16 Signs Your Website Sucks

Nobody wants to be told their website sucks.  However, if you’ve checked your website analytics and there’s plenty of traffic coming to your site but people aren’t staying around, it could be something to do with your website or the content on it.

Below are sixteen reasons why your website may be in need of either a makeover, or some maintenance:

1. It takes ages to load

If a website takes too long to load, most site visitors will give up. Lots can be done maintenance-wise to improve a website’s load time, such as compressing images, serving scripts towards the end of the page and optimising the database.

If you have a particularly large website with a lot of functionality that is still going to take a few seconds even when optimised, then an option is to have a brief ‘loading’ screen to let the user know the site will be there in a second or two, and they don’t have to get annoyed staring at a blank screen.

2. Theres loads of randomly-placed white space

White space is useful in your website design – it helps section things, gives space for important content and draws attention, and generally helps with usability, clarity and understanding.

When White Space Goes Bad is when it’s just randomly plonked about the site. This is often demonstrated by sites constructed by those with a limited knowledge of page-builders, using page-builders. Footers and list of recent blog posts often fall prey to the large patches of white space generated by columns of content with extremely differing lengths.

3. Your logo lets it down

I’ve worked on sites in the past where the client is having a new redesign to refresh a really-out-of-date site; but they left the logo back in the 90’s. True, it might be on vans/shopfronts/letterheads, but on a brand new website it’s gonna stick out like a sore thumb. Maybe invest in some rebranding and a logo redesign before redoing the site?

Your logo & brand identity are super important, and are worth getting right before you spend money on anything they’re going to be printed on, like business cards. Don’t just leave the default WordPress title on instead!

4. It uses Comic Sans as the main font

Actually if you’re still using Comic Sans anywhere, your website sucks. comic-sans-sucks

5. How many fonts??

There are like, squillions of fonts out there. Unless your website is FontSquirrel or equivalent, we don’t need to see loads of different fonts throughout the site. Aim for two or three fonts max, and be consistent with them for headings, body text etc.

6. The images are poor

This can cover a multitude of sins:

  • The image sizes are too small and therefore display stretched and/or skewed
  • The image quality is poor and appears pixelated (check on larger devices and Retina-ready screens)
  • The images are too big and therefore slow down the site load time (this one is easy to fix)
  • The images themselves let the site down – perhaps shots with bad lighting, blurry or Really Cheesy Stock Images

7. It’s not responsive

If your website doesn’t work across all devices by now then you know you’re past due for an overhaul. It should look and function correctly on mobiles, tablets, laptops and desktops. A particular culprit seems to be the self-launched Wix-type affair, where it hasn’t been checked and therefore looks horrendous on a mobile phone.

8. Things don’t line up

Check those margins and padding around your content! Again, often these will look ok on desktop but then go awry on mobile devices.

If you have multiple headings on a page, don’t have some left-aligned and some centred…

A personal annoyance of mine is buttons that don’t have enough padding around the button text…check menu and submenus for this too.

If elements on your site aren’t spaced correctly and/or don’t line up when they are supposed to, it’s going to make your business look amateur.

9. The design isn’t consistent

Random colours, a mix of 2d and 3d elements (like buttons…), different heading styles, completely different page layouts for each and every page on the site… These are some examples of inconsistent design, which make your website look like it’s been thrown together as it’s gone along.

10. I cant read what you’ve written

Don’t make it hard for people with things like dark text on a dark background (or vice versa); or text on top of a photographic image that can be really difficult to read. The image may look nice but if I can’t read the text I’m therefore not listening to what you have to say…

11. There are broken links

Every so often, check any links on your site to make sure none are broken. This can occur from linking to external content that’s moved or no longer exists; or internal links which may link to a page/post that has been renamed or deleted. Delete or set up redirects as necessary.

This is something I do on the higher tiers of Care Plans, as broken links are NOT good for SEO.

12. The page is just text

This is not ideal from a design or a usability perspective. Consider adding images to break text into smaller, readable chunks, or use things like headings and bulleted lists to add variety.

13. Beware moving things

Yes, things can move on websites. Videos, animations, hover effects on elements…these can work well if done properly and used SPARINGLY for focus.

Don’t just put in a video loop background for the sake of it – it will end up looking tacky. Likewise, not every element needs to have an effect on it when you hover over it. Less is more.

14. The contact form doesn’t work

There’s nothing more frustrating than a contact form that doesn’t work. Even worse is one that looks to have worked to the user, but in fact you’ve got the form set up to send notifications to an old email address so their enquiry gets lost in cyberspace. Check those forms!

15. Keyword Stuffing

You’ve seen the sites crammed full of keywords (usually at the bottom). Please don’t do this – it doesn’t work anymore and search engines are now sophisticated enough to realise you’re doing it and penalise your site accordingly.

16. The sidebar has become a dumping ground

Ok – you don’t HAVE to have a sidebar. They have their place, and often work well on the main Blog page to give visitors more options when it comes to reading posts by date, category, most recent etc. They can sometime work for email newsletter optins too.

Unfortunately they often end up longer than the page itself, crammed full of ‘badges’, spammy adverts and anything else that has been an afterthought. Keep that sidebar clutter-free!

Next steps

If you can recognise one or two points above in your website, then you may find that with some tweaking, and regular care and support, you can improve things and start to see some results from your site.

However, if your site is more like a tick list for the points above, then it may be time for a redesign. I see a lot of these issues in self-launched sites, and if the website is new then it doesn’t come across well to take the business seriously.

Whether you need help with your website on a regular basis or you think your business would benefit from a professional website design, I can help. Fill in a Project Application or enquire about one of my Care Plans to start making some changes.

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