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Bad Websites: 8 Examples of Cringe-Worthy Web Design

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What can we learn about good web design from bad websites? What not to do! Check out these cringe-worthy examples so you know what to avoid.

Right now the number of users actively online is at 4.1 billion. That number is set to explode by double-digit percentage growth in the next half-decade.

Therein lies the importance of having an awesome website. It lets customers feel confident about doing business with you. It lets colleagues respect your professionalism. It makes friends think that you’re doing well in life.

While we have a lot of blog posts filled with tips on how you can make stellar looking blogs and websites, in this article we will take a slightly different approach to educating you.

Here, we will look at 8 examples of astonishingly bad websites, discuss where they went wrong and learn from their mistakes!

  1. Suzanne Collins Books

Do you like The Hunger Games series? We certainly do.

Given the popularity of Suzanne Collins’ franchise, you would think that she would invest in having a more professional online presence by hiring a professional development firm like SmashStack. Maybe she thinks she has nothing to prove anymore?

We can only speculate.

What we know for sure though is that this website’s overuse of white space, odd center-floated photograph at the top of the page and a right-justified menu all conspire together among many other things to make this bad website one to forget.

  1. Yale School of Art

Yale is one of the most prestigious schools in the country boasting ultra-low acceptance rates and prestigious alumni. If any of those prestigious alumni are web developers, they might want to donate their services to the school’s art wing.

Immediately when you go to the page you see a bright yellow tiled background which jars users rather than welcoming them in. Then, to contrast the bright background, we get grey boxes with erratically formatted text that make you feel like you’re on a scam site rather than on the Yale page you were searching for.

Rest assured this is a real Yale website.

  1. Waking People up With Truth

We get it. Conspiracy websites aren’t supposed to be good. They’re supposed to be as nutty as their creators.

Why is that though!?

You’d think that if a conspiracy theorist were trying to get somebody to buy into what they’re saying, they’d want to present it a little more credibly.

Maybe conventional taste in design is a conspiracy this website is trying to bust…

Whether or not that’s true, all our small minds can do is jump to the conclusion that from its bad background to its website description that you need a magnifying glass to read at the top of the page, Waking People up With Truth is definitely among the top bad websites.

  1. Head Hunter Hair Styling

We’ll admit, this website is not all that bad. It has a nice full-screen video in its banner position, a clear menu at the top of the page… it definitely checks some boxes.

The reason why we’ve flagged it among our bad websites is because of its simple yet important miss on color.

The use of blue at the top of the page invokes feelings not of style but of something more generic or unrelated like a beach.

This website would benefit big time by recoloring its menu section with something darker. That darker palette would make the site feel more sophisticated and on-brand with a hair styling organization.

  1. Electrifying Times

Electrifying times is a website that’s supposed to be all about the latest and greatest in electric cars. Unfortunately, it looks like a website from the early 2000’s advertising a local carnival.

Not only is the site non-responsive, it also uses animations to draw people’s attention to new articles and ultimately does ZERO to inspire confidence in consumers that this is a credible source when it comes to electric vehicles.

  1. Irish Wrecks Online

Have you ever wanted to find a website dedicated to telling you about Irish shipwrecks? We didn’t think so.

As it turns out, the more niche your topic of interest is, the worst the websites you find providing the information you need get.

While this site almost qualifies as a passable minimalist motif, it loses the chance of being acceptable thanks to its textured background and the fact that you have to click on a picture of a ship to enter the actual site.

Only bad websites make you solve puzzles to access their contents.

  1. ARNGREN.net

Here’s a bad website for the history books. Never have we seen a site overwhelm users with TMI more than this site does.

Explaining where this site went wrong seems pointless. Just navigate to it and prepare to go cross-eyed.

  1. Internet Archaeology

This is one of the only bad websites that have given us nightmares. We’re thinking that the site’s intent is to be unwelcoming, confusing, and then (if you dare enter the purple door) unbearable.

Still, whether its intent was to be bad or not, there’s no denying that the site’s alienating use of animation does more to scare users away than it does to welcome anybody in.

Wrapping Up 8 Cringe-Worthy Bad Websites

Having a good website is a must in today’s digital-focused age. Still, bad websites do serve an important role online…

They educate you on what not to do with your site.

In order to get started creating an excellent blog or website, we recommend going through our list of sites above and taking note of what it is they did wrong. While we took a light tone in our approach to critiquing these sites, be sure to really pay attention to the feelings the site’s we’ve mentioned leave you with.

Did they leave you feeling like the webmaster was unprofessional? Did they leave you feeling overwhelmed?

It’s those feelings that you should look to avoid with the design aesthetics you lean on during the creation of your site!

