As a Marketing Consultant, I speak to many entrepreneurs looking to build their first website. I find it odd how I keep running into people that want to clutter up their brand new, professionally designed custom website with outdated nonsense that thankfully died out ten years ago for the rest of us.

It’s like buying a Mercedes, then hanging fuzzy dice on the rear mirror and a Garfield butt squished where the trunk seals shut. Why?

Bad Design Ideas That Ruin Your Website

Please do not waste your time (or your visitor’s time) with the following:

  1. The date / current time
    Seriously, why bother? Everyone has a clock right on the desktop/tablet/mobile phone they’re using to view your website. You’re not doing anyone a favor by making them aware of how much time they’re spending on your website.
  2. Today’s weather
    Again, why bother? You’re a business, not the local news. Besides, it’s only relevant where you live, not to your prospect from afar.
  3. Don't Put Animated Mailbox On Your Website Nothing screams 1990’s like cheesy animated mailbox swallowing an envelope.
  4. Clip art — There’s so much amazing and inexpensive artwork available to license, why use something crappy from your Microsoft Office suite?
  5. Cheesy MIDI background music that automatically plays on your home page.
    Nothing is more annoying than frantically trying to turn down the volume especially in an office/work environment. Please show respect for your visitors and spend the time on something more meaningful.
  6. Don't Put Visitor Counter On Your Website
    We don’t need to show some ugly visitor counter at the bottom of every page. There are a variety of elegant web analytics alternatives that provide superior information.
  7. A useless Splash Page before I can see your home page.
    Seriously, why would you put a barrier and extra click between me and your content?
  8. Blinking text
    That’s not the way to attract the eye. There are other visual design tactics to draw a visitor’s attention to a part of the page you want to emphasize. Thankfully many modern browsers are ignoring the <blink> tag, but please don’t try to work around it.
  9. This Website Best Viewed Using
    [Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer 5, etc.] — Come on, don’t be lazy. It’s your responsibility to make sure that your website is viewable on all the current versions of Apple Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer… plus iPad/tablets, and iPhone/Android/smartphones

    Stop the madness! When designing a website, we establish rules of emphasis that use font face, size, bold, italic to demonstrate different things and establish a pattern. It never looks good to use everything simultaneously on a word or phrase.

  11. !!!!!
    Knock it off with the overuse of exclamation points! It makes you look lame.
  12. Sign My Guestbook
    I’m sorry to break your heart, but no one really cares.
  13. Use a free web hosting company that displays advertising on your pages.
    Thankfully Yahoo! shut down Geocities to help put some of those crappy, abandoned websites out of their misery.
  14. Overly excessive use of photos of yourself
    Especially if they don’t demonstrate any product, service, features or benefits.
    Pages need to inform and sell, not stoke your vanity.
  15. Animated Marquee/Ticker text looks very cheesy!
    Don’t be annoying.
  16. Every page is full of paragraphs of
    light text over a dark background

    This issue is actually about readability. It’s a strain on the eye to read large amounts of text knocked out over a dark background.

  17. Using tiny font size
    No, it’s not cool if I can’t read your ridiculously tiny text. Instead, I’ll click over to your competitor who doesn’t require a magnifying glass to read your page.
  18. Entirely built in Flash.
    Read how Flash can be misused in web design.
    Plus, 600 million Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) don’t display Flash.
  19. Don't Display Under Construction Pages On Your Website
    If the page isn’t ready, don’t publish it yet. No one has the time to come back at random future dates to see if your “Under Construction” placeholder has been removed.
  20. Google Adsense ads on a business website.
    Not a blog, but a professional services website. This one is really baffling to me. You work hard to draw visitors to your business website just to distract them with advertising for other businesses. That dramatically lowers your credibility.

I am not exaggerating. I have had to talk sincere people out of all of the above on quite a few occasions. In one instance I declined a project because I would not associate myself with something that will ultimately look silly. Likewise I will not take the money of someone who wants me to make crap for them.

Key Takeaway

Cute isn’t a strategy to make you money. Cute doesn’t get you new clients and make you money. You need to demonstrate professionalism, expertise and get your visitor to a transaction as quickly as possible without ridiculous distractions.

Did I miss something about? Please add to the comments below. Thanks.