UI/UX Design

How a Bad Website Design Affects Your Business

Branislav Nenin
Branislav Nenin
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Getweb Inc - Full-Cycle Web Design and Development Services

Not only does a website serve as the virtual forefront of a business, but it is also often the first point of contact, which sets the first impression as well. That means you need to ensure a stunning user experience, and web design is an integral part of it.

An outdated, cluttered, or difficult-to-navigate website will turn away customers and hurt your sales, while a clean, modern, easy-to-use site builds trust and drives business growth.

If you want your business to thrive, your website better not be an eyesore and handsore! Here we discussed how a bad website design affects your business and what you can do about it.

How a Bad Website Design Affects Your Business

A poorly designed website can have significant negative consequences for a business. It can impact various aspects of the business, ultimately leading to financial losses and damage to its reputation. Here are some critical ways in which bad web design affects a business:

Hurts Brand Credibility

An outdated or unprofessional website design can significantly harm how credible and trustworthy a business appears. A Stanford study found that over 75% of people decide how much to trust a company based on website design alone.

When visitors arrive at a site, they expect to find a polished and convincing reflection of the business. However, amateurish or sloppy design gives the impression that the brand lacks investment in their image and presence.

This negative perception damages overall credibility. A poor website suggests the business behind it does not take their messaging or customer experience seriously. It introduces doubt rather than confidence.

Ultimately, credibility is key for conversions and retention. Website design plays a major role in either building up or tearing down user trust in a brand. Companies must prioritize presenting an exceptional and modern website to match their brand promises. The website is a direct extension of the business.

Drives Away Prospects

A confusing, outdated, or frustrating website design will quickly drive away potential customers. If a site does not meet visitor expectations in terms of usability and aesthetics, those visitors will simply leave and take their business elsewhere.

Poor navigation makes it difficult for prospects to find information or products, while amateurish design suggests questionable business practices. Either way, a bad website blocks the path rather than smoothing the way for customer acquisition.

This failed first impression means missed opportunities and lost prospects. In just seconds, visitors decide if they will stay and convert or if they will abandon the site permanently. Bad website design essentially erects barriers instead of opening doors when it comes to lead generation.

Businesses simply cannot afford to lose potential customers due to website shortcomings. An exceptional site design is necessary not just for retaining prospects, but for turning them into long-term patrons. The website can either push business away or draw it in.

Direct Financial Consequences

Poor website design has clear and measurable financial consequences for businesses. High bounce rates mean lost opportunities for engagement. Decreased customer retention means less repeat business. Overall, bad design leads to reduced sales and revenue.

Financial losses from a deficient website can add up quickly. Every frustrated visitor who leaves without converting into a customer represents missed potential revenue. Declining brand credibility makes acquiring new customers more difficult as well.

Metrics such as low conversion rates, high exit rates, and decreased return visits show the monetary impact of website issues. Bad design literally causes businesses to miss out on sales they might otherwise have secured.

It becomes exponentially more expensive to attract new customers versus retaining existing ones. But bad design alienates both groups, requiring extra investment just to make up for the website’s failures.

In monetary terms, flawed website execution harms ROI, funnels away customers, and dampens sales. For optimal revenue, businesses must prioritize effective web design.

Hurts SEO and Search Visibility

Not only does ineffective website design drive away human visitors, but it also damages the visibility of Google. The core elements of design directly influence SEO ranking factors.

For example, sluggish page speed caused by unoptimized images or code will hurt rankings. Lack of mobile responsiveness also sinks placements. And confusing navigation structures make it harder for search bots to index all site content.

Even small missteps like broken links, thin content, and poor URL structures take a toll on search performance. Visitors who cannot find a company’s site on search engines represent lost opportunities.

By creating on-site content and navigation difficult for algorithms to interpret, poor web design limits organic visibility and traffic. Fewer prospective customers will encounter the brand if search rankings decline due to subpar website execution.

To maximize discoverability, companies must prioritize technical SEO as well as user experience. A site that appears polished to visitors and crawlers alike drives the most value through all-around effectiveness.

Fails Mobile Users

In today’s mobile-first world, websites that are not optimized for mobile devices severely damage user engagement. Loading slowly or appearing broken on phones leads visitors to immediately disengage.

