17 Ugly Websites and How To Fix Them

Image of Web Designer Fixing a Bad Website

A recent survey by Netcraft stated there are more than 1.8 billion websites on the internet. So many websites, yet the majority of them never see a single visitor. Some of the websites are beautifully crafted and appealing, some are bad and hard to navigate, and others are just plain ugly.

Customers view a website as a basis for how the company will conduct their business. If done right, this could turn targeted audiences into potential customers. An easily navigated website and impressive user interface can result in better revenue and therefore better business.

A good website is clean, concise, easy to navigate, functional, and branded. Some of the best websites are usually the simplest. Many companies add too much, thinking the information will help their audience, when in fact it does the opposite. A good rule to follow and what is shared in this article many times is to keep it simple.

So, if you are building a website, where do you start? A great website design starts with using the best software, professional design programs like Photoshop, a high resolution monitor, and a quality keyboard and mouse. Little things can make a big difference

What is a bad website?

A bad website will be hard to follow, not have a clear objective, and be littered with useless pages that overwhelm the user. The design of the website must follow the design of the business. If a website sells clothing and accessories, the website design should cater to what they sell with beautiful colors and fonts that match the style of the clothing being sold.

If a website is terrible, this negatively impacts a business’s revenue. On average, people stay on a website for less than half a minute. That means companies have around 20 seconds to make an impression on future customers. However, if a person opens a great website, they are more than likely to spend more than 2 minutes on the site. It’s imperative to have an excellent website to keep potential customers engaged and ready to buy.  

Let’s look at a few examples of terrible websites and see what few things they could change that would significantly impact their internet presence, business growth, and overall likability.

Yale School of Art
There is a fine line between artistic and busy, and Yale School of Art leapt over the line and went on a full out run toward busy. So much movement, clutter, and repeatedly loud images make it hard to follow and navigate. The hallway with a scrolling calendar moves too quickly and too robotic to even read.

Example of a Bad Website Design Layout

Yale holds the title of the #1 art school in the nation, and their homepage should reflect that. The creativity and ingenuity of the homepage is artsy, but it leaves the user confused and unsure of how to navigate the site. The website is for potential customers, not for the business or the artists. If Yale removed the hallway backdrop, had the navigational toolbar at the top of the page and kept the homepage simple and neat, the everyday user would not only visit but stay and explore.

MGBD Parts and Services
MGBD Parts and Services sells parts and repairs cars. That’s easy to see with the many, many car pictures bordering the homepage. The bold letters, scrolling text, and different navigation links makes it hard to know where to look. Just like with Yale’s website, this website is too busy and cluttered. The creativity of using the toolbar as a green car with red lettering looks cool but is really hard to read, taking away from the website rather than helping future customers.

Example Website of Website UX Design Practices

A common misconception most companies make is having a busy homepage. MGBD should have 2-3 nice pictures of cars, a statement of what their company does, and how the company can help their customers. Keeping the colors and fonts clean and neat makes it easy to navigate. The car navigation toolbar looks cool, but it needs to go. Moving the toolbar to the top of the page and having only 4-6 headings will keep the site neat and simple.

University of Advancing Technology
University of Advancing Technology is a school that offers a degree on pretty much anything technology-related. The home page is neat, clean, easy to navigate, and lets the user know what the website is about. The design, coloring, and font size make it easy to read and follow. The website easily opens on laptops and smartphones so you can browse no matter what device someone uses.

Example 2019 Web Design Experience for Advancing Technology

So why does this website make it on this list if it is so great? Well, this website has lots and lots of pages. These pages include graphics and videos, and as a result, every page takes awhile to open. This small detail is crucial to not overlook. As mentioned earlier, people only stay on a website for 20 seconds, those few precious seconds loading a website can determine if someone will attend this university or not.

Paradise With a View
Paradise With a View is a vacation rental property for those looking to get away and relax. However, the website lacks the serene vibe most people think of when searching for paradise. The black background with neon font does not appeal to the relaxed vacationer. And the hot pink wording that follows the mouse like a tail has got to go.

Example of Outdated Website Design Template

When thinking of views of paradise, sandy white beaches and blue-green oceans come to mind. This should be the focus behind the website. A light blue backdrop with neat black font and a few professional pictures of the views should grace the home page. They rent 3 condos named VRBO 83193. Giving them a specific name instead of random numbers and letters makes it easy for users to know which one to rent.

Where 2 Eat
The previous websites were very busy and hard to navigate. Where 2 Eat went the other direction. They are still building their website and in the meantime, offer a lack of information. This can harm a business, especially one just getting started. If a company is working on their website, having a simple homepage with important information about the company and how they can help their customers is a must. Never have a website that says it’s being fixed. At least have a simple landing page for your customers.

