How to Make a Truly Horrible Website

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Good design, CSS, and web standards?

Don't worry about that.

They are unnecessary extra steps that take up extra time, when you could be doing other things?

Simply follow these steps, and you'll be on your way to creating a fantastic website like the talented web designers at MySpace and the former GeoCities?

Use Tons Of Flash

Or better yet, use only Flash. What's the point of it existing if we're not going to use it, right? Don't worry about people who don't have it installed. If you don't have Flash installed, you really need to get with the times.

Tell Your Users to "Click Here"

Telling users to "Click Here" has been proven to get more clicks. But be careful, because you only want them to click to your own site. You don't want your users to ever leave your site, do you?

Click Here

Mix Up the Fonts

Plenty of variety is good for a site. A bit of Helvetica here, some Comic Sans there, and we're on our way to a killer design! It just needs a bit of Papyrus, with that and Comic Sans embedded with @font-face, to please the poor souls who happen to not have those fonts installed.

Make Your Content Unreadable

Use yellow text on a white background for your main content, font sizes as small as you can get, and a crazy combination of fonts. And don't forget ALL CAPS, because the fact that the letters are all the same height can help to reduce your site's readability even more.

Disable Right-Clicking

You don't want anyone to hotlink and pretty much steal your images from you, right? Do your visitors a big favour and keep them out of trouble in the future by disabling right-clicking, so that they can't get the image URLs to steal.

Just remember to make sure that you include an annoying dialogue box pop up every time they right-click, to be sure to train them to never do that again.

Don't Use Whitespace

Why waste extra space? Users hate having to scroll down, and by eliminating all whitespace, you can pack all of your information above the fold.

HavenWorks, one of the greatest news sources in the world, seems to get this one right.

Hide the Navigation

Hide your page's navigation, to make them frustrated. In that frustration, they will take more time to try to read your unreadable content, and will actually spend some time trying to decipher what you're trying to say. Of course for that to happen, you'll need to follow the above tip to make your content absolutely unreadable.

Avoid Consistency

Keep your users guessing. I guarantee that they will find it fun to have to find the navigation bar over and over again on each page. It's like an easter egg hunt!

Write For Search Engines

Be sure to fill up your content with tons of keywords, even to the point where it is useless. After all, what is the point of having good content for your users if nobody can even find your site?

Animate Everything

If something on your page isn't moving, it probably isn't that important, is it? Having tons of animations, from marquees to GIFs of mice waving their hand to you will make your site more fun, which will greatly help your site appeal more to the "younger crowd".

Take Some Time To Load

Stuff your site up with tons of Flash, Javascript and images, simply to make the page load faster. Trust me, when I've been waiting a very long time for a site to load, I always appreciate the site even more after having waited.

Plus, waiting for a site to load even gives me some time to play a few games while waiting.

Show Off All Of Your Awards

Don't have any awards? Don't worry, just make them up. Nobody will know.

Make sure to include awards that are actually believable, such as "Bob's Website Of the Week", "Best Design 1995", not something like "#1 Ranked Website, Even Higher Than Google".

Make Your Site Available Only In Internet Explorer

We all love our favourite browser, Internet Explorer so much that we should force the crazy users of other browsers to see why IE is so awesome. Even better, force them to use version 6 or earlier, to give our users that nice "retro" feel.

You can see that it is quite easy to make a good website, but it takes some actual work to make a bad one. Do you have any more tips on making bad websites? Be sure to leave your response in the comments.

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39 Comments

  1. Alejandro
    January 27, 2010

    Great! I follow you since some few days (via rss) and I like very much your posts. I learn a lot with them.
    Thanks.
    Alejandro (France)

    • January 27, 2010

      Thanks for subscribing! I hope you enjoy what there'll be in the future.

  2. January 27, 2010

    Sad, but very true. All these are results of not developing a Web site with visitors in mind. If you want someone to visit your site it had better appeal to them, that's not going to happen if you have to use I.E.! Nice article.

