15 Characteristics of Bad Website Design

These days, you can’t have a business and not be present on the web anymore. Gone are the days when all you did was list your business in the Yellow Pages, and wait for customers to walk in.

A website has evolved into an important tool for many businesses. From selling online, to spreading information, to performing various marketing efforts.

Web designers know that good web design is possibly the most important aspect of web creation. It can make, or break a company’s success.

But what is good design?

That may be a little subjective to describe, but what we do know is what bad web design is. So here are 15 characteristics:

1.It doesn’t fit with business objectives and overlooks the target market

missed target

At times, web designers and business owners get too fixated on a visually attractive design, that they forget to implement core elements to help fulfill the company’s business objectives. They get wrapped up in flashy design that leaves out usability standards and what the user needs.

Think about your users first, then work that into your web design accordingly.

2. Lack of balance between design and content

There is absolutely no doubt that a successful website should be visually appealing, but it’s not
the be all and end all of website design. A website may be aesthetically sound, but if it is not offering the information target users are looking for, it will not work.

On the other hand, a site with slabs of text will not achieve its intended purpose either. Strike the right balance of design and content.

3. Offering a wide range of unnecessary features

Offering too many features or stuffing the design with various design elements will overwhelm site visitors; this makes it difficult for them to find what they are looking for. Keeping the site simple yet attractive will more likely generate a positive impression on visitors, thus encouraging them to stay on longer.

4. Lack up-to-date technology


Sites that integrate poor plugins and use old school design can hurt a business in terms of functionality and brand image. Keep up with design trends that work well with the latest cutting-edge technology to strengthen image and impress your visitors.

5. Typography that does not match brand personality

Here on CLD, we always talk about why good typography is important. The wrong typographic choice will deliver the wrong message to visitors. With web safe fonts increasing everyday, it should not be hard to pick one that fits a business’ brand image.

6. Design that does not cater to the mobile audience


Yes, mobile is here to stay. And more people are using their phones to access the web. It is crucial for web designers to design with the responsive layout in mind in order to fill this growing trend.

7. Lack any social integration

‘Sharing is caring’. We live in a global community, and businesses should take advantage of this share-centric phenomenon. A website that does not incorporate social media loses the golden opportunity of engaging customers and attracting new prospects.

8. Hard to find contact information

This may seem redundant, but I occasionally still find websites that bury its contact information deep within its pages. This is a sure fire way to detract any contact with its visitors. Place the contact info ‘above the fold’ of the site, and make it super simple for anyone to contact the business.

9. Not incorporating Google Maps


People today are always on the move and most will use their mobile phone as GPS. Not having a map on your site will guarantee losing a customer’s good will. Embed Google Maps to help your customers get directions, which will also help your business rank well in the Google+ Local business listings.

10. Unfriendly and non-intuitive site navigation

Visitors will abandon a site that is difficult to navigate even if it is visually appealing and contains highly relevant content. Studies show that poor navigation is one of the primary reasons why a website loses its customers. Poor navigation also makes it difficult for search engines to crawl a site thereby impacting its rankings. Properly organized intuitive navigation is essential for site visitors and search engines.

11. No clear Calls-to-Action (CTA)

One of the most common web design mistakes is the lack of clear calls to action. An effective web design incorporates clear CTAs that create urgency and are strategically placed on the web page.

12. None or minimal elements that build trust with visitors

client logos

People are savvier these days and are less likely to respond to marketing jargon. Design your website by incorporating trust building elements such as testimonials, feedback, referrals, or client logos to build credibility with your visitor.

13. Stuffing that increases a site’s load time

Design with heavy images, flash based graphics, and animations will take a long time to load. This may result in a poor user experience thereby increasing a site’s bounce rate that will affect search rankings. Optimize images, fonts and incorporate the latest web technology to make sure your site loads quickly.

14. Lacks structure or Information Architecture (IA)

Quality content plays an important role in the success of a website. But the way the content
is structured has an equally important role to ensure visitors are staying on site. Structure your content with relevant headings, sub-headings, line breaks, and font management including size and type.

15. Not optimized for Google or search engines

A cardinal sin of web design is creating a site that cannot be easily indexed by search engines.  According to Titanium Marketing, generate more leads or traffic by aligning your design with an SEO strategy to ensure the site looks good for your visitors and Google or other search engines.



The above mentioned web design characteristics are stumbling blocks of an otherwise effective website. By not falling into any of the above design traps, you will be able to create a site that will boost your site traffic and increase conversions. Try working with a reputable web design agency to build a professional and functional website.

This post is a contribution by:

Michael Georgiou is a dynamic business professional and entrepreneurial guru associated with Imaginovation – proven his success in creative strategy, online branding, project management, and communication projects in both the public and private sectors.

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Written by CrazyLeaf Editorial

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