15 Warning Signs of Bad Website Design and How to Fix Them

A bad website design makes for bad business. It has a direct impact on the people who visit your website – and not a good one too. Unless it is addressed, a badly designed website can affect sales and spell disaster for your business.

In this blog post, I’m going to highlight the features of a bad website. I split them into four section based on how they can affect your site:

  1. Most common website problems to avoid (highly recommended)
  2. Signs of a bad performing website
  3. Bad website examples that don’t convert
  4. Signs you have the worst website ever
15 Signs You DON’T have a good website design layout. Web design tips for a poorly designed website

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The Problems of a Poorly Designed Website

How bad is it?

According to surveys conducted by Akamai, Kissmetrics, and Gomez.com…

  • 79% of online shoppers are less likely to purchase again from a bad website
  • 44% of them said they would tell friends about their experiences with a horrible website

The study Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites further shows the influence of bad web design. Researchers found that as much as 94% of participants wouldn’t return to a poor-performing website.

Gaining the confidence of online visitors is important. When people trust you, it’s easier to make customers out of them. But the moment they don’t, it’s the end of the line. You will lose viewers, sales, and profit altogether.

What makes a bad website?

There are numerous factors which result in a bad web design. But it all boils down to a website that isn’t doing well. The symptoms of a poorly designed website include:

  • High bounce rates
  • Poor traffic generation
  • and Slow sales


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Warning Signs of a Bad Website Design

Common Mistakes in Web Design to Avoid

Below are the biggest website mistakes people make. That way, you’ll know what to avoid when building your own website.

1. Outdated design

What was thought to be good website design a few years back may no longer be true today. The standards in website design are constantly evolving. If you want to stay relevant to modern consumers, you’d have to keep up with the times.

Here are signs your website is outdated:

  • It uses Adobe Flash
  • It still has Java script coding
  • Your design template has more than 6 colors
  • The website has flashing banners
  • There’s too much white space
  • You get lots of spam on your email
  • You don’t have a Content Management System (CMS)
  • It isn’t generating blog traffic or leads
  • Significant drop in search engine rankings

2. Unprofessional stock images

Using stock images is unavoidable for startups, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Stock photos are free and easily accessible, and eliminate the need to hire a photographer.

That doesn’t mean you can use any photo, however. Some images can make your website look unprofessional and leave people wondering if they can trust you or not.

Tips for using stock images:

  • Avoid generic images
  • Only use photos related to your content
  • Photos must be meaningful to your target audience
  • Take time to search for quality photos (don’t settle for cheesy ones!)
  • Images should complement your marketing strategy

For more tips, check out this Complete Guide on How to Use Stock Photos.

3. Unreadable text

One hallmark of bad website design is barely-readable text. When people are unable or have difficulty reading, your content becomes less effective. You will have trouble persuading online visitors to perform an action, let alone get your point across.

Things that make text unreadable include…

  • Having font size that’s too small
  • Not enough spacing between text and lines
  • Applying ‘shadow’ effects on your font
  • Font color doesn’t contrast the background

4. Buttons that don’t stand out

Buttons entice site visitors to perform actions. Whether you want them to purchase a product, opt-in for a freebie, or sign up for a newsletter, buttons have to be remarkable or people won’t notice them. You’ll know you have “bad” buttons if you’re not getting enough clicks or generating leads.

Here some tips for having click-worthy buttons:

  • Use an action-packed Call to Action
  • Use large, readable text
  • Limit the button text to 2-5 words
  • Apply fancy button graphics

Moreover, green and orange buttons are reported to work best. But you can experiment with different colors as long as they have good contrast against the background.

5. No branding

A website that lacks branding is going to be like any other website on the internet – bland and boring. What it needs is a trademark; a unique style that sets it apart so people will remember your website. To help you avoid bad website design and better ensure your long-term success.

