In the digital era, your website serves as the face of your business, offering the world a glimpse of what you have to offer. But what happens when that face is distorted by bad website design? Terrible websites can handicap a business far more quickly than most people realize.

In this guide, we’ll cover the damaging effects of bad web page design on your business. We’ll explore why investing in a well-designed website is crucial for success in today’s digital landscape. We’ll also look at some bad design examples that you’d want to avoid for your business website.

Significance of web design for businesses

Business website design goes beyond colors, images, and fonts. A business website also represents your brand’s mission, vision, and values. This includes the layout, interface, content, functionality, compatibility, and user experience. 

These website elements work in harmony to create an engaging, easy-to-navigate, and appealing website. A platform that effectively communicates your message to your audience.

But why does good web design matter so much? Let’s break it down into three key reasons:

First impressions matter

Users form their initial impression of your website’s design in less than a second. If your website is difficult to navigate or unappealing, it can discourage visitors from going further. You cannot expect websites with bad design to generate any traction for its respective businesses.

So does your website reflect the professionalism and quality your business offers? If not, it might be time for a redesign. Consider this — it takes around 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website. That’s all the time you have to make a solid first impression and capture their attention.

How well does your website perform in these 0.05 seconds? The answer determines whether a visitor stays on your site or clicks away. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As you may know, SEO is a strategy designed to improve a website’s visibility on search engines. A well-designed, SEO-friendly site is more likely to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). This will, in turn, draw more traffic and potential customers to your site. But what does this have to do with website design?

Well, the design of your website affects its SEO in several ways. For one thing, search engines favor sites that are easy to navigate. A good website design is intuitive and makes it easy for users to find what they want. This will help search engines understand the content and structure of your site.

Another reason website design is an essential aspect of SEO is that it affects bounce rates. If your website is poorly designed, visitors are more likely to leave without exploring other pages. This increases your bounce rate and signals to search engines that your site may not be relevant or valuable to users, resulting in a lower ranking.

Conversion rates

When a user visits your website, all the elements they see on the page affects their decision on whether to walk away or engage with your business. 

Think about it — design influences how well your website guides visitors through the buying process. A clean, organized layout with clear calls to action and user-friendly functionality can lead to a higher conversion rate. On the other hand, a cluttered and confusing design can stop potential customers from buying or filling out a contact form.

Imagine if people use the website to contact your service, but they don’t know where to go. Chances are that more than half of those users are going to take their business somewhere else.

The impact of ugly and ineffective website design on a business

Now, we’ve touched on three key reasons why website design matters for businesses. But what happens when it’s not given the attention it deserves?

In this section, we’ll dig more into the silent business killer that is bad website design. Here, you’ll learn how it can drag your business down in specific situations 

Missed Opportunities

Every visitor to your website is a potential customer. However, if your website design turns them away immediately, that’s a lost opportunity for your business.

Think about how often you have clicked away from a page because its website design looks outdated or unprofessional. The same goes for your potential customers. By neglecting the design of your website, you could be losing out on conversions and sales without even realizing it.

Negative Brand Perception

Your website is a reflection of your brand. If that reflection is distorted due to bad website design, it can ruin your brand’s image.

Think about it — if a website suffers from poor design choices, then it’s easy for customers to assume the same thing with your product or service. This leads to a loss in potential customers and damages your brand reputation.

Decreased Sales and Revenue

A poorly designed website can seriously impact your bottom line. It can drive away potential customers, increase bounce rates, and lower conversion rates.

A study by Adobe reveals that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive. This means that website design has a direct influence on your business’s ability to attract and retain customers.

Before you dismiss this as an exaggeration, think about your own experiences. How often have you left a website because it was too difficult to use or didn’t look professional? That’s the chilling reality of badly designed websites.

Recognizing bad website design

Now that we’ve established the importance of website design for businesses, it’s time to look closely at what makes up a bad website design. This will help you identify and rectify any design mistakes holding your business back.

Of course, identifying a poorly designed website is easier said than done. The process requires more than a graphic evaluation. You need a comprehensive understanding of functionality, user experience, SEO, and navigational flow.

Here are some key indicators of bad website design:

Non-responsive web design

A non-responsive website doesn’t adapt to different screen sizes. This makes navigation and accessibility a daunting task for users on smaller devices. Imagine trying to navigate a webpage designed for a computer monitor on the small screen of a smartphone. Frustrating, isn’t it?

We also need to consider that Google gives preference to websites that implement responsive design. This means if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, it’s likely to rank lower on search engines due to bad usability.

Consider this study by Statista (a global data research company) on what devices people use to access the Internet. That study shows that as of the second quarter of 2023, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 58.33% of global website traffic.

So ask yourself — can you afford to ignore half of your prospects just because of your website’s design? Probably not! That’s why it’s so important to keep up with these design trends.

If your website design isn’t responsive, you risk losing over half of your potential customers. By following modern design trends and catering to mobile users, you can significantly boost your business.

Poor navigation

A hard-to-navigate website can frustrate visitors, turning an opportunity into a confusing experience. It’s important to have an intuitive, user-friendly navigation system. Without it, users might struggle to find what they need and leave your site quickly.