  3. January 27, 2010

    All terrific points. This is a great list post for sure. I'll keep it as a reference as I'm learning web design. :)

  4. Cyndi in BC
    January 27, 2010

    Don't forget the music player set to maximum volume. :) My pet peeve.

    • January 27, 2010

      Haha. Don't forget to remove the "pause" button, either!

  5. January 28, 2010

    Not seeing the point to the first one... where is it told that flash makes truly horrible websites ?..
    Misused flash yes, but full flash websites are usually greater and prettier than any of the internet's website... (and the http://www.thefwa.com/ are here to prove it !... is there any css/web standards awards as widely known as the FWA ?... Nope ^^)
    That said, nice post, especially the animating part !...

    • January 28, 2010

      Yeah, I mainly meant that Flash is bad when it's overused. I'm not a huge fan of Flash, but there are some sites that make good use of it.

  6. mephjeff
    January 28, 2010

    Loved this.

  7. January 28, 2010

    Vow, HavenWorks is seriously sick. That's why I prefer a CMS over softwares like frontpage(it really sucks).
    btw, this is surely a good list of bad points. lol

    • January 28, 2010

      Yep. A lot of bad websites are made with WYSIWYG editors like FrontPage. Especially the older versions, who don't bother to update their sites with new versions.

  8. Amanda
    January 28, 2010

    OMG! That Haven site is the fugliest website I have ever seen. That must be the pinnacle of hideous

  9. January 28, 2010

    I'm not sure if this comes under the banner of bad web design, or just incredibly bad marketing. I hate those sites that take forever to load, and no sooner have the loaded then everything goes dark and a dialog box appears in front of me asking me to subscribe to some bloody thing. What do they call those things? A "light box"?

    A sure-fire way to get me to close that Chrome tab and never go back.

    • January 28, 2010

      I also find it annoying when a site, or parts of a site like the lightbox that you mentioned take forever to load.

  10. January 28, 2010

    Great list for someone just starting out.

    I remember a few years ago when my first ever website had so much going on in it. Looking at it now i wonder to myself what the hell i was thinking.haha.

  11. January 28, 2010

    You mentioned Flash, which is GREAT for bad websites, but there should also be flashING. Nothing says terrible website like "bling" that is flashing like a strobe light. The site visitors with epilepsy especially appreciate these sites. There's nothing like looking up something and having a seizure because of the *awesome* "bling".

    • January 28, 2010

      Exactly. All that extra flashing stuff can really ruin a site's design.

  12. January 28, 2010

    ooh GOD, what amazing hints, I'll add some to my website! :D woow! .... *mmhm 8-)*

  13. January 28, 2010

    I like the points....ha ha ha ha !

  14. January 28, 2010

    :D Great tips thanks!!!

    I wrote a very similar post in April '09. Maybe we can add your tips and mine together and we'll come up with something truly eye-popping!

    http://www.website-and-graphic-design.com/how-to-build-an-ugly-website-in-7-easy-steps/2009/04/04/

    • January 28, 2010

      Haha! Those are some excellent points there as well!

      If you're interested in guest posting, or collaborating on something, feel free to send me an email and we can discuss it.

  15. January 29, 2010

    Just one addition: mix normal text with italic text. It can add that "je ne sais quoi" to any web page...

  16. evy
    January 30, 2010

    excellent et tellement vrai! trop de sites de mauvais gout sur le net.. et ce qui m'eneeeeeeeeeeerve vraiment c'est la musique sur un site (le truc qui se repete bien en plus) Du style le soir on ne veut pas faire de bruitt on s'installe tranquille sur son ordi et on tombe sur un site avec de la musique!!!haaa trop tard pour le bruit!!

