How To Design A Website That Kills Traffic

design a websiteIf you know how to design a website to attract traffic, you can start a consulting business with just this skill.

Businesses that have websites generally have no idea about designing for traffic and conversions. All they care about is the website looking flashy (we’re talking ‘flash’ websites here) and their company logo being located in an attention grabbing area.

Here’s a very good example of a business with absolutely clue about how to design a website. In fact, what you are about to witness is how to design a website that kills traffic.

The Background

I used to work in a garment company where the business was booming. Every member of staff was rushing around like a headless chicken from 9 – 6:30, putting out fires and dealing with new business.

Millions were being made every month. The bulk of the orders came from the sales team and repeating clients.

The company had a website to reach out to their prospects online…and had the most awful design you’d ever seen!

They made practically every mistake in the book.

How To Design A Website To Attract Traffic – 6 Avoidable Mistakes

1. The Windows Title

If you have some basic SEO knowledge, then you would know that the Windows Title is extremely important to rank high on the search engines for your main keywords.

The website’s Windows Title showed the company name (which is impossible to guess what business they’re in) and followed by the words “optimized for a resolution of 1024 x 768“.

There were no keywords in the Windows Title to help search their engine rankings. It was basically filled with trash that was wasting a valuable SEO space.

Performing search engine optimization for your website, is the basic foundation of ranking high on the search engines to attract traffic. The Windows Title is one of the most important places on your website for search engine optimization.

2. Flash

The front page was flash. A huge mistake. There was no text on the webpage.

The chances of the website ranking on the first or second page of the search engines is zero. Unless they have a Wikipedia amount of backlinks.

Taking down the flash and adding some content with a sprinkle of keyword phrases would immediately improve their search engine rankings.

3. Still no idea???

The flash showed countries where the company had offices in. Again, still no idea what business the company is in and what it does. It also contained an annoying ‘bong’ sound every time you loaded the webpage.

Forget SEO for now. Whoever designed the website must have had a serious grudge against his client.

4. The Navigation

There are 9 navigation buttons on the front page and they looked very plain. The poor design of the website combined with unattractive navigation buttons, few visitors would proceed to click on these buttons.

5. The webpages

If you click on any of the navigation buttons you would see a pop-up with scrolling images at the top and some text explaining the particular section.

Just when you think that things could only get better, the text is actually flash too. Making updates to the text would be a pain. Only the designer can update the webpages.

Needless to say, having “text-less” webpages is completely useless if you want to rank well on the search engines. Also you’ve made it a hundred times harder to update your content.

6. The contact form

This is perhaps the only good thing about this website. The company does have a contact form but it contains a lot of fields to be filled out. This will work for this type business though as the person filling out the form would be very qualified and not a time-waster.

Unfortunately, the contact form is badly designed. The layout is different to the rest of the website and it’s hard on the eyes. If by good fortune, someone does want to contact the owner, the design of the contact form just killed that chance.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Here’s the front page of the mother of all designs.

how to design a website

Summary Of How To Design A Website

This is an extreme case. I was fortunate enough to work in such a company and understand the thinking behind it.

As I mentioned, the company is making millions in sales. The company does consider the website as an important marketing tool but their primary focus is ranking high in the search engines and not on improving the design.

As you know, ranking high on the search engines is near impossible with such a design.

And obviously the owner (or management), or the designer knows jack shit about SEO.

The messages that they receive from the contact form are businesses who have already heard of the company or who got referred by a business partner. Perhaps this is what’s keeping the company’s belief alive that their website is doing its business.

What is surprising to me is that the management accepted the design in the first place and even till this day, don’t think that it’s a problem.

Marketers can see a poorly designed website right away. We find it amazing that other companies can’t see or know what we know. But the point is…there are lots of opportunities to be made consulting for brick and mortar businesses.

When you look at this design, what would you do to improve it?

I’m sure you’ll be able to write a few pages in a proposal and sell it to the owner.

This is why I suggest that if you are confident in Internet marketing principles, look for poorly designed websites in different industries and contact them for business. One deal with a business will be worth thousands of dollars.

If you take time to do such a study for a poorly designed website, look at what you’ve written and you’ll notice how good you are at consulting.

What’s so interesting about this is that you’ll be able to apply what you do for your clients, to your own websites. You know how to design a website that attracts traffic but sometimes you just miss certain steps when applying it to your own business.

Humans are a funny bunch. We know how to improve other people’s lives but are blind to applying the same principles that we know…to ourselves.

It’s like telling your kids not to waste money while you’ve paid for a magazine subscription that you hardly ever read and a MP3 recorder which you hardly use.