If a site’s layout, text size, navigation, images, or videos do not adapt well to smaller screens, mobile visitors get frustrated. They will quickly hit the back button rather than straining to use an unoptimized site.

Since global website traffic now skews heavily mobile, failing to account for mobile optimization essentially blocks a majority of potential customers from properly engaging. It communicates that a business does not care about a primary audience segment.

Mobile responsiveness must be a top priority for web design today. Companies that do not craft sites tailored to mobile browsing will continue bleeding visitors and significantly limiting their customer reach. The mobile experience is the “user experience” for most people now.

Creates Cluttered, Confusing Experiences

Ineffective web design commonly leads to cluttered, chaotic user experiences that frustrate visitors.

Too much text, distracting graphics, confusing menus, and disorganization overwhelm users.

When the navigation system is unclear or content layouts lack hierarchy, visitors cannot easily scan and find information. Excessive Ads, animations, and popups also disrupt browsing and task completion.

An overcrowded, noisy website communicates amateurism and irritates visitors. If users cannot scan and extract value quickly, they abandon sites rather than slog through a confusing experience.

Streamlining and simplifying website interfaces is crucial. Strategic use of white space, intentional visual hierarchy, and concise messaging enhances scannability. Visitors want efficiency.

Clutter forces extra work on users, but exceptional web design removes friction. Eliminating clutter and interference does more than polish aesthetics – it facilitates delightful user experiences that convert.

Conveys Unprofessionalism

The design and aesthetics of a company’s website have a direct correlation to how professional, legitimate, and established that company appears. Visitors unconsciously link the two.

Unfortunately, an outdated, cluttered, or amateurishly built site suggests a lack of investment and care in a company’s image. It implies unprofessionalism rather than competence.

Even if the broader brand has a good reputation, a poor website undermines perceptions and indicates the business does not take their online presence seriously. It raises doubts.

Conversely, a modern, slick, functionally sound website design conveys professionalism, attention to detail, and dedication to customers. It builds credibility through its polished execution and user-centric experience.

In a crowded market, projecting professionalism through website design can be the competitive difference between closing or losing prospects. Leaving a less-than-fully professional impression online is now a major liability.

Hurts Brand Image

A company’s website is a direct reflection and extension of their overall brand. If the website appears outdated, amateurish, or hard to use, it casts the broader brand in a negative light.

Visitors will associate the frustrations and perceptions from a poor website experience with the brand as a whole. It will tarnish their overall impression and recall of the brand name.

This website-driven brand damage then spreads through word-of-mouth, reviews, and social media. Once potential customers are turned off by a bad site, it affects how they describe the brand to others.

Essentially, online experience is brand experience now. The strengths or weaknesses of a website will shape brand perceptions accordingly. Brand reputation is heavily influenced by website execution and presentation.

To control brand narrative, companies must invest in an exceptional website that reinforce their desired messaging, personality, and customer service. The website is a microcosm of the brand.

Drives Away Visitors Quickly

Poor website design often leads to high bounce rates, which means visitors are leaving the site after viewing just one page. They enter and exit without engaging further.

This can be caused by a poor first impression with the homepage design or frustrating navigation that prevents them from delving deeper into other pages.

Unappealing visuals, cluttered layouts, broken links, and confusing menus all lead to instant exits. Users bounce once they find a site difficult to use or lacking in value.

High bounce rates show a failure to convert visitors into engaged users exploring the site. The website fails to deliver on expectations and win over visitors.

To reduce bounce rates, websites must have exceptional visual design, simple and intuitive navigation, quality content, fast load times, and seamless mobile integration. The modern web leaves little room for friction.

By creating positive user experiences, companies can convert passing visitors into long-term customers who stick around and generate value. Design is key.

Struggles Acquiring and Keeping Customers

An ineffective website design makes it difficult for companies to attract new customers and retain existing ones. It damages the customer lifecycle from both ends.

Poor navigation and confusing layouts mean new visitors leave instead of converting to customers. Meanwhile, existing customers become frustrated by sites that are difficult to use and deliver poor experiences.

This results in low conversion rates for capturing leads as well as higher abandonment rates for those previously acquired. Bad design actively pushes away both potential and current customers.

To excel at customer acquisition and retention, the website must offer an intuitive, aesthetically pleasing, and rewarding experience. Users must not only convert but continue engaging over the long haul.