For more of the best and most entertaining blogging tips on the web, check out more of our content on BloggingTips.com!

Hi, my name is Kristel and I'm a contributing content creator at Marketing Infographics. My job is to find the best infographics from industry experts, while also make sure they get coverage through social media. Contact me with your favorite infographics!

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Why Do You Resist Writing eBooks?

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Writing and self-publishing eBooks scares bloggers.

I piddled in my eBook writing pants until 2012. People told me I should write ’em. I looked for every reason in the eBook NOT to write eBooks. Nobody would listen. Nobody would buy. Nobody would care.

Turns out, people listen, buy and care enough to publish 5 star reviews for my eBooks. Look at the featured image for this blog post describing this eBook:

7 Tips for Writing Successful eBooks Quickly

I locked down five, 5 star reviews because I taught my readers how to write successful eBooks fast. But years prior, fear clouded my mind concerning writing eBooks to the point of me refusing to write one. You may be in the same cyber boat; but you better not miss the eBook writing boat. Lucrative profits serve as one part of the picture. Digging deeper, writing eBooks brands you, distancing you from the herd. Plus you feel good writing short reads and gain trust and extra credibility in the eyes of readers.

Why Do You Resist Writing eBooks?

Fear is the core reason. Fear of failure, criticism or wasting time sit near the top of eBook-related fears. I did not know how to sit down and write the darn things. Fear arose in my mind; how would I do it? Who would teach me? Could I find the process? Would I need special editors? How could I learn the technical steps for conceiving an idea to shipping the eBook on Amazon? Tech stuff really scared me; I had no idea how to save Word files with different, web-based extensions, let alone creating covers with proper dimensions via Canva to meet Amazon’s diligent standards.

From my trip to Oman.

Rather than learn how to do these things I allowed fear to get the better of me, refusing to write eBooks. But during a trip to India I met a reader and friend who begged me to write eBooks for a while. He had been on me for a minute. Meeting in person, he finally convinced me to write and self-publish an eBook on a lesser known digital platform. Later, I went with Amazon, and never looked back.

I had to dive into and nudge through deep fears related to failing and being criticized because I believed nobody would buy what I offered in eBook form. As my friend convinced me, I waded through ideas like wasting my time, getting terrible reviews and promoting my eBook to the tune of zero sales. Did it feel good to embrace these fears? Heck no. But the benefits of self-publishing far outweighed a few unpleasant emotions experienced during these fear-feeling sessions.

Nothing to Lose Everything to Gain

Gain by writing eBooks; if you take experience with you, loss is impossible. Even if you sold not a copy you take valuable writing, marketing and selling experience with you any time you write and launch an eBook. But if you generously help people and make friends, you will sell eBooks and help more people, reflecting gain back to you in physical form.

Digging even deeper, facing and releasing fears associated with criticism and failure benefit you across the board with your blogging campaign. Apply that same fearless nature to other aspects of your blog to boost your blog traffic and profits.

Write and ship.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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1 Tip for Being an Intelligent and Prospering Blogger

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My eBook: 10 Tips to Be a Smarter and Richer Blogger

possesses an interesting cover for anyone not familiar with my eBooks.

For anyone familiar with my 100 plus eBooks, my cover is par for the course. Every single one of my eBook covers has been personally snapped by me. Images of paradise preserved by yours truly fit my brand, blog and eBook covers perfectly. Blogging From Paradise means retiring to a life of island hopping through smart blogging. Sometimes I visit islands. Sometimes I visit mainland spots. In all cases, my eBooks and courses – as well as my blog – bleed travel images because this approach fits my brand and is unheard of in the blogging tips niche.

I totally respect any blogging tips blogger who posts featured images for their blogs and eBook covers consistent with content titles. Imagine a light bulb and dollar sign for the above eBook cover, for starters. But I went with a photo I snapped in gorgeous Rawai Bay in Phuket, Thailand for my cover image. Why? Nobody else on earth uses their travel photos as eBook covers and featured post images in the blogging tips niche. If nobody else does it and the move completely aligns with my brand message, this is the starting point for being an intelligent and prospering blogger.

Smart and Prospering Means Different

Every successful blogger I follow sticks to basic fundamentals but deviates from the norm in some regards. Different means bigger bucks and smarter prospering because readers notice that different flavor stepping away from normal. Folks enjoy my covers and blog post images, even though the content and eBook title technically have nothing to do with travel images. Guess what? Adding my brand logo aligns the eBook cover with my blog and brand. People clearly see I am about blogging from paradise. Why not add travel images to each eBook cover?

From my trip to Oman.

