20 Ways To Make Your Website Crap

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Hello everyone, many website owners make schoolboy errors, that makes their website, well, crap. These errors can cause an annoyance to a large percentage of visitors, and can actually drive traffic away. If you avoid all the reasons I have listed below, you are sure to have an outstanding annoying free website!

Just remember value. If you provide that on your website, your visitors will keep coming back time and time again for more.

Use A Free Hosting Company

If you use a free hosting company, you may often get a huge ad on top of your website, before your content actually starts. This can put people off, and can look ugly. Also you wont have a unique url, it will be something like yoursite.freewebspace.com. I’m not saying that sites like freewebs and tripod are crap, it’s a great place to start of, just you cant really look professional hosted on a free service like that. Instead, I would strongly recommend to use a reliable shared hosting company like Host Gator.

Have No Content Above The Fold

Some websites have huge headers, and if visitors want to find content, they have to scroll really far down the page to find any content.

Have A Splash Page

Having a page before your actual website, that says click here to enter, with loads of heavy images can take a long time to load for people with a slow Internet connection, and can look very bad (unless you are a pro designer). You are actually making it harder for people to access your website. Some splash pages can look awesome, like this one below, but it can still be an annoyance to your website visitors. I would generally avoid them.

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Create Your Website Just With Flash

Flash websites can sometimes be awesome, but most of them with heavy content can take a long time to load, even on a broadband connection. Plus search engines wont be able to index each individual page on your site, because it’s all flash. S.E.O will suck, and you will have to do some heavy manual promotion.

Not Check Your Website For Cross Browser Compatibility

If you want your website to be accessible by everyone, then it needs to be viewable by most if not all browsers, or at least latest browsers.

Have Music Playing On Your Website

Websites that automatically play music when loaded are very annoying. Sometimes people can’t find the pause of stop button, and it can be very annoying and off putting.

Opt In For A Second Best Domain

I have nothing wrong with .net or .biz, but why opt for second best domain? When you know you really want that .com!

Link To Non Existing Pages

People always link to stuff that doesn’t always exist. This can be very annoying for the end user, especially if they have been searching for a long time for something, and then your linking to something that’s not actually there.

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Lock Copy And Pasting

Websites which have a lock on, that prevents people from right clicking can be very annoying. I know they are just trying to stop people nabbing their content, but even still *cough* print screen *cough*.

Build Your Website Out Of Tables

Building your website out of tables is a very bad move these days. XHTML and CSS is what you should be using. I have nothing against tables, and you should still use them within your site if needs be, just don’t have your whole site based around tables.

Have Annoying Pop-Ups

Websites that have pop-ups every time you visit them can be very off putting, and most of all very annoying. Don’t do it, even if you are getting paid a measly 1 cent per pop-up. It will put your visitors off!

Slow Loading Pages

Pages that contain hundreds of intense images can often crash people’s browsers, or just slow down their computer, and painfully take a long time to load.

Having A Counter On Your Website

Displaying a free counter on your website, can look very bad. You shouldn’t be showing off how many hits you get, that’s what sites like Alexa and compete are for. Things you should be showing off are your RSS Subscriber count and your Twitter Followers.

Stupid Repeating Background Images

Websites that use the same small background image that repeats itself both horizontally and vertically are generally crap. For example, a Pokemon image repeating itself all over your screen. Very annoying!

Use A Bad Color Palette

It can be very bad to use a color palette on your website, where all the colors clash. A great place to find color palettes is ColorLovers or ColorSchemer.

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Use Stupid Text Effects

Using text effects that you get off these free online text generators can make your website look very tacky, not ‘cool’ as they make out it will look. My advice, use photoshop for your text effects.

Being Inconsistent

Using all different types of fonts across your website is inconsistent. If you use one font for your paragraphs and one font for your headers, then you should be safe. The same goes for text size, colors, etc.

Having To Scroll Horizontally Across Websites

Don’t you hate it when websites are too large for your screen? I’m not taking about the odd few pixels, like double if not triple your screen width. Websites should generally be no more than 1000px wide, 900 to be safe.

Using Rubbish Alternative Software

Say for instance you were building a big forum website, and you wanted it to achieve and have a thriving community of active members. But you couldn’t afford vBulletin or Invision Power Board, so you settled for phpBB (second best). It’s free for a reason. (phpBB is a very good forum software for beginners, but it just cant compete with the big boys).

Also some comments say I’m implying that WordPress is crap, but WordPress isn’t second best, it’s the best.

Animated Gif’s And General Rubbish

Basic website clutter can just make a website crap. Unnecessary junk that fills web pages, just to have content is very bad. A great example of this is the worst website in the world. Click on the image below to be amazed!

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About the Author

Iggy Ko

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I am the owner and main person behind WebDesignDev. I blog about all kinds of web design topics.

Iggy Ko20 Ways To Make Your Website Crap
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Comments 174

  1. Ted

    Yeah, I have to take issue with your denigration of PHPBB. It’s a much better product than vBulletin in my opinion. Easier to setup, maintain, and is much more secure.

    I’d also add that a good way to make your website crap is to have banners on your site, but all they do is advertise that you are advertising. Seems kind of pointless.

    1. Andy

      Im not so much digging phpBB, i used to use it, but in my opinion, vBulletin is much better. You pay for what you get (in some cases).

    2. Greg H.

      “all they do is advertise that you are advertising”

      Ha! Great point! Whenever I see one of those, I can’t help but think, ‘if this was such a good advertising vessel, someone would see this ad and want to buy the space.’