  17. February 4, 2010

    Congratulations on your list.
    But I disagree on your comments about Flash and WYSIWYG editors. Both tools have contributed to the development and creation of multimedia design. It is clear that WYSIWYG editors are the tools par excellence for the introduction to develop code in HTML (I like you I started with FrontPage, and many started insurance) and do not disapprove of its use to any aspiring designer, would be like if disapproved the use of Photoshop for print design and recommend them to do it by hand.
    Flash is the precedent for the development of animation applied to the design, still to this day is an indispensable tool for creating dynamic content for creative and professional website.
    Really discard these two tools is to go back twenty years ago when only working on a code base.
    One thing is that you do not like them and quite another to give the actual size occupied by these two tools in the world (real and virtual).
    Congratulations.

    P. D. Excuse my English
    ----------------------------------------

    Te felicito por tu listado.
    Pero no estoy de acuerdo en tus comentarios acerca de flash y los editores wysiwig. Ambas herramientas han contribuido al desarrollo y creación del diseño multimedia. Cabe aclarar que los editores wysiwig son las herramientas por excelencia para la introducción a desarrollar código en HTML (yo al igual que tu empece con Frontpage, como de seguro empezaron muchos) y no desapruebo su uso a ningún aspirante a diseñador, vendría a ser como si desaprobara el uso de PhotoShop para realizar diseño impreso y les recomendara que lo hicieran a mano.
    Flash que es el precedente del desarrollo de la animación aplicada al diseño, todavía hasta el día de hoy es una herramienta indispensable para creación de contenido dinámico, creativo y profesional para la web.
    Realmente desechar estas dos herramientas es regresar veinte años atrás cuando únicamente se trabajaba en base a código.
    Una cosa es que no te parezcan y otra muy diferente es darles la dimensión real que ocupan estas dos herramientas en el mundo (real y virtual).
    Felicitaciones.

    P. D. Disculpa mi ingles

  18. February 5, 2010

    HAHAHA!!
    This is HILARIOUS!!!
    At first I wasnt really reading the topic (you know how sometimes you read things through but it doesnt really get in ur mind?!)
    Then as I read on to the first few points, I was like, what the h*ck, what kind of perspectives are these?!
    Then I finally realize what you were trying to say, and so I finally laughed my head off! =P

  19. gus
    February 20, 2010

    And do not forget to display 1 or more videos simultaneously, and a radio if possible, to make it more interesting .... Visitors will love to wait a few minutes until your site is opened while eating lunch ...

  20. gus
    February 20, 2010

    And do not forget to put a very light gray color to your text, with a white background, so that visitors stay longer on your site trying to read them.

  21. gus
    February 20, 2010

    Remember the images should be 300 dpi or more, to create a greater expectation as they are slowly displayed. Your visitors will be happy to see such clear images on your site. Do not use jpg images, but bmp to make them look even more neatly.

  22. FILL
    February 28, 2010

    THANKS, LOVE THE POST. BTW- YOU MIGHT CONSIDER USING ALL CAPS TO HELP BOOST YOUR SEO AND DRAW ATTENTION TO IMPORTANT FACTS. TAKE CARE.

    • February 28, 2010

      HA HA. THAT'S ANOTHER GREAT WAY TO MAKE A HORRIBLE WEBSITE!

  23. theHuston
    March 1, 2010

    Yeah, funny how the people who suck at flash hate it.

    My flash rounded corners still work in Opera.

    Jus sayin.

    http://browsershots.org/http://fwebde.com/web-design/make-truly-horrible-website/

  24. Allan
    March 6, 2010

    Love the list! I have recently found an amazing html tag! It is like the most amazing tag ever! It gives you the impression that it's a news ticker or perhaps a stock ticker. They call it...

    All the cool websites of '98 are using it. Get with the times!

  25. September 10, 2010

    Is there a demo somewhere?

  26. October 5, 2010

    Good examples. Lack of whitespace drives me nuts! Along with overused flash.

    If you keep your target user in mind, space things out, use design elements to enhance usability and make the page fast loading.....your off to a good start.

  27. October 25, 2010

    Great post - you had me rolling on the ground laughing! Love this fresh new take on how to design a horrible website - very creative and comical!

  28. July 15, 2011

    Very good posts...realy good information and clever how its put across, so people who may not be that experienced in web design can understand....thanks!!

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