If you have a website or blog, get someone else who is also an experienced marketer to review and comment on it. Sometimes we are so emotionally tied to our creation, it’s better to get a third party’s opinion. That is the best way to design a website to attract traffic.

Think you’ve seen a website design that also broken all the rules for SEO and sales conversion? Feel free to share them in your comments below.

Even better, contact the owners of these websites and show them how to design a website that attracts traffic.


  1. Hi Alan,
    Important point here. I’m not an expert in web design even if I’m an internet marketer but I do agree. Design is important for your visitors, especially at an subconscious level. We don’t realize that each color, shape or design affects us one way or another.

    Thanks for sharing your tips 🙂

    • I’m not an expert at design either. It’ll be great to have that skill 🙂 It’s a good idea to hire a designer that understands marketing or at least have some experience working with marketers.

  2. Hi Alan, great post very interesting and I love your writing style thanks for the info.


  3. Hi Alan,

    Even though I am not involved in internet marketing in the form you are addressing, I’m sure there are some points that apply to bloggers. We don’t want people clicking away because they don’t like the looks of the blog. Thanks for sharing.

    Lou Barba

  4. Hi,Alan,
    Guy who is teaching me how to make money online say I do not have to care about SEO on my blog. The main thing he says is a unique content.I followed his advice and create about 30 posts of unique content.Have a lot of good comments, but now I have to generate traffic.It would not be smart enough to lose traffic from Google, right?
    Is it a solution if to write SEO posts for the promotional articles and upload them to the blog and later on to send traffic to these pages?
    Will it work?

    • Hi Anatoly,

      I would revisit your blog posts and SEO it with your keywords. However, don’t change the URL/permalink of the post.

      All it requires is putting your keywords in the title, the content and an anchor text.

      In addition, you can also write some articles and distribute them to article directories with a link to an individual post.

      Good luck!

  5. Very informative article, is a jewel of information, I am a webdesigner and this article will helpme to focus more in the aspects that you mention. Thanks

  6. Hi Alan,

    It really is amazing how we can so easily spot what doesn’t work that someone else is doing, yet we can have a difficult time looking at something of our own and seeing what doesn’t work. It’s because we’re too close and greatly benefit from an objective set of eyes!

    You did a great job of outlining the typical mistakes that are made!


    • Thanks Stacy.

      As long as you can swallow your pride and listen to other people’s honest opinion, you will progress more quickly.

  7. Useful tips for a company about to design their first web site. Also we shouldn’t forget the huge problem of the majority of people considering themselves designers and/or picking a cheap designer who just copies what someone else has already done.

    How often to you come across really fantastic web design? Most are unfortunately boring and people lose interest swiftly. Or get bored by the long texts.

    • Thanks for that reminder Catarina. A designer doesn’t know marketing but only how cool something looks. Therefore, your website needs a marketer and a designer working together.

  8. Hi allen,

    I couldn’t agree more, that we shoudl have a second opinion on our own website.

    thanks for sharing


  9. Hi Alan,
    Awesome points about creating a great and poor site. It is amazing how emotionally attached we become to our own creation. Corporate leaders that are not internet savvy are hard bricks to crack when explaining a post like this. I think show and tell is the key for them. Sometimes showing an example with results sparks the area that these are most interested in which is usually $$$$.

    Hey, how about rating my site! I may find I am not as savvy as I think would appreciate your thoughts!


    • Hi Joe,

      Glad you liked the post. Perhaps explaining the benefits of improving their website can be done through their marketing manager rather than the owner. It will be much easier.

      I looked at your website and liked your posts. The only thing I didn’t like was the color of your website. Then I realized that I could change it using the sidebar tool on the left. Not many people would notice this tool so I would remove it and give your best impression to your visitors.

      Just my opinion 🙂

  10. You are so right. We are “experts” when it comes to other people’s lives/businesses but we struggle with our own. I couldn’t agree more that we should get a fresh set of eyes on our website/business plan etc. Without it we are somewhat blinded because we are so close.

    • Thanks for the comment Angela.

      You’re right but it’s unfortunate that because of pride, people tend to dismiss suggestions or help as foolish criticism.

  11. I think you left out one key point. A clear call to action. Your website visitors need to understand what you want them to do when they visit your site. Is it to call your garment business, sign up to a newsletter, make an appointment? How you answer this is by giving them a roadmap, a call to action.

    Most websites for small business owners don’t have this because they don’t think about it. They just want to fill the page with information. Some times less is better.

    • Hi Joe,

      You’re right. A clear call to action is very important…for any website.

      Unless you’re a really established website, you should limit your webpages to one or two call to actions.

      Thanks for your comments.


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