Below are the tips for branding a unique website:

  • Create a business logo
  • Use brand colors which are relevant to your business
  • Apply the same design elements consistently (i.e. font style, buttons)

Signs of a Bad Performing Website

Web design is not limited to aesthetics. It encompasses the functionality of a website. Unfortunately, some businesses compromise function for beauty, and vice versa. And this can give your online visitors a bad experience. So here are the features of a bad website design which affect its performance.

6. Slow load time

Websites which have a slow loading time (>2 secs) get the short end of the stick. Studies show that apart from decreased page views and sales conversions, they cause customer dissatisfaction. Slow site speed is a warning sign of a badly designed website. You might want to get a free website checkup to see how well your website is performing.

7. Non-responsive layout

One of the worst things you can do is have a non-responsive web design. It can make your website incompatible with smaller screens or different browsers. This is considered bad website design because according to statistics, half of internet traffic is from mobile users. A website that isn’t mobile-friendly can easily lose customers this way, since it doesn’t display properly on screens.

8. Unreliable

Is your website performing less than optimally? Bad links and frequent downtimes are the telltale signs of bad web design. They make for an unreliable website. Online visitors would also get the impression that they can’t trust you.

9. Not secure

Lastly, you do not want people to feel that their information isn’t safe around you. Websites with HTTP protocol instead of the more secure HTTPS will discourage online visitors.

Bad Website Examples That Don’t Convert

The true power of a website lies in its ability to turn visitors into actual paying customers. Here are the signs of a poorly designed website which are bad for business.

10. Too ‘salesy’

Your website is essentially a marketing tool. It raises awareness towards your brand, business, or company. You can also use it to showcase products and services. This doesn’t mean you can oversell yourself and get away with it. So avoid being too salesy.

11. No landing page

A landing page is a form which online visitors can fill out. It is designed to generate leads by collecting general information such as emails. Leads are integral to your marketing strategy. The lack of a landing page is a clear sign of bad website design, since it limits your ability to monetize a website.

12. No links to social media

Another feature of a badly designed website is the absence of social media links. A website is supposed to increase your online exposure. Without these links, your audiences will have limited channels to interact with you.

13. Poor search engine ranking

Horrible websites usually don’t rank very well in search engines. There could be a handful of reasons behind it, but bad coding is usually one of them. For the meantime, I recommend getting a free website optimization test to assess your site’s performance.

Signs You Have The Worst Website Ever

The following features of a bad website design are the absolute worst. It goes without saying that you should never make these mistakes in web design.

14. Missing Pages

No decent website should have missing pages. And yet somehow, there are a few terribly designed websites on the internet with no ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact Us’ pages. These pages are necessary because they’re the most important.

About Us

This page is meant to give audiences an idea of what your brand, business, or company is about. It introduces them to your products, services, or whatever value you can offer them.

Contact Us

The page gives online visitors a way to reach you. It may contain your contact information and a physical address to your store. You can also include a form with which people can reach you without leaving the website.

15. Poor navigation

Finally, you cannot have a website with poor navigation. If the menu has a terrible layout, bad links, or other issues, online visitors might not stay very long on your site.


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How Does Your Site Do On The Website Checker? Get Your FREE Website report and find out!

How to Fix a Bad Website Design

Now that you know what it’s like to have a bad website design, you might be tempted to fix problems on your own. However, it is be best if you leave it in the hands of a professional website design company.

What should I look for in a website designer?

  • Ability to redesign an existing website or build a new one
  • Has the skills to incorporate the qualities of a good website
  • Experienced enough to avoid the pitfalls of a poorly designed website

For more tips on hiring, you can read the Top 37 Questions to Ask A Website Designer.

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15 Signs You DON’T have a good website design layout. Web design tips for a poorly designed website
15 Signs You DON’T have a good website design layout. Web design tips for a poorly designed website
15 Signs You DON’T have a good website design layout. Web design tips for a poorly designed website

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By |2018-09-18T22:24:09-07:00September 24th, 2018|Website Design|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Susan September 29, 2018 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    This is great information! I need to make sure I site doesn’t make these mistakes! Thanks!

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