Restaurant Website with Bad UX Web Design Problems

With this website, making sure to state what they can offer their customers needs to be on the homepage. Neat text, beautiful coloring, and easy to navigate toolbar means an excellent website. Every page should be branded to let the customers know exactly what the website offers. With this website sharing restaurants in San Diego, it can be easy to add too much and overwhelm the user’s experience. If unsure of what to do, just keep it simple.  

Gates N Fences
Gates N Fences specializes in personalized aluminum or wrought iron gates and fences. This company seems knowledgeable and knows what it takes to make a gate or fence. Their expertise is not questioned in their website because they offer you a textbook of their industry, descriptions of the different gates they offer, and the reasons why someone should choose aluminum fencing over the other brands out there. If that doesn’t answer everyone’s questions, they have a toolbar on the side of the webpage listing every type of fencing, parts, techniques, appliances they use in the process.

Image of Bad User Experience Website Template Built for a Local Business

Lots of good information, right? Wrong. Too much information will do the opposite and drive the user away from the webpage. A website needs to be a fun experience for the user, and textbooks does not sound like fun for the majority of people. The homepage also looks busy with small font littering the page. The homepage should have 2-3 professional pictures of gates and fences, a statement of what they offer,  a Call To Action button, and 4-6 navigational links to keep it neat, keep it simple, keep it easy to read and easy to follow.

Industrial Painter
Industrial Painter is a nationwide painting company geared toward industrial and commercial painting contractors. This company paints for other companies. As a result, many businesses think since they are dealing with other companies they can overwhelm them with information. Selling business to business does not negate the rules when selling business to customer. Keeping the website clean and concise is still important, even for B2B.

Image of Poorly Designed Website for Local Painter

This website is full of information, a side toolbar, and though the website lists a bunch of information, it’s unclear what exactly they sell. The biggest change this website needs to make is adding a Call To Action button. Every successful business has a Call To Action button on every page of their website, and it should be big and bold so no one can miss it. Adding a Buy Now button or a Click Here to set up an appointment gets the user ready to do business.

007 Museum
The iconic character, James Bond, has a place in many people’s hearts. James Bond Gunnar Schafer legally changed his name to embody the persona completely, even having his license plate read JB007. With his love for all things Bond, he started the 007 Museum in Sweden. As much as the movies are revered and loved, the website, not so much.

Example of a Poor UX Built Website Home Page

The website is one long, long, long page. There are no navigation tools to make it easy to follow, and there doesn’t seem to be any clear or concise information when scrolling through the page. Audio automatically plays and the first few seconds is two separate audio clips playing at the same time, making it hard to listen. Cleaning up the website, having separate web pages to keep the information concise and easy to navigate, and giving the user the option to listen to the audio will improve the website tremendously.

Water Equipment Technology
The Water Equipment Technology, or Water Group, has beautiful backgrounds of water, grass, and the great outdoors. But the beautiful pictures make the website look busy and the wording hard to read. There are a lot of webpages with an extensive navigation toolbar, making it look cluttered and messy. As pretty as the pictures are, it is difficult to know what, exactly, the water equipment technology company does.

Example of Bad Website Home Page

There are pictures of lakes and ponds and sprinklers, but nothing about the purpose or how this company benefits others. The first thing this website needs to do is take away the hard to read backdrop and pictures. The home page should have a clear description of what the website does and how the business helps their customers. The website needs to add a Call To Action button, and a statement of what exactly does this company sell and how can the customers buy it.

Space Jam
The beloved movie, Space Jam, not only added notoriety to Michael Jordan, but connected the wonder of basketball with the comedic relief of Looney Tunes. With talk of a second Space Jam hitting theaters, many are rewatching the original. This website is a great way to get a look behind the scenes, play games, and buy original souvenirs.

Old and Dated Website for Movie in 2019

But as great as the movie is, the website disappoints. The navigation is small and hard to see. The background is black with white stars giving you the feel of being in space. This fits the Space Jam theme but makes it hard to read. The pictures and behind the scenes are small and hard to see as well. Though fun to look at, this website is hard to navigate.

Pacific Northwest X-Ray Inc
The Pacific Northwest X-Ray Inc is a one stop shop for anything needed for x-rays. This company works well for medical facilities needing x-ray materials, including portable machines. But as great as this company is for medical facilities, the website can be difficult to navigate. The website is very clean but there is a lot of text for users to buy specific x-ray materials.

Example Photo of Ugly Website Template for Pacific Company

If someone doesn’t know what to look for, this website can be difficult to read. The overwhelming texts and links makes users have to search for their buying needs. Remember, the Buy Now button should be easy for all users to click. Having an easy to buy experience will help Pacific grow their business.