The ultimate goal of exceptional web design should be fostering customer loyalty by anticipating needs and eliminating friction through strategic UX and UI decisions. A website should serve and satisfy customers.

Examples of Bad Website Design

Here are some practical examples of how a bad website design affects your business


This website exhibits bad design with outdated, confusing, and cluttered elements. It lacks mobile responsiveness, and clear navigation while having a poor color scheme.

This leads to a negative user experience and has the potential to result in a loss of customers.

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Yale University School of Art

This website suffers from outdated design, bad fonts, and a lack of mobile responsiveness. This leads to a subpar user experience and potentially damages the reputation of the institution.

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Penny Juice

This website showcases bad design with outdated elements, poor color schemes, and a lack of mobile responsiveness, resulting in a negative user experience and potentially driving away potential customers.

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Suzanne Collins Books (Redesigned)

This example demonstrates realistic mistakes in website design, including outdated elements and bad color schemes.

Additionally, the lack of mobile responsiveness has the potential to lead to a negative user experience and loss of credibility.

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How to Improve Your Website Design?

To improve website design, consider the following tips and strategies-

1. Mobile Friendly & Responsive

Having a website that works well on mobile is incredibly important these days since so many people browse the web primarily on their smartphones and tablets. 

Using responsive design where the site seamlessly adapts its layout to fit different screen sizes ensures visitors have a smooth experience no matter what device they use.

Optimizing for mobile improves accessibility and helps visitors better engage with your content when on the go. It’s a must-have for reaching out to people wherever they happen to be browsing.

2. Simplify Navigation

Don’t make your website hard to navigate. Simplify things by cutting out clutter so visitors can easily find what they want.

Clean, straightforward menus let people move around your site without hassle or irritation. When navigation works well, users will feel comfortable poking around and checking out more pages rather than getting annoyed and leaving.

Make their experience smooth sailing by ensuring your site’s navigation is intuitive and direct. That encourages exploration and engagement rather than bouncing out of your site because of frustration.

3. Improve Page Speed

If your website takes forever to load, people will just leave. Quick page speeds keep visitors happy and engaged.

Plus, search engines like Google factor site performance into rankings, so fast load times can help you get found more easily online. Do what it takes to speed things up – compress files, use caching, minimize page elements.

A lightning-fast site provides a smoother user experience that pays off with better conversion rates as visitors stick around long enough to buy or sign up. Don’t let slow speeds kill your website’s potential. Optimize for performance.

4. Remove Unnecessary Content

Cut the clutter on your website. Too much stuff on a page is just distracting and makes it hard for visitors to zone in on what matters. Get rid of excessive content that doesn’t serve a purpose.

Simplify things to highlight your most important info. A focused, decluttered site is way more user-friendly because it lets people easily find what they want without gratuitous extras competing for their attention.

Removing unnecessary content draws attention to your core message and helps visitors engage with the useful parts rather than feeling overloaded. Keep it simple and cut to the chase.

5. Social Proof

Show people you can be trusted by including testimonials and reviews from real customers on your site. When visitors see others are happy with you, It provides social proof that builds credibility so they feel reassured engaging with your business.

Customer stories and positive feedback are super powerful for calming people’s concerns about handing over their money or email addresses.

So sprinkle in some social proof like reviews, case studies, and testimonials to indicate your product or service delivers as promised. That vote of confidence can go a long way towards convincing visitors to convert.

6. Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

Tell visitors what you want them to do next with clear calls-to-action(CTAs) on your site. Whether you want an email signup, a product purchase or something else.

Use buttons and links that directly prompt the desired action. Strategically place CTAs in spots where they are most likely to be used.

And make them visually stand out and compelling with strong phrases that trigger a response. When CTAs are obvious and motivate clicks, you can effectively guide website visitors to convert instead of leaving them unsure of the next steps.

Well-executed calls-to-action improve user experience and drive the outcomes you want.

7. Plan Intentionally

Don’t just randomly tweak your website, have an intentional strategy behind it. Map out the path customers take from arriving to converting so you understand their journey.

Figure out which pages and content they engage with the most along the way. This helps you design the site to align with their needs and what they expect to find.

When you’re purposeful about changes and enhancements, you can optimize the site to guide visitors towards conversion at each step.

Planning things out thoughtfully ensures the website works for your audience rather than tossing up random changes without a method. Know your customers and shape the site to fit them.