    3. Scott

      Agreed! Wow, someone who has visited this site I can finally see eye-to-eye with!

    1. Andy

      Oooh, i heard about this quite a while ago, but i didn’t think they were actually going to go ahead with it. Nice!

  2. jeremy

    For the most part, I agree, but I also have to agree with Scott, above.

    A distinction should be made between ad-supported free crap and community-supported, quality open source software or high-quality free services (PHP, MySQL, Linux, Apache, Basecamp, CodeIgniter, Drupal).

  3. Todd Michael Greene

    Another thing that makes websites crap is misspellings, which this post is full of. The info is good and interesting, but difficult to read due to numerous errors. Proofreading before publishing does wonders. Reading out loud before publishing is awesome.

    1. Ned

      agreed.

    2. huntermagnus999

      Not only the poor spelling but also the poor grammar; “annoying free” would work better as “annoyance free”. Would appreciate a bit less of the “adjective as noun” game.

  4. Janeson

    I’d be interested in knowing your reasoning behind saying that sites built out of tables are crap….

    Thanks!

    1. Andy

      New Web Standards.

      1. Will Anderson

        Not sure if I’d call web standard standards over 10 years old new, but OK :)

        Tables add extra bloat to your site and do a poor job of describing your content. This makes it harder for services like Google to index your site, as well as making it less accessible to people with disabilities (blind people using screen readers for example).

    2. Hope Bryant

      Adding to what Will has to say, tables look (when one looks at the coding) less professional in the long run, especially to other designers.

      Tables may take longer to load (last I heard), because the browser is reading them differently and looking for tabular data rather then general website code. Also tables are “bulkier” in terms of file size as well, because of their very nature. (These two may be tiny say compared to an image, but shaving off every little bit -can- count on that nit picky level!)

      Since Browsers read tables differently, as Will pointed out, their accessibility rules are different. A screen-reader will read your site very oddly if they are coded in tables. I’m serious. This also ties into how the code validates as well. Tables require certain attributes (especially with accessibility in mind) and can cause issues with the code validating accurately.

      W3C standards currently have the structure (layout framework) separate from the styling.(CSS). You can do a lot of the same things one used to do with tables with your p, ul,ol, li,h#, tags and more!

      The Only benefit to using tables to style or layout a website is that you can get two columns to stretch vertically, evenly. But there are several (three I last checked) ways to get a CSS-pure design to do the same thing.

      Tables do have their place! They are often used in price-comparison layouts, or tv-show time tables, sharing scientific data, etc. These are the normal uses for tables. ;)

    3. Vincent Le Pes

      Tables are bad because they are intended for tabular data…anything used for a different purpose than it’s intention in HTML is bad because programs that interface your site (mostly search engines but there are more and more apps indexing you for other reasons these days) will not know what to do with the information. For SEO in particular, you are basically telling the search spiders that everything in your site is ‘tabular data contained within the content’, rather than the content itself…which won’t take a big bite out of your rankings but every little bit counts :). Tables are intended for organizing data, the same way you use them on paper and in spreadsheets, and indexing services will treat it as such.

      1. Tim

        Wrong. The engines appeared *after* the html standard and adapted to it by human algo’s that read content and they evolved as people changed the way they code. A crawler is built to interpret the data no matter how it is displayed (lists, spans, divs, tables, p). Often time CSS abuses lists, which really makes little difference in how things are indexed versus tabular data. They have become so used to bad design and structure, they just go with it.

  5. Chris Berry

    If free software is crap, why is your website built on WordPress?

    1. Andy

      Not saying all free software is crap, but some of it is.

      1. Vincent Le Pes

        Wow, you are really getting a lot of flack for dissing on free software…I didin’t think you meant ALL free software either, just to chime in in your defense ;)

        1. Michael

          Hello Vincent,

          Exactly.. so many people feel the need to jump on the band wagon and flame us for helping people. Some FREE stuff is rubbish, some is obviously good such as WordPress.

          Michael

          1. Gary

            21. Use any bulletin board software that forces you to sign in just to _read_

            The problem with most helmets that start itty bitty websites is that they get a few interested users wanting to discuss things and….

            …Suddenly they think wow – this is all my content and I must protect it. Wrong – it is the Internets content given to you in trust by the people who wrote it (Just like this comment text)

            I understand the need to (openid) sign in to post a comment (responsibility) but a lot of bulletin board crap asks you to sign in before you can just read and browse.

            Here is a question for budding webmasters who have left comments:
            “Which of bulletin board software can you deploy (free or otherwise) where content is searchable by end users without login?”*
            ?vBulletin? Not in my experience
            phpBB – cannot say – response appreciated
            Any others you care to contribute.

            *By searchable by end users I mean with a browser, rather than, making content available _to googlebot only_ as some trickster sites seem to be doing.

            Here is a final suggestion for the php skilled who have commented here. How about contributing to phpBB to make things better. You are a php guru perhaps? so extend or fix it and contribute your change.

  6. @maxbeatty

    I think my old landlord’s (Pavilion Properties in Bloomington, IN) web page does more than half of these things http://pavprop.com It is one of the worst websites I can remember using. They were just as pathetic.

  7. Eduardo Baldan

    I have to agree with Scott. Free Stuff doesn’t means crap. Maybe sometimes…
    What can we say about WordPress, Drupal, Joomla… UBUNTU.

