how to build a bad website

Much of this information will seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how often these mistakes still are occurring. We've broken it down into sections to make it a little easier to read (and yes scrolling pages are bad too).

First Impressions

  • We've designed our site to meet our organization's needs (more sales/contributions) rather than meeting the needs of our visitors.
  • We tell you how wonderful we are as a company, but not how we're going to solve your problems.
  • It takes longer than four seconds for anyone to understand what our site is about.
  • Our visitor cannot quickly find the focal point of the home or current page.
  • Our site doesn't make us look credible or that visitor can trust us.
  • Our home page or any page, takes more than 5 seconds to load on DSL.
  • Quickly scanning the page doesn't tell our visitors much about its purpose.
  • We don't put design elements where our visitors expect them.
  • We have not eliminated unnecessary design items & we don't know which items are unnecessary.
  • Our site breaks when visited with the Javascript is turned off.
  • Our site breaks because of back-end coding errors.
  • We say "Welcome to..." on our home page.
  • Our site is Flash-based. (No viewing on an iPhone or iPad)
  • Our site uses a splash page (unless it's a a multi-lingual / multinational site).
  • Our site makes visitors register before they can enter.


  • Our site's TITLE tag is something like "New Document", "Index" and not the name of your company or descriptive of that page for visitors and search engines.
  • A  sound file automatically plays when a page loads, but we're not a record label or musician.
  • Welcome to Our Webpage!I don't know if our site looks the same in the major browsers; our site doesn't look the same.
  • I don't know if our site looks the same on a PC, Apple Mac or Linux; our site doesn't look the same.
  • The important content does not fit in the first screen.
  • We have too much/too little white space.
  • We forces visitors to install weird plug-ins. (This is also a security issue.)
  • We have "Download latest browser" text or buttons and/or prominently display what hardware and software used to create the site.
  • We don't provide clear instructions on how to order, fill out forms, etc.
  • Our site is based on a template that's bloated with ugly code or exported from Word, and is difficult to maintain.

First Impressions  |  Text, Fonts & Links  | Graphics, Video & Audio  |  Navigation  |  Content  |  Everything Else