Think about it — how long would you stay on a website if you couldn’t find what you were looking for? Most likely, not very long. That’s why ensuring easy navigation is crucial for keeping visitors engaged and moving through your site.

In contrast, a well-designed site improves user experience and increases conversion rates. This highlights the importance of a user-friendly navigation structure for your website.

Slow load times

Did you know that over 40% of users click away from a website due to slow loading times? This means that even with a beautifully designed website, slow load times can still drive away potential customers.

In today’s fast-paced world, people expect websites to load quickly and efficiently. Users will move to another website if you cannot meet these expectations. Websites that need more than 3 seconds to load could be missing out on a lot of opportunities.

Also, page speed influences SEO, with Google considering it as one of the ranking factors. A slow website can lower search engine rankings and directly affect revenue. This is another reason why slow loading speeds are a contributing factor to bad web design.

Outdated content

Outdated content on a website is a red flag for visitors, causing them to question the credibility and reliability of your brand. Imagine visiting a website and finding the latest blog post from years ago. You’d probably wonder whether the business is still active, right?

Updating your website content is an excellent way to keep your audience informed. But beyond that, it also signals search engines that your website is current and relevant. 

Neglecting SEO

A website that’s not correctly optimized for search engines is, by default, poorly designed. This includes missing meta descriptions, poor URL structure, and lacking relevant keywords. Without SEO, your website will struggle to rank on search engines and attract organic traffic.

To maximize the impact of your website, it’s crucial to incorporate SEO strategies into your web design process. This will help improve your website’s visibility, drive more traffic, and increase revenue.

Lack of clear CTA

If your website doesn’t help users achieve their goals, it shows a lack of understanding of their needs and what brought them to your website. 

If your website lacks a clear call-to-action (CTA), users might get confused and frustrated, causing you to lose potential customers. A well-placed CTA can enhance user experience and encourage visitors to take the action you want.

Examples of Bad Website Design

Of course, we can talk about bad website design all day, but it’s always helpful to see what that looks like. So, we’ve compiled a few bad website examples that you can learn from and design mistakes to avoid in the future.


Craigslist website

You may have heard of Craigslist, the popular online marketplace. However, their website design has mostly stayed the same since its inception in 1995. The outdated layout and lack of visual appeal can be a significant turnoff for new users.

Additionally, the website lacks a clear navigation structure. Users need to sift through long lists of categories to find what they are looking for. This can lead to frustration and cause users to look for alternative platforms.


Angelfire website

Another bad website design example is Angelfire. This website looks like it hasn’t been updated since the early 2000s, and that’s because it hasn’t. While the retro vibe may have been trendy at one point, it now comes across as outdated design and unprofessional.

The cluttered layout and excessive use of a neon color scheme can overwhelm users. This makes it difficult for users to navigate and the obsolete design hinders the flow of information throughout the website.


Myspace website

Remember MySpace? While popular in its heyday, the social media platform’s website design was cluttered and unappealing. This is mainly due to its confusing website layout and other poor design flaws.

Indeed, Myspace’s downfall can be largely attributed to its poor website design, especially when compared to more user-friendly competitors like Facebook.


Arngren website

This big ugly website is a perfect example of poor navigation, with no clear menu or organization for users to follow. The website structure is cluttered, overwhelming, and difficult to navigate.

By the time a visitor figures out where to go, they may have already left the site. If there’s a list of the world’s worst websites, then this one-page website design might be pretty up there.

By examining these bad website design examples, it becomes evident how crucial good design is. Even minor issues can lead to significant problems and missed opportunities. 

How to make a well-designed website for your business?

Now, we won’t pretend that designing a website is easy. However, you can create an effective and visually appealing website for your business with the right approach.

In this section, we’ll provide an overview of the design elements necessary for an effective business website. Whether you’re looking to create a new website or revamp an existing one, we offer tips to help you get started.

Define your objectives

Before diving into the world of web design, it’s crucial to take the time to define your business goals clearly. This means outlining what you aim to achieve with your website. Doing so will give you a solid foundation that will guide every step of the design process.

To be clear, we’re not only referring to the visual aspect of a website. Business owners need to look at the overall user experience and functionality. A well-defined set of objectives will help ensure your website aligns perfectly with your business goals.

Know your target audience

To build a website that truly connects with your audience, you need to understand them well. Knowing details like their age, gender, and location can help you make design choices that suit them better.

Choose the right platform 

When choosing a platform for your website, it’s crucial to consider a few key factors. This is important since it’s a decision that impacts your site’s usability, design options, and functionality.

One popular option is WordPress, which is a popular and versatile content management system. They offer a wide range of customizable themes and plugins for just about anything you want to do with your site.

Another option is Wix or Squarespace — user-friendly website builders with drag-and-drop functionality. They also have a variety of pre-designed templates, which is perfect for new users looking for an easy way to make a website.

As a business owner, you must evaluate these options and match them to your needs. Only then can you choose the right platform to make your website and turn your vision into reality.