    Anyway, thank’s for the article. It have some very good points…
    (sorry for the bad english)

  8. Richard - Accessible Web Design

    Implying that phpBB is rubbish is harsh. I can’t comment on whether other systems are better but it certainly can’t be rubbish given how many sites use it successfully.
    The comment about .org being a second best option is just wrong. .org is for intended for non-profit organisations and .com is intended for commercial organisations, you are trying to compare apples with oranges. I do agree that there are second best domain TLDs though such as .biz or even .me

    1. Hope Bryant

      Also .net are meant for networks. The .com, .net, and .org all have reason behind their naming conventions.

      Mobile devices have been given their own through .mobi. It isn’t a bad idea to use it but not by itself. Most people should have them (imo) along -with- their main website.

      .tv is good for video-heavy sites (Word Press has it for their video tutorial site).

      But the others, I have to agree. They are either supporting urls (like .mobi and .info are imo), or secondary in weight and authority.

  9. Martin Bean

    Why the hate for phpBB? I don’t mind it, clients like it, and clients’ visitors like it and can use it.

    1. Michael

      Hello Martin,

      Thats because they didn’t pay for it, I think if you asked them to compare other software, they would then change there minds.

      Michael

  10. Anne Witton

    Agree with the comments about your first point. Another good free hosting company is http://www.yola.com which offers free hosting, completely ad free (unlike your blog). I also do have a unique URL which points to my freely hosted site: http://www.annewitton.org.uk

    1. Andy

      What I mean is sites like tripod put unwanted ads up. We sell our ad spots, and approve our advertisers adverts, so it fits in with the site.

  11. SMARTS

    AGREED!!!

  12. Will

    Can I add one to the list:

    Websites with auto play video, normally ads but not always. It’s guaranteed to make me leave straight away

    1. Shane - Inspiring Your Success

      Especially those ones with the horrible people that just speak.

  13. Marc

    Where is “use comic sans”?

  14. Shane - Inspiring Your Success

    This is a very good point. I have tried to make my 404 pages user friendly but have not quite succeeded. May I point out that the author of this post is not actually the owner of the website?

    Also, no offense to Andy but I have to agree with Scott. In this day and age, most open source FREE software is better because it is made as a community rather than as a job.

  15. Tyler Jefford

    Nice list, I will have to say I agree with all the points.

  16. Scott

    I’m getting sick of this constant barrage of “free stuff is rubbish”. I’m not sure if you’ve looked at all, but what does a website commonly run on? MySQL (which is free), PHP (which is also free) and most servers use Linux (oh, would you look at that, that’s free too!). Why would I go and pay for some ridiculously overpriced forum software that runs on free stuff when I get a free option that’s BETTER than the crap I have to pay for? Not to mention that phpbb’s security is a lot better out of the box (or .zip file I should say) than vBulletin’s.

    1. James McWhorter

      Good point, Scott. I think a lot of us have gotten where we are now because of “free stuff”.

    2. twe4ked

      Thanks Scott! (I like you website running on (free) joomala and free phpBB btw.

      I also wanted to point out a great free webhost that comes with:

      - php
      - mysql
      - cpanel
      - no ads
      -1500 MB storage
      - 100 GB/month bandwidth

      http://www.000webhost.com

      Cheers

      1. John

        twe4ked I have used 000webhost[dot]com and they are absolutely garbage. The sites down time is like all the time, and they say you can use php scripts yet they limit it too almost unusable, unless you pay. Which I would never be a paying member to that waste of time website.

    3. Michael

      Hello Scott,

      Its not FREE stuff in general, its the fact that people don’t want to have a good website because they don’t want to pay a small price. The fact is PHPBB isn’t anywhere near as good as software such as vBulletin, I have used all of the main software and I think any webmaster could agree with me on the fact that PHPBB isn’t the best.

      Things such as WordPress are FREE and is great compared to expensive alternatives.

      Michael

      1. Scott

        Small price?

        If you call $150 up-front for IPB then $25 every 6 months for upgrades a “small price” then I think you need a reality check. And vBulletin, $180 up-front then $60 every year after that for upgrades.

        That vs. free software, free updates, and a community full of awesome mods and styles (that for the most part are also free, if you pay for a theme it’s generally a REALLY good one); I think I know which one I’m throwing my support behind.

        Your preference is vBulletin, mine is phpBB, I value everyone’s opinions and preferences, I just don’t want other to be blind-sided into thinking paid software is miles ahead of the free stuff; because it’s not.

        1. Michael

          Hey Scott,

          But lets face it, if vBulletin was FREE you would use that instead because it is miles better. Not 1 forum that I read uses vBulletin….

          Sitepoint.com
          DigitalPoint.com
          TalkFreelance.com
          WarriorForum.com

          All use vBulletin and that’s just naming a few of dozens… Can’t say all these successful webmasters are wrong. I can tell you for a fact that if one of these sites used PHPBB I wouldn’t use it as much if at all just because from a user point of view, I hate it.

          You have your own opinion and your entitled to it, but at the end of the day paid things are typically better.

          Michael

          1. Scott

            Of course, a list of all the sites that can afford to throw hundreds of dollars away on forum software and would gladly go and pay for vBulletin or IPB, however for some to start out with it’s not that easy. For anyone that is just starting they may not want to throw away $160 for forum software just yet, so phpBB provides a good option to launch with little investment.

            @Vincent: I’m just sick of phpBB always taking the flak, why not point the finger at MyBB or SMF for once? They’re basically flying under the radar… Unless they’re not a rubbish alternative?

            And what’s this bit about competing with the “big boys”? Last I looked phpBB was doing a pretty good job of competing with vB and IPB, it won me over after IPB went proprietary.

  17. Dave E

    >>> If you use a free hosting company, you may often get a huge ad on top of your website, before your content actually starts <<<

    You mean like all that crap on the right hand side of you web page!

