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There are a million and one ways why you might classify a website as unsuccessful; I discussed a few reasons some time ago. In this post, however, I’m describing a few generic website types that constitute failure.

The ‘amateur’ website

An amateur is anyone who doesn’t make websites for a living. Because it takes a lot of time—often years—to learn how to build websites properly an amateur with little or no experience is never going to be able to make one to the same standard as a professional.

Creating a website involves not only being creative and putting a design together; it also involves understanding the technologies that drive the website. Certain pieces of web authoring software allow the user to forgo learning these languages. The result is a sloppy, poorly built website that won’t properly factor in web standards and search engine visibility (among other things).

The ‘style over content’ website

Some websites place style over anything else. Some designers are still under the delusion that visitors will happily sit through sixty seconds of a Flash loading bar so they can spend the next ten minutes trying to work out how to navigate that user–unfriendly multimedia website that doesn’t quite run properly on their modest PC. When all is said and done, a website has a job to do and if the style and brand get in the way of that, it’s a failure.

The ‘tail wagging the dog’ website

The content of some websites is dictated by the tools and features available to the designer. The goal of the website should determine what is included, not the other way round. Adding guestbooks, forums, social networking links, etc when you don’t need them is not only a waste of time—it’s off–putting to your site’s visitors.

Additionally, sometimes using an open source content management system can leave you with more features than you had intended.

The ‘online brochure’ website

The online brochure website is exactly that: a brochure that’s been put online, exactly as is. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. Print and web are very different mediums; what works on a brochure almost certainly won’t work online. Someone reading a brochure scans and digests the information very differently to someone viewing a website. It pays to know the difference. For more information you can read my recent blog post,
web design vs print design.

The ‘ground–breaking’ website

The ground–breaking website is the one that breaks convention. Its creators fancy themselves as visionaries and have decided to do everything differently. There are certain axioms on the web that have been established. Following these doesn’t mean you can’t produce an original website. Rather, breaking them will turn away your site’s visitors.

The ‘colour blind’ website

Some websites should carry a health warning; so garish is their colour scheme that it’s like staring directly at the sun. Conversely, (but equally as bad) some use a text and background colour that are almost identical, making them almost impossible to read.

Does your website fit any of the above profiles? If it does and you’d like help call me on 07843 483 078 or get a free quote online.

Tim Bennett is a web designer and developer. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.