Keep it simple

When it comes to design, the principle of “less is more” holds true. It is essential to avoid cluttered layouts and avoid excessive use of colors or fonts that overwhelm users.

Now we’re not saying to leave plenty of white spaces on your site design. But rather, focus on a clean and modern design. This will allow you to create a clear hierarchy of information. In turn, users can navigate the website easily and understand the information that your website offers.

Pay attention to SEO

To improve your website’s visibility on search engines, it is crucial to incorporate SEO into your web design process. This involves using relevant keywords and optimizing meta information.

By carefully selecting the right keywords, you can increase your site’s chances of appearing in search results. Additionally, optimizing meta information helps search engines understand the content of your website. This will make it more likely for them to be displayed in relevant search queries.

Of course, these are just the basics, and there are a lot of things that you can do as far as SEO is concerned. Books have been written on that subject alone, and the strategies around it are constantly evolving. Still, it’s essential to get the basics covered and scale your SEO efforts from there.

Focus on user experience

A well-designed website captures attention and provides a seamless user experience. To achieve this, website owners need to focus on intuitive navigation.

But how do you know if your website is intuitive enough? Well, you need to ask yourself — how easy is it for users to find what they need on your website? If it involves more than three steps, consider redesigning your website.

Another factor to consider is loading times, which significantly affects user experience. This means using a good web hosting service and optimizing site elements like images and videos. Doing so will help ensure webpages load within 3 seconds and reduce bounce rates.

In addition, it’s also essential to ensure that all links and buttons on the website are working correctly. The idea is to prevent anything that might frustrate users and have them click away from your site.

Create high-quality and up-to-date content

The content of your website plays a critical role in engaging website visitors and communicating your offers. So, creating quality and helpful content that resonates with your customers is crucial. After all, no customer will take your website seriously if it doesn’t offer anything interesting.

Focus on providing in-depth information, insightful perspectives, and actionable user advice. The idea is to empower site visitors and establish your site as a trusted resource within your industry.

Incorporate clear CTAs

Clear and compelling calls to action are essential for guiding users towards the desired action. By strategically placing these prompts on your site, you encourage visitors to take the next step. This could be anything from buying a product, filling in a contact form, or signing up for a newsletter.

Of course, you’d also want to track the results of your CTAs and tweak them as necessary. A different wording or position may provide better results. But how do you monitor these things?

One option is to set up A/B testing on Google Analytics for different CTAs. There are also tools like Hotjar that use heatmaps to record user activity on your website. All these tools can give you valuable insights into how users engage with your website and identify areas for improvement.

Choosing a Web Design Company: A Solution to Poor Web Design

Designing a website from scratch can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Web design companies simplify this task, using their expertise to create a professional website that meets your business needs.

However, choosing a web design company should not be taken lightly. Consider factors such as their experience, industry reputation, and client testimonials. The goal is to find an agency that understands your business goals while working within your budget.

Well, a good place to start is their portfolio of past projects. This will give you a sense of their creative approach and technical expertise. Many agencies also offer website management and maintenance services, which is ideal for businesses that don’t have the time or resources to handle these tasks.

Remember, choosing the right web design company can have a long-lasting impact on your online presence. By investing time and effort in the selection process, you can create a website that ticks all the boxes for your business.

Elevate Your Online Presence with Boost Web Studio

Do you want an effective, engaging, and profitable website for your business? Boost Web Studio can help turn your vision into reality.

At Boost Web Studio, we understand the power of a well-crafted website. We know that a website is more than just a digital footprint. It’s your online headquarters, brand ambassador, and sales representative rolled into one. That’s why we strive to create websites that not only look good but are also effective from a business sense.

So, are you ready to elevate your online presence? Do you want a website that resonates with your target audience and converts visitors into customers? Take the next step with our affordable website solutions at Boost Web Studio! Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help propel your business to new digital heights.


What is considered a bad website design?

A bad website design can be defined as one that is outdated, cluttered, difficult to navigate, and lacks visual appeal. It may also have slow load times, broken links or images, poor use of color and font choices, and a lack of clear calls-to-action that confuse users.

What are some bad examples of web design?

Some bad examples of web design include websites with a cluttered layout, difficult navigation, and poor use of color and font choices. This also includes technical factors such as slow load times and poor SEO implementations. These things negatively affect user experience and credibility of the business they represent. 

What is an example of a messy website? 

A messy website is one that has a disorganized and cluttered layout. This can be due to overlapping elements, inconsistent fonts and colors, and difficult navigation. It may also have broken links or images, making it challenging for users to find the information they need. 

How do I fix a bad website design? 

To fix a bad website design, it is essential to identify the key issues and prioritize the necessary improvements to make the website effective. This may include updating the layout, improving navigation, and clear calls to action. It can also be helpful to seek professional assistance from a reputable web design agency.

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Kimberly Ortiz

About the Author

Kimberly Ortiz

Kim started her design journey in 2013 as a freelance graphic designer. She continued expanding her skills and started focusing on web design and development. Over the years, she has worked with hundreds of small businesses and nonprofit organizations all over the country. She is passionate about creating designs that are not only visually stunning but also efficient and accessible.

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