Skip to main content

What Makes a Bad Website?

Written by Fleur Ostojak on .
Man on laptop, annoyed with bad website

Did you know that it takes roughly 0.05 seconds for someone to form an opinion about your website? It is not surprising that it has become second nature to check out a business’s website before engaging at all, which is why first impressions count. Whether you are a small business, a non-profit or a high-profile international corporation; your website serves as a crucial gateway for the user to find out what you do, and why they should choose your business.

A bad website does not always start off bad. There are many features that can start off well, but over time are neglected and lack necessary updates. A poorly designed website can have a negative impact on the user, they may experience difficulty in navigating your information, they might experience a disorganised and cluttered website, and even leave immediately due to poor speed - resulting in a high bounce rate. Even with the best of intentions, things can often be forgotten along the way which can result in a website structure that just doesn’t flow.

If you have ever felt frustrated with someone’s website, or even find yourself struggling with your own, this article will help unravel the mysteries of what makes a bad website, and how to fix it.

Why is it important to have a good website?

Your website is a representation of your company; its objectives and values; so when it is designed with your brand colours and includes easy-to-read content, you are already communicating clearly to your customers who can enjoy learning more about you and your services.

The digital sphere is saturated with global competitors, so a good, well-optimised website can help you stick out from the crowd and improve the chances of your site appearing in the search results. Adding to this, your online presence means your website is accessible 24/7, allowing your customers to interact with you at any time. Having this instant ability to connect can lead to increased lead generation and sales of products.

pie chart of website success

What makes a bad website?

Launching your website and failing to look after it can seriously damage your opportunity for conversions and decrease your chances of success. Perhaps you already have your site ready to go, or you are in the process of building one. Take action by avoiding the common mistakes that are listed below!

Slow site speed

Unsurprisingly, the world we live in is incredibly fast-paced with everything at our fingertips, and people are also busier than ever. Therefore, you cannot afford for your website to have a slow site speed. Global media company, Forbes, reported that in 2023, 40% of users leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. A 1-second delay reduces customer satisfaction by 16%, so you quite literally don’t have time to be slow! There are a number of reasons why your site might load slowly, including having a multitude of images, large files, and irrelevant code on your pages. You can check your website’s speed by measuring it on sites such as GT Metrix, which will analyse the performance, structure and largest contentful paint.

Bad design and presentation

Your site’s appearance is crucial! If you have a website that lacks colour, creativity and looks out-of-date, users are less likely to trust it. A trusted, engaging website is one that accurately reflects the brand’s colours and is presented well enough to find it inviting for the user, with easy-to-read text. A useful tool to measure this is Hotjar where you are able to gain a deeper understanding of your customer’s interaction with your site, identifying the possible pain points they are experiencing. Accessing your data using Google Analytics will also help you to identify what is not working, and can help provide insights into what changes you can make to improve the user experience.

Lack of clear understanding

Users land on your website to gather information that they may need about your company, so if you are making them decode what your business’s values and services are, they will be quick to leave! Focus on providing a compelling message that aligns with your customers in order for them to want to engage with your company.

Poor content

Can you blame a user for leaving your website if it lacks engaging content, interesting images, or is cluttered with too much information? Your website must provide value. You are in control of this, so ensure that you are demonstrating the work that you do as soon as the user discovers your website. Give them the information they need by providing rich content that informs, educates, and sparks interest in the company. A lack of engaging and good-quality content will massively lower your chances of ranking well in search engine results.

Failure to optimise for mobile

Over 55% of website traffic comes from a mobile device (though this does vary depending on the industry sector you are in). If your visitors are not gaining a satisfactory experience when landing on your site from a mobile search, they will very quickly leave. Avoid image glitches and slow loading by ensuring your website is compatible with all smartphones and tablets. What may work on a desktop is not always the same for a smaller device. More people browse on smartphones than they do on desktops so ensure a great user experience across both!

A website design that has been optimised for mobile

Complex navigation and insufficient links

Non-existent menus, dodgy-looking links and too many options to click can inundate the user with confusion. Dare to be different with the appearance of your website, but remain consistent with simple navigation to guide the visitor; making sure the links you add are secure and load correctly.

Irrelevant pop-ups

Visiting a site that displays irrelevant or annoying pop-ups can be very irritating to users landing on your site. When you are faced with pop-ups that do not provide useful information, the user is more likely to become frustrated with having to remove them and not be able to navigate your site so they end up leaving.

Unclear call to action

You want your user to get in touch, whether that is to ask a question or complete a purchase, so why would you not have a clear call to action to make sure this is successfully achieved? Small Business Trends reported that 70% of small businesses that operate on a business-to-business level lack a clear call to action. It is great that someone has found and clicked on your website but if they do not follow through with a conversion, your business will miss out. Entice the visitor to get in touch with well-displayed contact information; to purchase with a great shopping basket process, or encourage them to subscribe to your newsletter with clear reasons as to why they should. Do not miss the ultimate opportunity to include an enticing call to action.

Call to action graphic

How to fix a bad website

As well as the above advice, make it mandatory that your website establishes the necessary quality guidelines that Google looks out for when ranking websites (E-E-A-T). E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. The best way to achieve this is by ensuring your website’s content demonstrates good quality and accurate information and is reliable, as well as making it a safe experience for the user.

Every business can benefit from its website, so if it doesn’t look good and isn’t optimised for the user, it might be time to consider a redesign and rebuild. If this is something that you might not have enough time for, or do not feel confident with the technicals involved, it is worth speaking to a marketing agency that can help you accomplish your goals. They will be able to be strategic around your business, understand your vision, and make the necessary improvements to help your business perform the best it can on a search engine results page.

Do you need help with your website design?

We are a digital marketing agency based in Oxfordshire and can help you with a range of digital marketing, from websites to social media, pay-per-click or SEO. We work with a fantastic array of clients to help their businesses grow with cost-effective website design and build.

Our 100 Club is a pay-monthly website marketing service that requires no upfront costs or binding long-term contracts, so you can have your website designed, built, hosted and managed with regular updates for just £100 a month.

To find out more, contact our team today!

Get in touch

Find out about our work in all things marketing! Let us help you and your business grow.