web was new but have no place on your website these days.  If you have yet to complete a page on your site, hide it until it’s ready and then publish it, not before.  The only exception to this rule is if you have bought your domain, your site is live and you have nothing online yet – I do actually think that a homepage saying “coming soon” is better than the parking page from your provider.

#2  Showcase fonts – only use fancy fonts for headings (and even then in moderation).  I use a cursive font for my header but that’s all, and they are actually uploaded as images so they appear the same in every browser – most fancy fonts will just revert to a standard ‘Arial’ or ‘Helvetica’ font if the browser does not support them.

#3  Random Adverts – do not sign up with advertising companies that offer to put things on your page and pay you for it (unless they will be completely relevant to your site).  They just detract from your website and to be honest you won’t get more than a few pennies per click so is it really worth it?

#4  Overcrowded pages – keep it simple and only include information that really lets the users know what your page is about.  If you need to add lots of information break it down into pages that make sense – there is nothing worse than a page being so busy with images, text and ‘stuff’ that you can’t find what you are looking for.

#5  Animated gifs – these babies have been around since the very first days of the internet and were quite cute when Frontpage was used to create websites back in the 1990s (I remember using it and even teaching it!!) but have not aged well and really belong in the annals of history.  I have even seen fire at the bottom of one page for no apparent reason – please save these for you personal social media profiles if you really must use them!!

#6  Hit counters – another throwback from the early days of the web and one I would like to bury back in the 1990s too.  Showing how many visitors your site has had is of no importance to your users and most of the counters are unreliable anyway.  Telling me that 339,488 visitors have been to a shabby website really doesn’t interest me.

#7  Scrolling text – unless you have a business where you sell advertising space on banners towed along behind aeroplanes, avoid scrolling text at all costs.

#8  Endless Flash Intros – unless you are a fancy car company or a huge international brand, no-one is going to watch a web page intro on your site.  Users just want to get to the information they are after quickly.  Loading a large Flash file will just make people click elsewhere.

#9  UPPER CASE – for anyone who texts or emails, we now know that typing in upper case amounts to shouting at someone.  Well, there are still websites that insist on writing this way and apart from being hard to read for any given length of time, their style could be mistaken for being a bit upset with those who visit!

#10  Poor spelling and grammar – this may be a little old school and a bit boring, but please do check your spelling and grammar (and I know I’m not perfect but I do pick up most things and change posts when errors are pointed out to me).  There is nothing worse than reading website text with glaring grammatical errors such as knowing their ‘there’ from their ‘they’re’ (had to double check that myself you know)…  If in doubt, get someone to proof read it for you or hire a copyrighter or virtual PA who knows how to spell.


Now, if you want to see a website that hasn’t received my brief, this is my call for the worst British website I could find that includes all or most of the above fails:

You’ll need time for your eyes to adjust after viewing this one!

Web Goddess


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