MIT Center for Visual Studies
Many businesses want to stand out by doing new things with their websites. But sometimes, this causes more confusion and headache for the users. MIT Center for Visual Studies promotes visual studies, but the visual of their website detracts from their message. The fonts moves when scrolling the website, making it hard to read.

Poorly Built Web 2019 Home Page for MIT School

Based on the website, it is hard to say what MIT does. There is no Call To Action button, no description of what they offer their customers, or why the customers should buy what they are selling. This website needs a clean and concise homepage, as well as easy to read font and clear coloring. A photo gallery link works best for the creative freedom for visual studies. Users will go there to see the ingenuity and innovative arts MIT offers, so it doesn’t have to be on the homepage.

In looking at the DR+R website, one would not really know what the company actually does. They do something regarding music and art but it’s hard to say what specifically. The website has beautiful pictures of people standing in music halls, outdoor amphitheaters, historical museums, and taxi cabs?

Poor Website UX Design for Buildlings

This website needs an entire overhaul. Redo the homepage to be clear and concise, using only a few pictures and stating what the company does and how the company can help their customers. A clear Call To Action button needs to be on every page. And clear navigational tools for the user gives DR+R the opportunity to add what they want to the website without overwhelming their clients.

USA Today
Journalism continues to move away from newspapers and toward the internet. Now more than ever, news-based industries need to be user friendly. Websites need to be clean, concise, and branded. USA Today, a leader in news, has a cluttered website. Too much information, too many stories on the homepage, leaves the site slow to load and hard to navigate.

2019 Bad Website Design for New USA Today Home Page

One way for USA Today to have a top of the line website is to clean up the homepage. Only the top 4-5 news stories should stay on the home page, the other stories can be on the other pages within the website. The ads take up lots of space and lots of time loading so limiting the amount will help. Keeping the website clean and simple means a better user experience.

Dom Perignon
Nothing says celebration more than chilled champagne. And when thinking of high quality champagne, one thinks of Dom Perignon. So it is expected of this high caliber company to have a high caliber website. Though Dom Perignon has great champagne, it does not have a great website. The website has beautiful pictures and celebrity endorsements, but where many websites have too much information, Dom Perignon doesn’t have enough. At first glance, this looks like the user stumbled upon a music gallery.

Poor Template for Dom Alcohol Website

Remember, the whole purpose of a website is to make is easy for potential customers. This website has the user clicking on a lot of links and tools to get basic information, making it hard to navigate. Also, there is no Buy Now button. Most people searching this website are wanting to buy champagne, yet finding a way to buy the product is nonexistent. Buying alcohol online is no easy task, but finding stores that sell the product should be easy.

When stumbling on this website, the user has a fun time adding to the green glade, making a soundtrack of random noises, and designing a wallpaper of various shapes and colors. Totally fun to do and an interesting way to make the website fun. However, it misses the point of what the website sells.

Photo of Bad Website Template with Ugly Colors

This is a website about 5 eateries in London, or at least that’s what people surmise given the convoluted website. The home page has 5 moving shapes of different colors to click on. After clicking on 1, the website has a fun interactive game to play, but again nothing about the actual point of the website. A better website would be one that had a homepage stating specifically what the company sells and how it can help their customers. Each restaurant can have its own webpage where the interactive game can be for the user if they so like. Remember, keep it simple so the user doesn’t have to think too hard about buying your product.

Same Day Surgery
No website should be under construction. It is a bad sign for business. It doesn’t take a lot of work to have a simple, one page information site that states specifically what the company does and how it helps their customers. Building an elaborate website takes time, but giving simple information that tells the customer exactly which steps to take is imperative for business.

Image of Bad Website Under Construction

Same Day Surgery has a simple layout with an easy to navigate toolbar. However, it’s under construction. The home page needs only a professional picture, easy to read information about the company and a Call To Action button to help the user navigate the website. This needs to be done quickly as this company is losing valuable business.

All these businesses are probably great and make sure to have customer satisfaction. But with a major focus on their website, they can offer their customers so much more which in turn will enhance their revenue.

Keeping a website simple, clean, and concise goes a long way for the user to enjoy their experience. Stating clearly what the company does, how their product can enhance the lives of their customers, and giving a clear call to action on the homepage answers all the questions a customer might have and gives them the push they need to buy your product. Make it easy on the customer by keeping it simple.

What websites have you visited that were tough for you to navigate? Share below in the comments.

Ben Wright
Ben is the Founder and CEO of Today's Local Media. He founded the company in 2012 after he saw a need in the marketplace for a more personalized delivery of marketing services with a focus on customer service.

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