  18. Michael

    Hello,

    We aren’t saying all FREE things are bad, but from my experience, most PAID things are better and I have to say I have used PHPBB and its no where near good enough for running a successful forum.

    With domains, a .TK .ORG or anything else will just make the site look like they couldn’t afford a .COM or they didn’t care if they got one which for me is a turn off.

    With proof reading, I don’t care so much as long as its 90% alright, a lot of our most successful entrepreneurs are dyslexic ( including myself ) and I feel people only point this out to make themselves look better then us.

    Michael

    1. GreyGoose

      .com, .co. whatever suits your site or sites purpose, price or caring isn’t as relevant as meaning and purpose and I feel people only point this out to make themselves look better then others.
      With proof reading, it’s especially important if you’re dyslexic, many of the successful people I know are dyslexic and each of them admitted they ask someone else to proof read their material before publishing. Weird huh?
      As a professional web-developer I maintain that correct spelling is essential – if you spell your html or php incorrectly the site may not display correctly.
      I do agree with most of the points raised above, especially in relation to open source material which is largely driven by a desire to create rather than a desire to make money, I’ve used all sorts of paid for software and applications that were rubbish when compared to a free open source equivalent.
      Does anyone know why people use blogging products for creating websites, I refer especially to WordPress, which although good for blogging isn’t a patch on ModX for CMS site building.

  19. Michael

    Hello Maureen,

    Most people ask for these things because they are uneducated and think blinking and flashing effects is what makes a website amazing.

    Michael

  20. Neil

    Regarding pop-ups – I’ll agree with you if these are ads for sites for other people. But what about the video overlay technology where a website owner has the opportunity to welcome visitors or provide them specific information about their site. This can be accomplished by using a company spokesmodel or by the website owner or representative themselves.

    1. Vincent Le Pes

      WOW I will have to majorly disagree with that…those popups that block the page (the content you are looking for), talk out loud without your choice (bad move if you want to target anyone working in a shared office – just as bad as auto-playing music), and the people in the pitch generally remind me of a late night infomercial or someone trying to sell time share. No thanks. I personally close the tab the moment I notice one of these, and I think most people do the same.

  21. Ayo Adigun

    Well put together. Although the whole ad thing is a bit… rich!

  22. Helmut

    Just a hint: Displaying your RSS subscribers and twitter followers might seems edgy and appropriate now, so did the counter things a couple of years ago.

    I say: If you wanna yerk off to something, get a mirror.

    1. Michael

      Hello Helmut,

      RSS Subscribers is part of making your readers think your site is popular and incourages them to join the RSS themselves because so many other people have. This is a good thing to feature on your website.

      Michael

  23. tintedPixel

    I know a lot of us in the biz *chuckle* at this list, mostly because we have all run into a client or two who have unequivocally demanded at least one of these in a project.

    The saddest part is there are some people still out there pedaling the; talking heads, background music, blinking text and animated.

    nuff said.

    1. Tom McAdams

      I have had a few of those in the past also. However, I do not have any music by Talking Heads… :) nor have I ever used ‘blinking text’.

      Pedaling implies suggesting it, never happened. Maybe ‘someone’ lost a client to me and was not happy with it…
      Grow Up.

      I used a background once that the client told me was his, and within a matter of minutes of me finding out it was not, I changed it. (you remember that day right??) I admitted I was wrong, so for that you insult me. It is spelled ENOUGH, not NUFF.

      Children, what can you do… :)

  24. Aadil Pitafi

    I don’t really agree with the first point. There are actually some really good free cPanel web hosts that have an excellent up-time and also allow you to have your own domain.

    All other points are absolutely right. I agree with all of them. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Dedé Villela

    I’m glad that my site don’t have any of this s**t!!!

  26. Angela

    Great article. I just finished my first website (which is horrible) for a class and am eager to make it better. Your tips are very timely for me (although most of them I was aware of). The Color Schemer site is fantastic also, thanks for the link!

  27. Mark Duffy

    All good. Im looking at joomla right now, but trying to resist the urge to use it for my main site portfollio. Mainly because, Im finding it hard to make time to do it. I really think that if your going to use a site to highlight your skills or a site for a web design company, you should concider doing it from scratch. Still love joomla though.

    1. Scott

      I love Joomla, I still enjoy making a site from scratch but I love the ease that Joomla is to both install and theme (not to mention use), I love it!

  28. Oliver

    I agree with all 20 of these but since google is working on indexing flash better then we might see more flash sites. The only free stuff I use is WordPress for RSS.

    All the sites I design stay well away from all these especially tables for layouts as it makes it harder for google to crawl each site.

  29. Chris

    You must have read my mind. Great list! I like your point about Splash pages. If you sell on your site, make it as easy as possible for someone to give you money. Don’t set up a roadblock.

  30. Brian Cassidy

    I haven’t even read this post yet… im just making sure posts need to be approved cause i entered the contest and my comment didn’t show up…

  31. Daniel M

    Haha Michael, Andy… Just reading the comments here has made my day, I love how strongly people feel about different points!

    Keep up the good work guys, great post.

  32. Jim

    There is nothing wrong with using tables. Why exactly are they crap when I know I can make them do just as much as any CSS in a fraction of the time. With no cross browser compatibility issues.

