8 Bad Website Design Mistakes Every Beginner Makes

by David Utke | Last Updated: September 15, 2021

Back around 2010, TheInfoprenur.net was once an up and coming player in the world of blogging but quickly fell apart once the original owner sold the site to a man more committed to making a quick buck than maintaining a thriving community.

Brandon, the guy who took over theinfopreneur.net just wanted to make money from blogging.  In his pursuit of online wealth he simply destroyed the structures the previous owner (James) built. Structures like the design, branding, reputation, publishing consistency, free content from guest authors, already made products, and an email list.

In this guide, I’ll warn you how bad website design will ruin the user experience of your website and hamper it’s ability to build trust. Below is theinfoprenur.net before and after:

Here’s how you can quickly ruin any website with poor UX and design:

How to be a successful blogger and content marketer

Commit yourself to the burden of doing an amazing job by spending the time required to actually do an amazing job on your project you will eventually discover what is involved to do as such. Only then will you get disproportionate results.

When anyone starts a blog or vlog, you’re simply not able to create amazing work because you don’t know how. It takes time, effort and consistency over a long period of time to learn and understand how to create helpful content people like.

You have to commit yourself to producing amazing work. This means going through the process of creating mediocre content and slowly learning and applying what works.

How to do create amazing blog posts

I used to own and operate a dating blog where I would publish content of about 700 words every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The results were mediocre. My traffic was flat lined and no matter what I did I could not grow my traffic and thus the amount of money that website made.

I thought I needed some super secret link building technique that only the pros knew.

In reality, ordinary work gets ordinary results.

Frustrated by the monotony of this, I decided instead to stop posting 3 times a week and instead focus more of that time by putting in over 8 hours into writing a post called “how to tell if a guy likes you.” A keyword phrase that is searched for over 100,000 times a month.

Then once that blog post was published, I then spent additional time promoting that single post instead of posting shot blog posts. I made sure the website had good internal links and leveraged social media.

The end result is that single blog post eventually got into the top 5 for that specific search term. Driving lot’s of traffic and money via affiliate commissions for a product I was promoting.

More effort leads to better results

This is not easy to do. Getting disproportionate results is challenging because our tendency is to do the minimum required. Bloggers and YouTuers also like to spread themselves thin across 50 different activities when instead they should be doing more of what works.

Sometimes to obtain the success you want, just keep going and don’t stop. Learn and improve and when you find something that works, do more of it. Its that simple and it’s all Brandon had to do with the InfoPrenur.net

How you can stand out with your blog

The simplest answer is to do what other in your industry are not doing while innately understanding your unique selling point.

In other words, how can you give more? Be more transparent? Do something other websites are not doing? Present your content in a different way? Make your material of such high quality and so compelling that if your right people don’t read it they are missing out?

…or can they safety ignore you?

How the Infoprenur.net grew so fast

That’s it. Three things he did. Not five. Three. Granted, these strategies are a total waste of time in today’s blogging world. But my goal here is to illustrate the concept of hard work, consistency and doing more of what works.

James kept up this unreasonably difficult pace for months until the website garnered enough traffic as to where he could have multiple guest authors publish content every week for free simply because they want a link back to their website for SEO purposes.

This of course reduced the publishing workload and allowed him to funnel that free time into product creation, promotion, and building up his email mail list auto-responder series.

There’s nothing remarkable about posting blog comments or even publishing an average 500 word piece of content. What is unique and novel is the pace at which he kept this up. Like walking across the continental United States or ridding every roller coaster in America. Effort and marketing still matters if you wish to get peoples attention.

Why people payed attention to theinfopreneur

People at first ignored the infopreneur at first as just another basic and boring blog but then payed attention to TheInfoprenur.net out of novelty  to see if this guy could keep it up. He did and all of a sudden had a high traffic website which enabled him to leverage what he did into credibility and authority:

“How I went from 0 to 60,000 visitors a month in 3 months”

If you’re a struggling blogger wouldn’t you be curious as to how to do this? James went from being a guy starting out with nothing. No traffic, no experience and no credibility into someone who within a few short months was sitting atop of a potential asset.

A bad blog is more of a liability than no blog

There are many blogging and web design mistakes beginners always make when starting a blog. Here are the 8 most common I see:

Publishing content on your own website

The goal of a blog for most websites is to get search traffic and to then convert that traffic in some meaningful way. Maybe you’re trying to rank a piece of content so make sales from affiliate marketing or to grow your email list.

Regardless, you should publish content people are looking for with a clear end goal. Beginners however don’t do this. They write content on what they think and feel, giving to regard to what people are actually looking for. While you can write pointless puff pieces like “what tools are in your self knowledge,” it’s not a piece of content that’s actually going to rank for anything.

Color scheme

Your website should have at max 4 colors. One or two primary colors for the design, then white with black text and a contrast color for buttons, links and your call to action.

Overwhelming users with too many colors makes your website look poorly designed. Equally, not using contrast colors for your call to actions hampers their effectiveness.

Formatting

Format your text correctly. The blog posts on my website are designed as a single column with no sidebar with a lot of padding on the left and right as to not make the text too wide. A lot of beginner make the text when on desktop or laptop a marathon to read from left to right.