8. Stay Organized

Keep your website neatly organized so people don’t get lost. Structure your content and categories in an intuitive way that flows. 

Properly label menus and pages with descriptive names so visitors immediately understand what they’ll find. A clear, well-thought-out site architecture makes it easy for users to navigate and quickly find what they need. 

Don’t just throw up content without thinking about how it’s arranged. Take the time to categorize and label things in a user-friendly way. 

Your readers will appreciate a site that’s logically organized and easy to navigate. It just makes their experience smoother.

9. Be Consistent

Stick with a consistent vibe throughout your website. Keep your design, branding, voice, and messaging aligned across all pages. When everything flows together cohesively, it feels more professional and helps build visitor trust.

Familiar elements like colors, logos, and page layout make people comfortable navigating your site. But when things feel disjointed or random, it feels messy.

Maintaining consistency in the user experience shows you pay attention to details and care about crafting a polished space online.

Users will respond better to a site that feels stable, intuitive, and purposeful from page to page. So, avoid a hodgepodge look by ensuring consistency.

10. Use Responsive Design

Make sure your website looks great not just on desktop computers but mobile phones and tablets too. Use responsive design where the layouts and elements automatically adjust to fit different screen sizes.

This provides a smooth, consistent experience for visitors whether they are browsing on a laptop, iPhone, or Android device. Content will resize, stack, and reformat itself based on the device.

With mobile traffic rising, having a site that’s not set up to adapt across screens means losing a huge number of potential users.

Understanding Website Structure

Website structure refers to how the pages on a website are organized and connected. It is the backbone that holds a site together and enables intuitive navigation.

There are four main types of website structures, each with its unique attributes and applications:

  • Hierarchical

This is the most common website structure, also known as the tree model or website tree structure. It consists of a home page, top-level category pages, and subpages, organized hierarchically.

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  • Sequential

This structure places pages in a single logical sequence, one after the other. It is suitable for creators who want to showcase a brand, product, or service in a step-by-step manner.

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  • Matrix

Commonly used for online newspapers and news websites, this structure is characterized by a less clear site architecture compared to the hierarchical model.

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  • Database

Also known as the dynamic website structure, this model organizes information in a database, allowing users to access content through search or other means.

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Here are some qualities that a great website should need:

1. Navigation

Navigation is one of the most basic yet critical elements of website design. Menus and links should be easily accessible from every page so users always know where they are and how to get to other parts of the site.

While a site map can aid navigation, many websites still struggle with intuitive menus and clear pathways through the content. It seems straightforward, but many sites could improve simple aspects like labeling and consistency in their navigation schemes.


There is a balance between utility and annoyance – navigation should above all else be functional without crossing over into irritating users with overly prominent or distracting menus.

The ideal navigation system seamlessly guides users where they want to go without them needing to think much about it. It should facilitate content discovery and tasks, not create unnecessary obstacles. Keeping navigation intuitive yet unobtrusive should be the main focus.

2. Visual Design

Visual design makes a vital first impression on visitors in a second. It conveys if a site seems trustworthy and professional. People respond strongly to aesthetics, so quality graphics are important for appeal.

However, restraint is also key – too many distracting elements like scrolling text or overused animations come across as unprofessional. These should be used minimally for highlighting specific points, not as website decoration.

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Example of an Ideal visual

The ideal visual design is clean, modern, and tailored to the brand. It should enhance the user experience without overpowering it through visual clutter and disruptive graphics. Visitors want visually appealing but also efficient sites.

Overall, visuals matter greatly in setting site perceptions. A smart balance of polished graphics, negative space, and strategic use of animations makes for an ideal and effective visual design. Treat site aesthetics as a tool for user experience rather than just decoration.

3. Content

Quality content is the true foundation of any good website, which serves both users and search engines. It provides the value visitors actually come to your site for in the first place.

Not only does robust, useful content drive higher rankings in search. But it also makes your site informative, engaging, and popular with users. People want to consume content that is entertaining or educational.

All website copy should be well-written, scannable, and concise. Try to avoid bloated text. present information clearly and briefly using bullet points, short paragraphs, headings, etc.

Great content marketing goes hand-in-hand with great web design. No amount of visual polish can make up for thin, low-value content. Your top priority should be focusing on publishing high-quality, relevant content. 

Invest time in thoughtful ideation, tight writing, and thorough editing. Let your content bring your brand to life and provide the insights audiences are seeking. It is one of the key drivers of any website’s success.

4. Layout

The layout and the information architecture of a website determine where all the different elements are positioned on the screen. It involves strategically organizing sections, images, menus, text, and buttons for an intuitive experience.

An effective website layout logically guides users through a clear visual hierarchy and flow. Navigation, calls-to-action, and important information should be purposely placed for scannability.

A balanced, uncluttered layout removes friction during browsing. Related content should be grouped into clear zones, following conventions users are familiar with. Consistency, white space, and visual priority all contribute to a layout facilitating tasks rather than hindering them.

Testing different layouts with users reveals issues with findability and flow. Iterating based on feedback results in an optimized layout catered to how visitors actually interact with and consume content. An intentional layout makes for effortless user experiences.

5. Color Scheme

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A color palette helps shape the overall look, feel, and personality conveyed. Colors have psychological effects, so smart use of color schemes is important for web design.

The right colors can make a site more visually appealing while also reinforcing brand recognition. For example, blue hues feel trustworthy and stable, which suits financial sites. Meanwhile, vibrant orange conveys energy and youth.

Colors should complement each other using principles like the color wheel. Too many competing hues look uncoordinated. Tones should align with branding for consistency across touchpoints like print materials.

Strategic use of color draws attention to calls-to-action, conveys meaning, establishes hierarchy, and energizes or calms as needed. Color brings sites to life when applied skillfully.

Testing color combinations with users reveals preferences and emotional connotations. Customizing palette based on feedback optimizes appeal and brand messaging through color.

These elements work together to create a website that not only looks great but also functions effectively, providing visitors with a positive and memorable experience.

Common Issues with Bad Website Design

An ineffective website can seriously hurt a business. Key issues like slow speeds, poor mobile optimization, unclear calls-to-action, confusing navigation, and unappealing visuals frustrate users and lower conversion rates.

To improve user experience and conversions, you should address these critical website design flaws.

Slow Loading Times

  • Websites that take a long time to load frustrate users and lead to high bounce rates. This can be caused by large file sizes, unoptimized images, and inefficient code.
  • Solutions include compressing images, minimizing HTTP requests, using a content delivery network, and optimizing code. Fast load times should be a top priority.

Poor Mobile Optimisation

  • With increasing mobile traffic, a website needs to be responsive and adapt to different screen sizes. Bad mobile optimization makes navigation difficult.
  • Fixes include using a responsive design, optimizing images for mobile, enlarging touch elements, and avoiding horizontal scrolling. Mobile user experience is now a key ranking factor.

Unclear Calls-to-Action

  • If a website doesn’t clearly tell visitors what to do next, they may leave confused and dissatisfied. Obvious CTAs are needed.
  • Strategically place buttons for desired actions, use action-driven language, and make CTAs visually stand out. This removes doubt and guides visitors to convert.

Difficult Navigation

  • Users should be able to easily find what they need on a site. Cluttered and confusing navigation leads to frustration.
  • Keep menus simple with carefully organized elements. Include search bars, site maps, and breadcrumb trails. Logical information architecture is critical.

Poor Visual Design

  • An aesthetically unappealing site reflects poorly on a brand. Overly busy designs or dated styles can turn off visitors.
  • Use minimalism, whitespace, and contrast for clean layouts. Stay up-to-date with current visual trends. Consistent branding also builds trust.

In summary, bad website design directly impacts user experience and conversion rates. By optimizing speed, mobile friendliness, CTAs, navigation, and visual appeal, businesses can gain more customers and improve credibility. The user comes first in effective web design.

Wrapping It Up

Now that you know how a bad website design affects your business, you should invest in an effective site that engages users and drives growth. Don’t neglect your website as just an afterthought. Well-executed web design pays dividends through improved organic reach, higher conversion rates, and bigger revenues. Treat it as a vital asset for your business strategy.

Branislav Nenin
VIP Contributor
Branislav Nenin
WordPress Developer

Branislav is a full-stack WordPress developer who has been creating custom WP plugins and themes, and tailoring WP admins for years. He’s obsessed with bridging the gap between engineering and design that reflects in his work.

He has rich experience in project management with strong organizational skills, coordinating deliverables with task prioritization according to client needs. He values trust and cooperation the most when working with remote teams.

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