    1. GreyGoose

      There is something majorly wrong with tables. They were never intended to be used for site layout, (at the outset of the internet websites weren’t expected to contain much more than text and content tables much like a spreadsheet on a “Word” document).
      Using tables for layout was basically a hack to place images and content in fixed positions when there was no other way. Some people have continued to be use layout tables to allow for Internet Exploder 6, when a bit of extra work on CSS will achieve the same result.
      Using layout tables is simply poor design, we haven’t used them for at least 4-5 years, we try to focus on fast loading valid code that is also accessible.
      Try doing a major layout change on a site done in tables, that’s when the time consumption really comes in.

  33. Rebecca

    I have to chime in on the pop-up speakers. I hate them, and will navigate away from a page in order to avoid being spoken to by them. This may be a little personal quirk that some of us have — but why irritate any of your visitors for no particular benefit?

    There may be people who have a pet peeve over interesting color schemes, grammatically correct content, and standards-compliant code, but they’re going to be rare. People who dislike pop-ups are common enough that we shouldn’t turn them away.

  34. Albert Pak

    Very interesting pointers. Great article.

  35. Paul

    While it was certainly true in the past that you could not look professional on a free web host that is not true any longer. As mentioned above.

    http://www.000webhost.com

    Great ad free. Free host. My site runs on it and you would never know it’s not a dedicated server. http://www.codetricky.com.

    Other than that you are dead on!

  36. Steve

    Love your stuff.

  37. Geoserv

    Couldn’t have made a better list. Good stuff

  38. Stuart Noton

    Good list, agree with about 80% of it .. the point I would like to throw into the blender is that everything has a context. Annoying music playing on a website? What if you’re a music vendor, musician, ringtone creator, a/v technician.. you see what I’m saying. Most things have their place somewhere.

  39. theodin

    no…… music!?

  40. Ann

    Thanks for the tip on tables, it spurred me to update my HTML programming knowledge to the DIV / CSS approach. It’s kind of embarrassing to know that I’ve been doing it wrong for so many years *blush* (I learned HTML a LONG time ago)

  41. ann

    By the by, for people looking for examples of why CSS, check out this site: http://www.csszengarden.com/

    The links on the right side of the page are examples of the same exact page with only the external CSS doc changed… how neat is that?

  42. Optimised Onion

    Oh dear, guess I fail on most of these points. Oh well, better luck next time ;-)

  43. SnowFoxCreations

    It depends on what type of “free” you’re discussing- open-source software projects are free, and are (almost without exception) better than their paid counterparts. Open-source is powered by obsessive fans and code junkies who use the software themselves, and constantly try to improve upon it. The fact that the code is available for anyone’s perusal holds the creators accountable to the end users, making is difficult to sneak in malware or errors without someone catching it immediately.
    - an open-source fan

  44. Lucas

    LOL i do the print-sreen all the time :D

  45. diebere

    very well researched thanks

  46. Cjay

    how about tag clouds… like on this website
    tag clouds are really cheesy maybe this should be reason number 21

    oh and reason number 22 empty spaces that say ADVERTISE HERE.

    number 23, and yes prefab templates like what this website uses……

    1. nepdud

      yeah, gud points.. :)

    2. Web Design by 314media.com St. Louis

      Lol .. Funnies … Not too nice; but hey; truth hurts…

  47. Elliot

    phpBB is very powerful if you have a little bit of time to modify it and template it, there is an abundance of modifications from the community to add, and I definitely prefer it over the likes of vB and IPB.

    Open source, free stuff is the foundation of the web nowadays. This website runs on a server running a Linux Distro (all of which free), it runs on WordPress (free and mighty powerful, just like phpBB!).

    My last point is that free hosting is now available with all of the standards of paid hosting, and I think the point of un-professionalism is out of the question.

    Let’s face it, most of these points are true, but nowadays people who care about their website and content should have the basic instinct to avoid a lot of this.

  48. Rob Brideson

    In all, the 20 best ways to mess up your website are a matter of opinion in some respects, although the general ideas are completely sound. I have to be clear that from a business point of view 99% of this will be found out at your customers expense and that is when they come to a web designer to help them out.

    I think where opions will differ are, as Elliot says, depends on whether you are into open source, have time to craft templates, use commercial templates or make your own for particular instances.

    I also have to agree that there are some good free hosting companies out there too and if all you are doing is loading up one or two pages then this may only be all that you need so long as the service up time is reasonable. I will say one thing though as a hoster myself. If your service is down then your visitors are too. So I would not recommend it for anyone running a business unless the service it outstanding, which invariable the say, “you get what you pay for”, is very relevant here.

    If you are dealing with businesses that are designing their own websites and messing them up, they will soon come to you and ask you to fix it for them or from experience ask you to build the things that they would not have been able to do themselves because of a lack of skills and time to learn them. After all that is why we are in business in the first place.

    Open source is cost effective in as far as the basics in most cases are already there. You can and are legally allowed to make the necessary changes to source code etc. to save on time and resources whilst giving the customer what they want at a much lower cost and still turn a reasonable profit yourself.

    I have to agree with Cjay. Cheesy tag clouds instead of proper search engine optimisation so that crawlers can find your content clouds the page a bit (Pun intended). You might as well use a menu for your content so that users can find it and crawlers can follow it. Not so sure about prefab templates as they do have their uses. Advertise here smacks of desperation and personally businesses that do this are companies that I tend to be wary of.

    I must admit I like the ColorLovers and ColorSchemers websites. You just can’t get enough inspiration in this world.

  49. Xm

    this was really really helpful, i’m in my first year of multimedia at college and we are making websites and i have made atleast three of these mistakes. thanks for the tips.

  50. govindaraj

    really its awesome. thanks

  51. Daniel

    Hi,

    You don’t always have to be consistent, sometimes consistency is boring.

    tar,

  52. Will

    Good article however phpBB is not “rubbish alternative software”, a lot of people don’t like vbulletin.

  53. Bec

    Oh My God. I almost had a fit when I saw that website. Yuck.

    This is really helpful :)
    Cheers

  54. Maggi Blue

    Funny, the ads displayed on this post seem to indicate that all these rules are null when there is money to be made.

  55. neat design

    I think at some point or another we have all been guilty of a number of these sins.

    But don’t put flash down just yet there are still some cracking flash only websites out there which could only be created in flash.

    neat design.

  56. Greg

    Bringing back the Marquee and Blink tags just what we’ve been missing.

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  58. Lauren

    Great post. I unfortunately have been having issues w/ the hosting company and registrar for my domain so I’m a blogspot so I am guilty of the free domain thing. But I agree w/ all your point, thanks especially for the Color Schemer link, had not heard of this one.

  59. jobo

    All very good points. The only problem is when the client wants some crappy stuff on his website and you can’t get him to change his mind! :)

  60. Shama Kern

    I just came across your various posts and I really like them. You don’t mince words, you point out many mistakes that I have made, and I feel it will get me on track with my blog.

  61. Web Designers In Houston

    A valid W3C web site is a good business investment also.

  62. Jewels

    Roared with laughter at the world worst website. The music just did it! Fantastic info and tips. Just starting out myself and I am learning every day from your website. Thank you a million times over!!! :)

  63. Vince Golangco

    Ahhhh, great checklist to make sure my site is somewhat decent…. Great list and very practical!

  64. Larry McCauley

    Re flash and seo: SWFAddress and SWFObject. SWFAddress makes it possible for google to index every page of the site, and SWFObject offers the bots alternate html content to index whilst setting up a switch that seamlessly directs users into your flash site.

    Basically it’s Javascript to the rescue

    The default (and other) html publish settings in Flash are a total disgrace. This is where I think so much of the bad rep for flash sites comes from. Anyone just blindly publishing in flash will produce a site that may look and act brilliantly but be impossible to SEO.

    But a good and valuable checklist!

  65. Loreauville Phil

    I have to agree with what a couple of posters have said already, that this “Checklist” is more a matter of opinion than facts. I do agree with the majority of what’s stated. But I think some of it is more a lack of professionalism than anything else.
    I do have mixed feelings about the Free Web Hosting. My experiences with free web hosts have proven to me that [most] of them are worth are worth every penny you pay, but for some people and circumstances, they are perfect.
    And in my opinion the biggest “crap-alert” of a website is lack of usable content.

  66. Tom

    Nice. Gave me a smile!

  67. Elias

    Stupid Repeating Background Images… seriously, this depends on the image!

  68. Kathleen

    Nice list to keep newbies to the website world heading in the right direction – it’s often the basics which are missed from website design. Keep it simple always works best for me.

  69. Ben Nuttall

    Everything I live by! Seriously all very good points.

    …except – you missed ‘Use frames’!

    (and I don’t see what’s wrong with phpBB)

  70. Azad Shaikh

    thanks for helpful points. lol.

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  72. Ashby

    hahahaha sorry i disagree with only one point you made:

    “WordPress isnt second best, its the best.”

    Im a joomla guy so typically I have to 100% disagree and say sorry to disappoint you but wordpress is second best to joomla. :)

  73. Mike

    Wow. I almost forgot some people still do these things. I actually saw a business in my area had a website with an ANIMATED BACKGROUND, music playing, no structure (imagine dropping a bunch of post it notes, photos, receipts and other junk on the table, that’s what this site looked like).

    At the same time, I think back and in my more novice days I used to do some of these things!

  74. Nabeel

    funny but really important information!

  75. Paul

    So true! Great Article!

  76. mikeo

    if your site resembles geocities or myspace it needs help – or a quick death.

    nothing i mean nothing makes me leave a site faster than background music. period.

    oh and animated GIFs

    .mike

  77. Luis

    Some of ur point are just ur opinion!!!!!

    I agree with Rob Brideson…

    disagree in this point of view: Have A Splash Page

    There some clients thay i know and some that i have!!!! that i do temporarly put a enter page to promote a specific thing….

    Have A Splash Page its not bad, and come on ur saying that it could take long time to load or heavy images…. blah blah!!!

    lets say that 80 % of what u wrote was good!!!!!

  78. Susana

    You should include in your list those posts that begin with adds… they look like… “You can read this post but… I want/need money”

    Too many adds are awful, trying to click on such websites is like walking trough a mined field.

    I personally think that this post is supposed to be written from the user perspective (in that case it would be good to know your sources), otherwise it is just insulting those companies/groups/people who has that kind of websites and that is not good for our website development business. An orientative approach would be better if that is the case.

  79. Eric

    It’s amazing how many sites don’t adhere to this common sense guidelines. Great post!

  80. arveerella

    nice post! It’s true we really want the .com! ?

  81. Sandy

    Why did you go to all that trouble to create a mythical worst website?

    The real mcCoy exists here: http://www.backgammon-biba.co.uk/

    … and note that the only real text is all in Comic Sans :-(

  82. Jez

    Top tips!

  83. Deepesh Chetariyil

    Awesome tips, WDD. It sure is darn truth straight on anybody’s face. People always want a .com domain no matter what their other interests are. I mean, i wanted to, but lets just say i had my reasons *cough* money *cough*

  84. Dennis Suitters

    Word Press is utter rubbish and is prone to SQL Injection. period.

  85. Tonym

    Putting contact info (and sometimes more) in an image to stop people making easy use of it! Great post, thanks.

  86. Marco

    ‘Have Annoying Pop-Ups’
    That’s a good one ;-)

  87. Christian

    How ironic, the “world’s worst website” crashed my browser!
    Very nice list as well.
    I am still a student and this is a big help

  88. Speider Schneider

    Any site without a prancing glitter unicorn, farting rainbows, is just…dead to me!

  89. Carlos Viloria

    Create Your Website Just With Flash

    this is not entirely true, there are pages in flash pages weighing less than throw in HTML / CSS or PHP.
    The title should be: If your site is just flash, and weighs more than 200k … is a crap

    if you make a page in Flash please do it well!!!

    1. jess

      my site (www.jmagsgraphics.com) is made entirely in flash but you would never know. no hangups here

  90. Dtg

    Considering a link to this article for our “Web” tidbits — but says “annoying pop-ups” … and then, guess what? Yup. Pop-ups.

    1. Web Design

      “Annoying pop-ups” vs a javascript overlay (not a pop-up) which asks you to subscribe to receive useful information – these 2 are very different : )

  91. Sarah

    Hate splash pages. They’re generally unclear, text-heavy, and (for a lot of people) might be confused as the ONLY page of the site because there is no clear way to get to the actual site. Great list!

  92. Jess

    haha I like how you said you can just do a screen shot of locked images. Duhh, isn’t that what we all do anyways?! and another good website for color palettes is http://kuler.adobe.com/
    When I was in school, I saw design students who had the world’s worst concepts of putting colors together. THey could not be saved if a paint bucket hit them in the face.

  93. Mohawk Kellye

    It’s nice to see that a year later now that most of these sites have actually updated their site for the better. You can see a before and after scenario, although I would’ve gotten a good laugh at some of the bad examples if they still existed.

  94. Storage Sydney

    Making the website crap? At first, I am really curious why these things are to be done. But with the explanation of Mr. Rob and getting the essence of these 20 ways, I finally found out why.

  95. SANA

    thnx for sharing hope these 20 tips help me !

  96. Jide Ogunsanya

    Great list there. You talked about pop-up but you are using something like that on this page that is romancing me to download your ebook. Don’t you think such can be annoying atimes too? Imagine after entering my email, I was directed to a page telling me to verify my subscription without taking me back to your blog. Is that really a good idea too?

  97. Constantin

    Have Annoying Pop-Ups

    Websites that have pop-ups every time you visit them can be very off putting, and most of all very annoying. Don’t do it, even if you are getting paid a measly 1 cent per pop-up. It will put your visitors off!

    JUST LIKE THIS WEBSITE, IT’S A CRAP :))

    1. Web Design

      This pop-up offers a lot of value to visitors :)

  98. Artie Franz

    I really good way to make a crappy website is to use some lame program like Joomla od WordPress. If you are not able to create a decent website using the core languages then pay someone who can.

  99. Senff

    Don’t include “Have Annoying Pop-Ups” in the list when your own site shows me an annoying popup, even if it’s only one. “The Only Web Design Guide You Need – FREE!”

    1. Web Design

      That is actually a very useful pop-up, and it’s shown to you only once per week.

  100. Bob Sightings

    There’s still a surprising number of these sites around and they annoy the back out of me….

  101. Bruce

    Those claiming tables are bad tend to be on the holier than thou trip, mixed with the I’m the latest and greatest attitude.

    Using tables for non tabluar data is wrong because it’s not what it’s meant for? That’s like saying using my computer monitor to watch tv is also wrong. That argument doesn’t fly with me. In the broadband era, the extra bytes is a lame argument too.

    Tables are not wrong or bad, as they meet compliances and require waaaay less debugging. One almost always knows what they’re going to get, regardless of browser type and age. Add on a bunch of newly evolving mobile devices, and a pure CSS template can be pure hell.

    While I use CSS and divs for many things like sticky footers, for most everything else, being on a budget, tables allow quicker turn out. Those arguing other designers will be able to tell….why would I care? If the client likes it and it works, why does this keep people up at night?

    I’m all about doing things professionally, but really, let’s cut the politically-technically correct crap already!

  102. Bruce

    I forgot a point:

    “Try doing a major layout change on a site done in tables, that’s when the time consumption really comes in.”

    I have done significant changes, by using includes. Us table users aren’t as dumb as some might think ;)

    Besides, a MAJOR layout change in CSS would be unarguably faster how?

  103. Peter Drinnan

    I was on board until I got to the part about vBulletin. As someone who has worked with both vBulletin and phpBB I can say that vBulletin has serious problems which is why it has a 79% hate rating on Amplicate.

  104. traffic software

    annoying pop-ups? so is this website crap then!? :)
    Kara

    1. Web Design

      If you think so :)

  105. Tony

    You missed a couple:

    21) Hassle people with JS modal popups the second they arrive at your page, or even better wait until they start reading then get it right in the way of the content

    22) Put the New Comment form *below* the comments, thirteen miles away from the top of the page so the user has to scroll seemingly forever before they can comment

  106. Mike

    Do you think having a featured post slider would be tacky or do you think can be done right and still be appropriate on a site? I’m thinking this through currently. Thanks in advance!

    1. Web Design

      I think this could be very appropriate when done right, Mike.

      Iggy

  107. Tony

    “Have Annoying Pop-Ups” – kind of like the one I got the first time I visited this page that was selling a book, before I even got a chance to see the content of the site?

    1. Web Design

      Hi Tony,

      It was not selling a book, the book is free : )

  108. Tony

    OR like having to click “back” to get back to the page I was reading after I enter a comment? That’s pretty bad, too.

