Characteristics of a bad website

If you are interested in having a visitor return to your site and ultimately make contact with you regarding your services, you need a well planned, logically structured and professionally designed website.

While we aren’t all web design experts, most people can look at a site and make a decision on whether the site meets this criteria and therefore reflects a professional company.

The indicators below are indicators of a poor website. If your website has these features, contact us today, you might be losing valuable business!

Excessive use of Frames

Some indicators of a site that uses frames are multiple scrollbars on the screen and parts of the site not refreshing when you navigate to a
new page (although this could be other things). In early web design frames were very popular however these days websites using frames are the minority and are generally avoided in modern web design. In general they should be avoided – they look unprofessional and they are not friendly for the search engines.

Colour Scheme

Colour plays an important factor in the design of any marketing material including websites. Colouring on your website needs to be pleasing to the eye of the visitor, not plastered with your favourite colour combination which just happens to be your favourite footy teams colours!

Bad websites have some pages that stand out because they use random bright colours – like a rainbow throughout the site. They use fluorescent colours, which do nothing to keep a visitor navigating through their site. Or they have many different colours. Dark backgrounds are also popular in badly designed websites. Colours should reflect the business branding and should be limited to only a few. If the business branding colours are not chosen well this will reflect poorly on the website. In some instances we will recommend to client that they speak with a branding consultant about a new company image before engaging us to build them a website.


Bad websites often have poor choice of font typeface as well as sizing. They might have a number of fonts being used and varying sizes. Or they might have serif fonts such as Times New Roman which are suitable for print material but unsuitable for the web. Bad sites might overuse capitals (which are often seen as shouting). Or they might Use Sentence Case Inappropriately.Some will have oversized fonts or fonts that are too small. Making the font size too small will make it harder for some people to read the text, so the font size you use must be a balance between large and

Consistency is they key in a good website layout. There are a number of fonts that are classed as standard for use in websites, Verdana is one of them.


Some websites you visit do nothing to promote what it is they are trying to sell or what advice they want to give. Visitors should be able to tell by reading the content on your home page what the site’s purpose is.

Out of Date Updates

This one is really easy to spot. The news item on the home page is advertising a Christmas special and its Easter time! If website owners can’t take the time to use their website as a current advertising tool, what is the point of making contact with them. Good websites have accurate information and calendars. They take the time to update their content on a regular basis to ensure visitors return.

Slow to Load

Some websites think you need to have the latest and greatest in technology displayed on their website to attract visitors. They might have their favourite AC/DC song blaring in the background as you wait for the remainder of their site to load. They might have images which haven’t been optimised taking 10x longer to download than necessary. Whilst multimedia content has its place within website design, bad websites often go overboard with their use of it.

Excessive Popup Windows

Most browsers now come with tools to block popup windows. Bad websites often put important messages within a popup – for those who use these add on tools they are missing out on the information. Put your important messages in a central place on your website.

Obviously these are general comments however they are all pretty good indicators of a poor website and things that will turn astute visitors and potential customers off your site immediately. If your site suffers from these things, contact us today and we will show you how you can improve it or re-develop it into something that impresses potential clients and encourages them to make contact.

Written by Dan Norris, Director of Gold Coast Web Design agency Web Circle on 6 May 2008.

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About Alex

Alex Retzlaff is the owner of A Website Designer and Web Circle.

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