In addition, keep your paragraphs short and sweet, 2-3 sentences or so. It helps to make your content more readable instead of presenting the visitor with a wall of text. Last, breakup the design with different elements, bullet points and bold important sentences.

H1 Titles and SEO

Your H1 titles are the title of your pages and blog posts. Create keyword rich, compelling titles that grab the users intention. Instead of writing a boring title like “why sugar is bad for you,” make something better like “10 stunning reasons why sugar is bad for you.”

The latter is going after the same key phrase but is much more professional and attention grabbing. You can use a free service like Headline Analyzer to figure out how to crafter better titles.

H2 and H3 for sub-headings

People have short attention spans and will first skim your content to make sure it’s right for them and answers their question. You can help make your content more engaging by using H2 and H3 headings for your sub headings.

Affiliate links

On well designed websites you should be using some sort of design feature to make anything you’re promoting stand out. In addition to a good contrast color for your links, consider using product boxes for your affiliate marketing purposes with compelling and helpful product descriptions.

Use images and videos properly

YouTube videos are an excellent addition to your content and website. But make sure your videos have a good thumbnail to entice your visitors to click and that you’re embedding the videos in a way where they blend into the content. The right video will help improve your time on site.

For pictures, use relevant pictures to demonstrate what you’re writing about. Never use generic stock images simply because you think the images look nice.

Opt-in forms and popups

Opt-in forms should typically be at the top of the page, bottom of the page and/or somewhere in the middle. Opt-in forms must have a compelling offer or lead magnet and a call to action. No one wants to subscribe to get “free updates.”

Pop-ups are quite effective as well for growing your email list or driving affiliate sales. You can have an exit intent pop-up on your website when the visitor goes to leave offering a product recommendation (if it’s an affiliate post) or you can have a pop-up providing a coupon code.

Done in the right way, opt-in forms and popups help turn your website into your best sales person.

Effort still matters

James Clear of JamesClear.com was able to build his first business, a personal finance website call Passive Panda by doing round up posts of of already established experts on a topic. This allowed him to connect with influencers while also creating content people wanted to share.

In addition to that, he  spent 10+ hours writing his material, actively sought out opportunities to promote it and pivoted his original idea of Passive Panda from passive income to getting paid more for your time.

He has since followed the same strategy with JamesClear.com. Leveraging the audience of high traffic websites, guest posting content, getting people to subscribe to his email list and creating the best in class content related to habits. Effort still matters and you need to be really good at what you do.

How bad web design ruined the Infoprenuer

Here is how you destroy an successful website, root and stem and make a really bad website no one wants to use from step 1 to step done:

Be the wrong guy for the job. 

James made a mistake in handing over his website to Brandon, a guy more interested in making money fast from the established audience by promoting scammy products and real estate oddly enough than building a popular blog. This also leads to a fundamental core problem with TheInfoprenur.net – how would it make money exactly? It was a fairly generic blog, not a business.

If you’re someone who desires to earn an online income by building a popular blog your strategy needs to put providing value and helpful content first, then the user experience second. You must also create a blog on a topic that people find valuable, have questions on, where you can advise and be helpful to people.

If you’re someone like Brandon who wants to better his life and support his family by building wealth, a blog is great vehicle to do that but only if you have expertise on a subject.

Make the website sketchy looking.

Design of your website matters because design should enhance your content. You don’t need a big complicated design but you do need something that looks trustworthy and reliable.

Like most nerdy guys, Brandon simply lacked the ability to be creative and had no ability for beautiful design. He made the infopreneur into a very ugly and weird looking website.

Stop growing your email list.

An email list is how you turn a blog into a business as I say. This appears to be unknown to Brandon as he simply stopped collecting and sending out emails. An email list allows you to directly communicate to people who are interested in your content as opposed to random website traffic.

An email list also allows you to set up automation on the backend to help turn your list into a predictable email marketing funnel that can be adjusted over time for optimal performance.

Stop having free content from guest authors.

Brandon was lucky. He inherited a website where he had free guest content from other authors simply because these authors benefited from the free exposure they got from publishing on a high traffic website. He took over a website where the previous owner did all the hard work and all he had to do was maintain the website.

A total pro strategy for destroying any website, particularly a blog would be to stop having free content on your website and instead pivot to talking about real estate and scammy products in short 300 word blog posts that don’t help or provide any value.

A website is not about you

There are a lot of “cool guy” blogs out there. Where people craft an unrealistic version of themselves by providing life advice, dating advice or finance advice where nothing goes wrong and they are always right. A website is not about you and your ego.

If you want to make a good website into a bad website, follow Brandon’s lead and take over something you have absolutely no interest in, that’s also in a market where you do not understand or care about serving your audience.

Final words.

The truth is that all beginners create bad websites with bad design and poor UX. It’s part of the learning process when it comes to creating content online. It may take you years to develop the skills required to have success. So fail fast, learn quick and change as needed.

David Utke

David Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He translates technical skills in an easy to understand way for beginners with his educational tutorials based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 20k+ YouTube subscribers.
Posted in: