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What makes a website bad?

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

In today’s digital world, having a website is essential - even if you have a brick and mortar store. Research shows that 76% of customers will look a business up online before visiting in person, so your website is often your first impression with potential customers, and therefore an important branding opportunity. And if you don’t have a website, or at least some kind of online presence, you basically don’t exist to customers.

Many of you might already have a website, but it’s a few years old. Maybe it was built by your nephew’s friends brother on some obscure platform, maybe you don’t know how to update it or make changes, or maybe it’s just so out of date that you don’t even bother.

Sound like you?

It might be time to think about getting a new website.

But how do you really know when you need a new website for your business? And what makes a website bad? This article will break it down for you.

Here is our top list of list of things that make a website bad:

  • Too much copy. Your website is packed with so much writing that it feels like you have to read a novel to grasp what your business is about or find details about products or contact information. Let’s get real here people. It’s 2022 and people’s attention spans are shorter than ever. Heavy written content without enough visuals to break it up feels overwhelming to website visitors.

  • Bad photos. Nothing drags a website down more than bad pictures. We’ve all seen these websites; ones with grainy photos that have been blown up too large, poorly composed, unflattering photos of people, or worse yet - food shots that make restaurant dishes look like a dog's breakfast. While we always encourage clients to be authentic by using real photos, it is essential that your website visuals are high quality and appealing. In our experience, it’s always better to use stock photos rather than bad personalized photos, and there are plenty of places online to find free stock photos for your website.

  • Not enough written content. Your website is so sparse that it’s almost impossible for visitors to understand what you offer. You don’t want to ‘brag’ or ‘talk about yourself’, but this leaves people with little understanding of your business, your history and your brand.

  • Your contact info is impossible to find. People come to your site to either learn more about you or to learn how to get in touch with you. But your contact information is buried in some obscure place or takes many clicks to find.

  • Your website is not mobile friendly. Depending on the industry, statistics show that up to 70 or 80% of website visitors access your site on their phones. If your website has not been optimized for mobile, you’re telling the majority of your site visitors that you don’t care about their user experience, and many of them will abandon your website before they find what they need.

  • Cluttered Layout. Your website design is less of a design and more a mess of boxes, photos and content crammed into the center column of your website. should be clean and easy to navigate. Gone are the days when websites had columns all over the place, with ad spaces, and homepages crammed with everything.

  • Confusing navigation menu. Your menu makes no sense, and either has far too many items or too few, categorized in a confusing hierarchy. hard to navigate, and menu items are placed in a confusing order.

  • Your site lacks colour contrast. Your site colours are unappealing or make the text difficult to read. Maybe you’ve got yellow text overlaying a white background, or black writing on top of a busy photo. Either way, websites like this are hard for people to read, and lead to a poor user experience. They also fail to meet any kind of accessibility requirements.

  • Inconsistent typefaces. Your website has so many different fonts that there doesn’t seem to be any design at all, or any consistency. Maybe the fonts feel out of date, circa 1990. Or maybe your site overuses script fonts that are difficult to read and especially impractical on mobile.

  • Lack of flow / bad user experience. Your site has no flow. The homepage fails to drive visitors further into the website, and internal pages do not link well, which gives the site poor flow and a bad user experience.

  • Your website is not secure. Your site does not have a valid SSL certificate, which means that some of your site visitors might be stopped from opening your website at all. For visitors who can see your site, the note in the browser that it’s not secure does not make them feel great about visiting.

  • Your site does not have proper SEO. Your site was designed with zero SEO (search engine optimization), which means that it’s difficult to find online and does not rank on the search engines. Your written content is not optimized with important keywords, your pages don’t have meta descriptions or title tags.

  • Your site is really slow. Your site is so bogged down with large files, photos or videos that it takes forever to load, leading to many people abandoning it before it has finished loading. Even worse, it loads so slowly on mobile that images and galleries have generic placeholders, and site visitors think it doesn’t work at all.

  • Your site content is inaccurate or out of date. People show up at your place of business based on the hours displayed on your website, only to discover that you are closed. They call the number on your website and get a message saying your number is disconnected. Or your site lists services or products that you haven’t carried in years, misleading customers and leading to disappointment.

  • Your web developer has disappeared. Your site was built a while back, and the guy who made it for you has pulled a disappearing act. You don’t know how to access your site to make changes, and even if you did, you wouldn’t understand how to make them anyways.

Sound like you? A new website is more attainable and more affordable than you think. Get in touch!

Designing something yourself? Keep these tips in mind when designing a website.

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