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How to Create a Bad Website and Frustrate Your Visitors

If you're a sadistic kind of webmaster or website owner and have a burning desire to royally frustrate and anger your site visitors each and every time they visit your site, these three lists are just for you. If you want to have a terrible website that looks bad, works horribly and breaks fundamental marketing rules, read on.

First let me explain why there are three lists. One way to look at any website is to break it up into three equally important segments; design, technical and marketing. In other words, every site on the Web contains these three components. They all have a design or look and feel (design), they all have to be on a server and coded properly to be live on the Internet (technical) and they all have ways in which they attract visitors and make sales (marketing).

So let's look at the top ten ways in which you can annoy your website visitors and basically fail miserably at the whole website endeavor in each of these three segments. The following is a list, broken up into the three categories, defining exactly what NOT to do.

Top 10 Web Design Mistakes:

1. Never using Web conventions, instead use crazy and wacky formats that no one's ever seen and no one can understand

2. Writing trite, predictable, boring or copied content only and never updating your site

3. Creating totally different and unique navigation for every page so that your visitors need to waste time re-learning your navigation every time they go to a new page. Also creating totally different look and feels for every page so that your visitors never know if they're on the same site or clicked away.

4. Using confusing, obfuscated and mysterious labels for all your links and buttons so that no one ever has any idea where they're going if they click. The more confusing, the better.

5. Making it impossible to search the site. Offering no search box, no site map and basically no possible way to find anything on your website.

6. Including content that only talks about you. Never mentioning anything about your visitors or how you can help them, just talk about you and your history and all your achievements. Including a big picture of you and your office building right on the home page.

7. Including only poorly-written copy with lots of grammar mistakes, and ubiquitous, curious and horrendous spelling and punctuation mistakes throughout your site.

8. Not including any text. Making every page on your site one big picture. So for instance, on your home page have one giant picture of you and your office building and have no text so search engines can't see your site at all.

9. Using buttons for your navigation only, or use complicated JavaScript drop down menus that complicate your sites navigation. Either way, if you do this and include no text links, the search engines won't be able to spider (navigate and record) your website.

10. Making your site as difficult to read as possible. Use teeny, tiny fonts that are hard to read against some funky-colored background. For instance, use blue fonts on a black background.

Top 10 Technical Mistakes:

1. Making your website take forever to load in people's browsers. The longer the better.

2. Making it so that your site looks completely different on everybody's computer. So for Macs your site looks like one way, and for PCs it looks another way. Or having it look totally different in Internet Explorer, Chrome and FireFox.

3. Making it so that any functionality on the site is confusing to figure out and works improperly and inconsistently every time it's used.

4. Including lots of broken links and missing images throughout.

5. Setting it up so that it regularly crashes. For example, if more than three people are visiting the site at the same time, the home page becomes inaccessible.

6. Has no form validation. Allowing visitors to enter any thing under the sun into your website forms. Maybe some smart hacker-types will enter executable code that corrupts or takes over your server.

7. Making all your site visitors have to download and install lots of plug ins to view your site properly. If they don't, too bad.

8. Telling people that they have to view your site in a specific browser and browser version only.

9. Making it so that there are tons of pop-ups, moving newsletter sign-up boxes, running videos, animations and Flash movies that take forever to download before you can view the site.

10. Using lots of frames

Top Ten E-Marketing Mistakes:

1. Making your website completely bounce-friendly. In other words, make it 'un-sticky' so that when people arrive on one of your pages, they leave immediately

2. Including no calls to action so that your site never asks your website visitors to do a thing. Making it so that every page is a dead end that leaves your visitors scratching their heads and then clicking away.

3. Does absolutely nothing to build your brand

4. Has no terms or policies page

5. Evoke no emotions. Making your site flat, boring, gray, dull and forgettable.

6. Making sure there is no way for anyone who visits your site to sign up for anything or give you their contact info or email address. Certainly don't use your site to build any kind of email list.

7. Converting absolutely no one who visits your site into a paying customer. Ever.

8. Forgetting to ever use an analytics program like Google Analytics or Web Trends and never measuring or even looking at your website referrals and activity

9. Including no phone number, email and absolutely no other way to contact you. Hiding behind your website.

10. Making it so that search engine can't read your site and make it so that people can't really read your site either.

Follow these three lists to the letter and you may win the Worst Website in the World list (if that even exists) and you will definitely anger and frustrate your website visitors as much as humanly possible.

Jason OConnor writes for The Net Gazette, a free business website design and marketing newsletter. Mr. O'Connor (www.jasonoconnor.com/) also owns Oak Web Works, LLC (www.oakwebworks.com/), a Web development and marketing company based min Boston.

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