I follow a high number of basic blogging rules; create value, build connections, be generous and have fun. But if you do EVERYTHING just like most bloggers, you get lost in the herd. Nothing makes you stand out if you do not choose to stand out with at least one element of your blogging campaign. I stood out with eye-popping eBook images I snapped myself, in a blogging tips niche. How do you stand out? Ask yourself the question. Be straight with yourself to answer.

Bigger Profits from a Smarter Energy by Being Different

Cindy Crawford kept her mole. Muscle Man Arnold kept his accent. Steve Jobs made computers and peripherals outrageously expensive and designed quite weirdly compared to other computers and peripherals. Guess what? Crawford, Arnold and Jobs are legends who we won’t forget for a long time. Different makes you a serious fortune because people notice folks who stand out in some way, shape or form. This different approach bleeds intelligence; why work your butt off if you look just like the next guy and offer a mimicking service?

But Make Sure You Follow Some Fundamentals

Steve Jobs did not attempt to make computers out of cardboard. Arnold did not try to speak German in Hollywood movies. Cindy Crawford did not try to rewrite the foundations of modeling by wearing a fake beard of photo shoots. All icons followed basic rules for their industries because being too far out in left field usually makes you forgettable, or, impossible to spot. Follow blogging fundamentals to stay in the game but find that one thing that distances you from the herd.

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Why Should You Help Other Bloggers Succeed?

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If you build it AND if you help other bloggers build it, then they will come.

We have all seen the famous line from Field of Dreams rehashed many times, regarding blogging. Building a blog solo ain’t good enough. Platitudes of content being king and networking queen get bandied about, and I do not disagree.

But I wanted to put a spin on the line; if you build your blog and help other bloggers build their blogs, THEN people will visit your blog, hire you, buy your stuff and endorse you.

A few moments ago, my friend and power house blogger Julie Syl Kalungi tagged me on Facebook with kind words.  She mentioned a common mistake we both see often; bloggers pitch us content with nothing else to show for the pitch, other than mediocre or OK content from an unknown blogger. If it were that easy to get featured on Blogging From Paradise or on Julie’s blog, we would both place 5 to 10 to 20 guest posts daily, or a helluva lot more.

Of course, landing features on established blogs is not easy at all. But struggling, failing bloggers mistakenly believe it *is* as easy as tempting pros with a helpful post, or some other lukewarm incentive, and wonder why they never get featured on top blogs. Plus bloggers do the silly thing of offering a $1 or $3 bulk discount for 25 posts. Having a poverty consciousness makes you do silly things.

Anyway, these strategies NEVER work because the pitching bloggers are trying to build it – aka their blogs – before building other blogger’s blogs. Build your blog and other blogger’s blogs. Grow your friend network. Be genuine. Be generous. Help. Expect nothing. Ask for nothing. As you help other bloggers succeed and improve your writing skills, something neat happens; you befriend a bunch of skilled bloggers who boost your traffic and profits through endorsements, promotions, by buying your stuff and by hiring you.

From my trip to Oman.

This is why you should help other bloggers succeed. Make friends. Profit. 100 is better than 1.

100 Is Better than 1

I learned years ago the efforts of 100 blogging buddies beats my individual efforts. I am not super connected to 100 plus blogging buddies, but at least that many folks promote me or endorse me routinely across a wide range of channels. Imagine how much 100 bloggers can expand your reach, compared to your individual, singular efforts?

Why do 100 plus bloggers help me out? I have helped thousands of bloggers grow their traffic and profits over a decade online by commenting genuinely on their blogs, by promoting them on social media, by endorsing them, by promoting them on my blog, by inviting them to guest post on my blog and by guest posting for them.

I benefit too, of course. This marks my 6th guest post of the day. As I promote my 71% blogging course discount (use the discount code in the first paragraph) across a slew of these guest posts I gain profit potential and boost my blog traffic too. But I also drive free, passive traffic through each guest post. My 3 blogging buddies living in India who I guest post for wake up to free, passive traffic. I help them succeed. My blogging buddies help me succeed by giving me platforms for reaching their readers.

Do you see why building it and helping other bloggers build it makes you incredibly successful over the long term?

Julie became a wildly successful blogger by generously helping other top bloggers succeed. Now, her blogger friend network expands her reach far and wide.

Give What You Want

Do you want money? Help other bloggers make money. Promote them on your blog. Link to them. Buy and review their eBooks. The number of friends you make by being generous will astound you. As this loyal tribe grows in size and scope, and helps you make more and more money, you will be even more astounded.

Blogger Outreach Resource

Are you looking for bloggers to help? Buy my eBook:

27 Influential Bloggers to Follow

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