I have been thinking a lot about web design follies this week. If you came to the home page of this site before arriving here, you may have noticed an enticement to sign up for may newsletter, called “The Top Ten Reasons Web Sites suck – And Why Yours Doesn’t Have To”.

In m y research it didn’t take long to uncover lots of examples of web design follies. As I made notes I found that some had practical issues, some aesthetic, and some were designed so long ago old age and neglect had crept in and left them looking tired.

I’m not going to tell you what I wrote, as I want you to sign up for my newsletter using the box on the right of this article, but I will pass on some links to sites that I suspect you will agree with me are follies. My research took me first to this gem of a site called, Bad Web Design. At first glance this site seems to have stopped to have stopped operating in 2013 as their annual awards ended then, but gems are still being added!

If these examples of web design follies don’t bother you, this site has curated some real horrors that break every design rule in the book – and created a few new ones. The sad thing is that back in the 1990s the rule book for good web design was still being written, but nearly two decades later there really isn’t any excuse not to know what to do.

It is always easy to make fun of sites that have been up for a long time, were designed using a basic template and never modified, or were created by someone whose heart was in the right place, but whose design skills were seriously impaired. For one final round of fun please look at these hilariously bad websites.

And now for your site. Perhaps this series of links has made you reflect on your site’s appearance. Perhaps it is time to review your site to avoid it ending up in a parade of shame. Here are some simple guidelines to get you started:

  1. Never ask your uncle/neighbor’s kid/girlfriend to design your site – unless they are a real web designer or developer
  2. Know that what looks clever on a desktop screen can be difficult to use on a phone screen
  3. Take flashing text off your website – it is no longer 1999
  4. Make it easy for people to find what is on your site – clear navigation and a search box
  5. Pick just two colors and two fonts to use – less is more
  6. Pink text on a navy background is bad – stick with dark text on light backgrounds
  7. Distractions will cause visitors to forget why they came to your site
  8. Have someone else read your text to find typos and grammar errors before your audience does
  9. Think about words in a domain name that run together: for example, Pen Island’s domain name is penisland.net
  10. If you want your business to appear trustworthy and professional, make your site trustworthy and professional

So that is the end of my roundup of web design follies. Please don’t let your site join this list!