Have you ever been on a website with such bad design that you not only clicked away, but were also actively turned off by what you assumed to be the unprofessionalism of the brand it represented?
If so, we know that you don’t want bad website design to have the same impact on your own site.
We’re here to help make sure that doesn’t happen.
In this post, we’ll cover what some of the worst websites ever seem to have in common.
From making sure that your website is actually on brand to double-checking the links you’re including in your content, by the end, you’ll learn about some of the most important design rules to follow.
Read on to learn what to avoid when building your website in 2018.
1. A Failure to Brand
Before we get into the more specific aspects of bad website design, let’s talk about one of the biggest mistakes that lots of companies — both small businesses and huge corporations alike — often make.
Your number-one web design focus should be to create a website that reflects the message of and is consistent with the coloring, logo design, and overall image of your brand.
After all, even the most perfectly-optimized website won’t end up doing anything for your company if it isn’t instantly recognizable as connected to your brand in some way.
This means that your background colors, the images you use, and even the specific menu options that you select should be in line with your branding strategy.
The look of your website should also be similar to the design of your social media pages, your business cards, and even your physical storefront.
Remember that, for most customers, your website is the very first interaction that they’ll have with your brand.
Not only do you want to make a good impression. You also want to work to make sure that each page is easily connected to your brand.
This can be as simple as making sure to include your contact information at the bottom of each internal page, using the same font for all of your headers, and including your logo and social media profile follow links in the sidebars of your internal pages.
2. Broken or Outdated Links
Something that all of the worst websites ever seem to have in common?
They’re all riddled with broken links.
First of all, no one likes to click on something only to be directed to an error page, or to a page that never even loads at all.
But additionally, broken links cause your website to fall in the search engine rankings. This is because Google and other search engines actively penalize websites that include broken links.
To eliminate this, consider working with website design professionals that use tools to comb through your website to check for broken links.
In addition to ensuring that you’re using links that actually work, you also need to use links that are current. A customer doesn’t want to be taken to a page that gives them irrelevant advice about old products, or services that you no longer offer.
A good rule of thumb?
Include internal links — like blog posts or product pages — that you’ve created in the past year or so.
And when you do include these links in your content?
Also, take the time to highlight them in a contrasting color to your text. After all, you actually want people to be able to see them and click on them!
Remember that developing a strong linking strategy takes time, and usually requires consistent monitoring. Working with a professional SEO company is usually your best bet.
3. Poor Website Navigation
The worst websites are those that do absolutely nothing to take the overall user experience of a site visitor into account.
This is just as important with the look and design of your website as it is when it comes to more technical aspects like site loading speed and mobile-friendliness.
Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to find what they need as quickly as possible.
This means that you should always take the time to clearly organize your menu options, categorize your blog posts, and make sure that you work to choose a hosting platform that can handle the amount of traffic that your website gets.
You might even consider installing things like chatbots. Think of this as a robotic sales representative that guides your visitors to the products or services they need — just as in-store, in-person help would.
Your website button designs should be large enough for users using smartphones or tablets to click easily. You should also always include a search bar, so that users can connect to relevant internal pages faster than ever.
Finally, consider eliminating endless scrolling on your website.
Yes, it might cause people to spend more time on your website initially. But really, all they’re doing is scrolling — they’re not actually taking the time to read what’s on your site.
4. An Image Problem
No, we’re not talking about your brand’s overall reputation — though of course, that’s important, too.
Instead, we mean focusing on learning how to best optimize the images that you include on your website.
First of all, many bad website designs include oversized images. This is a huge problem for many reasons.
They may not load completely, especially if people are accessing your website on mobile devices. So, if you’re using a graphic to advertise an upcoming sale or in-store promotion, there’s a good chance that people won’t even see it if it’s too large.
But even if the image does load all of the way?
It can seriously slow down your website’s overall loading time. This isn’t something that you want to deal with.
Since your site has less than three seconds to fully load before a user will click away, this can quickly turn into a major issue that costs you big time.
Instead of focusing on one huge image, think about installing a collage of several images. You could even use automatic scrolling to feature different images on the homepage of your website.
Also, consider compressing your image files to speed up the loading process.
Finally, a quick SEO tip: when you save your image files, use a keyword in the file name. This is a great and easy way to rise up in the search engine rankings.
5. An Overly Cluttered Website
The hallmark of bad website design?
A desperate-looking site that’s filled to the brim with text, images, flashing lights and buttons, and autoplay features.
In short: a website that’s doing way too much.
We completely understand that you want to be able to say everything at once. After all, you’re trying to encourage people to spend more time on your website, right?
While that’s certainly true, nothing makes people click away faster than a cluttered site that makes it next to impossible for users to find what they’re looking for.
Minimalism in design is definitely in. Taking a “less is more” approach to website design helps to make it clear to your visitors that your brand already has a strong, established reputation. It suggests that your products and services are able to stand on their own.
In other words, it says that people already know what they’re looking for when they come to your website. This helps to build up a sense of exclusiveness and excitement around your brand.
So, what sorts of things should you get rid of on your website?
We suggest cutting out things like a page view counter, (especially if your numbers are low!) sidebar links, autoplay videos, and pretty much anything that blinks. Check out this page for more bad ideas.
Also, if you’re going to features things like accolades and awards on your homepage, make sure that you only choose the most relevant and recent ones possible.
The same goes for the logos of past companies and clients that you’ve worked with.
Remember, abide by the golden rule of website design: when in doubt, leave it out.
Don’t Make These Bad Website Design Mistakes
We hope that this post has helped you to understand what not to do when it comes time to make a website for your brand.
Remember to look for what you can leave out, focus on user experience, and make sure that your images are always optimized.
Do this, and you’re sure to avoid the worst website design mistakes!
But we know that you also want to know what it takes to design a quality website.
We can help you with that.
Spend some time on our website to learn more about how we can connect you with the top web designers in the business.
Together, let’s work to create a website that puts your brand in the best possible light!