What Makes a Bad Website? 8 Key Aspects That Could Ruin Your Site

A bad website is characterized by poor user navigation, slow load times, outdated content, unattractive visuals, absence of mobile optimization and unclear calls-to-action
  • SEO.com team members
    SEO.com Team Industry-Leading Experts
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  • June 26, 2024
  • 6 min. read

With over 200 million active websites worldwide, there is a mass of competition but also opportunities to interact with potential clients and customers online. Your website is your online storefront and much more — a seamless and professional website boosts trust and engagement. 

A bad website can quickly become a liability that can damage one’s reputation. Learn more about what makes a bad website now: 

1. Poor user experience (UX) 

UX involves how meaningful, relevant, and satisfying a user finds a site. UX is crucial to business and marketing and can impact your revenue directly. However, a bad website hinders business growth as users become frustrated by poor load speeds, cluttered layouts, and confusing navigation. 

Imagine this: You go to a store and struggle to find several products because of subpar signage. You try to ask a store assistant for help, but they ignore you or give you incorrect directions. Finally, when you try to pay at the checkout, they only accept a single, non-secure payment option — this is a bad user experience.

If you realize your UX needs improvement, consider the functions and benefits of UX testing to identify problematic areas. 

2. Slow load speeds 

Users will typically leave a page if it does not load in three seconds or less, so you’ll want to focus on your site load speeds. In the modern, fast-paced digital world, where other sites will load in no time, users will not wait around with a slow site.

If your site takes longer than most to load, you can increase your site speed by:

  • Compressing images
  • Optimizing code
  • Using a content delivery network (CDN)
  • And more

3. Subpar design, layout and aesthetic 

There are several things that contribute to a bad website design, and these can leave a lasting impression. Unfortunately, a cluttered, outdated, and visually unappealing design filled with poor-quality images and inconsistent elements will deter users from returning to your site.

Your design elements range from the color palette to the choice of font size and the amount of white space you incorporate. Several factors contribute to an aesthetically pleasing and well-laid-out design, and it is crucial to strike the right balance.

4. Lack of mobile-friendliness 

Seeing as 60% of consumers prefer to shop on their mobile devices — with that number expected to reach 66% in 2024 — it is no wonder that businesses are looking to create mobile responsive web designs. 

Even though your website may look highly impressive on a desktop, that is no longer sufficient to cater to your audience — unless you can be certain they will never access your site via mobile devices.

A site that is not mobile-friendly provides a poor experience and leads to users being unable to interact with the site effectively — if at all. Users often leave an unresponsive site, and Google is likely to rank you lower. To gauge your site’s responsiveness, use Google’s Lighthouse tool and convert to a responsive design. 

5. Low-quality content 

Without creating a proper content strategy, a website could have an abundance of low-quality, poorly presented, and irrelevant content that drives visitors away. People come to a website with a user intent, and it is your job to deliver content that matches their particular need. If the content, including text, images, and videos, is poorly written and disorganized, users will likely have an unpleasant experience and go elsewhere. 

You can use a content marketing checklist to help you plan a proper strategy that ensures you cover the basics and go above and beyond for your site visitors. Consider your content as people entering a restaurant, viewing the menu, sampling a dish, and then deciding to order a full-course meal and then returning for more. Your visitors were satisfied because the food was precisely what they wanted, and the decor, ambiance, and service added to the experience.

6. Lack of search engine optimization (SEO)

Most people will find your website through a search engine, and the only way they can do that is if the search engine, such as Google, serves your page in response to their search query. But how do you do that? Well, you need to use SEO

For Google or other search engines to rank your page, there are several parameters that your site needs to meet. A poorly optimized website might not even appear on the first SERP when potential customers search for a product or service.

7. Unclear user journey, navigation, and call to action (CTA)

When people arrive on your website, they come with a precise want or need. 

Their desire could be to buy your product or service, or they could require specific information or be curious. Either way, you must provide an effective way to navigate your page and the entire site. Furthermore, if you want the user to act, this must be abundantly clear. 

Therefore, you should map out the user journey and consider what they will require every step of the way. 

Like a disorganized grocery store, a bad website will have no clear signage telling you what is in each aisle. You go to grab a cart, but there are none available for customers. Walking down the fresh produce aisle, you also find cleaning detergents. You spot a sign leading to the checkout, but when you arrive, a store clerk tries to sell you bath salts, has you complete a product survey, and asks if you would like a trolley. 

8. Inadequate security and lack of trustworthy elements 

Internet users are increasingly aware of cyber threats and the importance of safety. Many bad websites do not foster trust or assure users that their data is protected. If users feel the slightest discomfort regarding their online security, they will not wait around and will certainly not enter personal and financial details.

Whether you have an ecommerce site or simply want to request a user’s name and email address, you need to know how to secure your website because poor security is the hallmark of a bad website. Be sure to update your technology and coding, implement a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate, automate your backups, and secure your online checkouts. 

What makes a good website?

A well-crafted and functional website is essential for modern businesses and professionals. 

The aspects of a good website that you should focus on include creating a site with a clearly defined purpose that is thought out and executed. Your website should be user-centric, use SEO, and have distinct competitive advantages. 

To create a premium website that is incredibly user-friendly, safe and secure, informative, helpful, helps drive revenue, and ranks in the SERPs — speak to us at WebFX (the team behind SEO.com) about our website design services, and see how we can help you design, build, manage, and grow your website and reputable online presence. 

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