    So is having form fields that appear disabled because of unusual shading, or buttons that don’t respond to mouseovers, making them also appear inactive.

    If you’re going to post about making ‘crap’ websites, you might want to take a better look at your own.

  109. Shane

    I have to disagree with your point about rubbish free software. phpBB is one of the BEST forum software. vBulletin, for me is somewhat mediocre. phpBB leaves it in just, just my opinion.

  110. Sunil

    These things should be avoided when designing a website

  111. Mario

    I enter and what I first get is a giant popup in my way while starting to read the post. How annoying.

    1. Web Design

      Took note. Pop-up now opens upon exit so that it’s not distracting :)

  112. Emma

    haha love this article!! good one to read at the end of the day!!

  113. GC

    I must point out that I got a couple of pop up ads from this web page as I was reading the article. Flash taskbar-like ads on the bottom are also terrible. I agree with not using flash at all, in fact I would like to see the entire Internet free of flash. It just doesn’t work that reliably. That being said, people should NOT be using XHTML either.

  114. Michael

    Great Info and I love the title 20 ways to make your website crap! I am on the floor laughing so hard. But the info is soooo true! Good Job.

  115. tyjkenn

    Free software is better in my opinion, especially when it comes to web development. If it costs money, you run into licensing issues, something that shouldn’t be an issue in the open web. All the best web software is free: WordPress, Drupal, OpenCart, CakePHP, Joomla, Zend, Symfony, CodeIgniter, etc. Paying for hosting is understandable. Paying for web software is ridiculous.

  116. jon

    So why the hell do you have annoying popups on your own site you dick head. Atleast teach what you preach. And i reckon you dont add my comment to your list…

  117. Pete

    You should add “social toolbars” at the bottom of a page as well as on the side to that list.

    1. Web Design

      Why does that bother you?

  118. Danny

    There are some good design tips for sites, and things to avoid…and there would probably be many more things that could have a negative impact on a site….

    Though, I think if some of these things are not overdone, they are not such a problem…

    Not sure why you advice against Popups, yet, have one showing when visitors arrive to your site….

    Also, your site(page) loading speed seems quite slow(could be code from, ads, plugins, etc)….

    Aside from this, the post has some useful advice that can help site owners.

  119. Hermy

    I find it so ironic that YOUR website is crap itself.

  120. Hermy

    Kidding ;) Nice stuff.I agree.

  121. Bamajr

    I think you list covers a lot of the major annoyances, commonly found on garbage websites, these days.

    Though maybe you should clarify a few things, like:

    1) Annoying pop-ups are often necessary to help monetize a website or alert someone to an issue or ToS. Pop-overs are just as annoying and the first thing I got, when this web page loaded, was an annoying pop-over

    2) Repeating background images are often, specifically part of a solid design. images made to repeat, to form a pattern, like a checkerboard or honeycomb, are often created as a small dimension file, and tiled horizontally and/or vertically across the screen.

    3) phpBB is hardly second best… At most, that is your opinion and one I wouldn’t put much weight in. I for one, can’t stand vBulletin and I’m not real fond of Invision Power Board, but hear again, its my opinion. I’ve seen some amazing Bulletin Board sites created with phpBB. However those sites typically don’t use the basic install and will spend some time, doing some amazing customizations.

    Since I’m already on the topic and have already voiced my opinion, Simple Machines sucks the most – says me ;-)

    4) With most of your list, being entirely accurate, I think you missed the biggest annoyance of all. Websites that are Overly Self-Promoted and/or Heavily Loaded with Advertisements, to the point that it detracts from the intent and content of the web page.

  122. a

    another bad move is pluralising GIFs as GIF’s

  123. Colin

    you should recommend ’960 to be safe’ rather than 900, as 960 is a much more dividable width making design and layout clearer and easier. 960 will divide cleanly by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16 and quite a few more as well as combinations of those divisions too – very flexible.

    also, not all repeating background images are bad, it often looks really slick to give your website a background texture for which you should really use a repeating tile which is a much smaller image.

    apart from those, a very good set of points.

  124. Nehru Crawford

    As a web developer, we always suggest the multiple solutions to our clients with pros and cons for each. And at the end of the day, it’s customer’s choice.

  125. TDbaby

    Yeah, some of them are really funny and stupid. What i hate most is the annoying auto play music. Who does that. How do people read your content with the music. And even when you pause it, when you open another page, it starts playing again :)

  126. Robo

    Very interesting and helpful post. While to me, some of then are not too bad, others are a no,no,no.

    The worst offenders are those website with autoplay music, especially when it is not a music website. Like seriously, who does that? And you see it often.

    And those website with popups? So, so, annoying, it just spoils a users experience.

    And those one with free counters, i laugh each time i see them. Like seriously? If advertisers need your stats they will as for your Google Analytics stats. And like you say, if they want to check it publicly, they can use Alexa and Compete :)

  127. Lily

    Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to say not to have annoying pop ups, when every page on this website has that annoying pop up for your eBook.. I mean are those type of popups okay?

  128. Ricky

    Totally agreed with you in this. You forgot to mention websites that are not clear about the types of content it presents or no indications of who is writing, about me page etc, it’s very frustrating. I would also point out red or black background with white fonts, OMG that gives anyone a headache after a minute or so, you shut your eyes and that contrast stays in your vision, like a flash. so bad man, i cant believe people still do that.

  129. Ricky

    i agree with Lily above too, sorry but your website had a popo up thingy asking me subscribe or something like that, also there are ads everywhere here, mmmm, something to improve?

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