4 Key Design Blunders That Can Turn People Off

Design is one of the most important details that you need to pay attention to.

Even Derek Halpern says that it’s more important than content nowadays.
As soon as your readers visit your blog, before they even read your content, they will either trust or distrust you based on your web design. There are a lot of design mistakes out there and you need to avoid them and learn how to make your readers trust you even before they start reading your content.

To do this, you’ll want to learn how to create a great design that hooks people immediately.

In this post, you’ll learn how to avoid those design blunders and focus on the key areas that can make people trust you and won’t turn them off.

So let’s dive in.

1- Cluttered Web Design:

When people stumble on a cluttered looking webpage, they go crazy. They get overwhelmed.

By “clutter,” I mean social media badges, ads, and the like.

It turns people off, all the time.

So go over to your blog’s sidebar, and remove all unnecessary widgets there.

3-4 is enough. Maybe it’s more than enough.

All you need is a subscribe box, a “Popular Posts” widget, a way to share some of your resources, and maybe an “About the Author” box. You don’t need more than that.

So that’s the first point here: Eliminate Clutter from your design. Make everything simple and minimal.

2- Still using 12-point font instead of 14:

As Derek Halpern says,  “Size 14 is the new size 12.”

Many people distrust a website because fonts are too small. It seems ridiculous that this affects the design. I also thought this at the beginning but later on, I learned why.

The reason why many people may distrust your website is that when they’re looking for new information, they don’t know if what you’re telling them is true or not. So they resort to things they’re more comfortable with, like font size and web design.

If you’re using a 12-point font size, change that to 14-point. You don’t want to turn people off before they even read your content.

Sometimes designers say that smaller is cooler, but this only makes people distrust you.

Remember: the main reason why you’re putting a lot of effort into your design is not just to look cool. You want to convert visitors into subscribers and eventually customers.

3- Having a long line length above the fold:

People prefer shorter line lengths over longer lines. They think they can read the shorter line faster.

So if you have a line that is 360 pixels long, people believe they will read that faster than a 600-pixel line.

They think so, but it’s not actually not true on the internet. Even so, when visitors stumble on your site design with big long lines, they get turned off.

Here’s a simple trick to solve this design problem.

You can have an image that takes up half of your content column above the fold, and then place your text to the left of the image so it seems to your readers that it’s a short line length.

You need to do that for the first few sentences because if people read those sentences, chances are they’re going to read your entire article.

CopyBlogger does this well.

So, you need to remove the barriers to reading those first few sentences in your post, and one of those ways is to limit the line length by including an image that takes up about half of your content column. Simple tip but it can help you improve conversions and make people trust you.

4- Slow speed because of your design:

Amazon did some research and found out that for every one-tenth of a second they increase their load time, their sales dropped by one percent.

I’m not a tech guy. However, there is an easy way to speed up your site. You just need to get a plugin called W3 Total Cache. It’s free and you can install it on your WordPress blog.

It’s that simple.

You can also set up a content delivery network (CDN), which integrates easily into W3 Total Cache.

A CDN’s function is to take your images and any other files that can slow down your server and to load them via the CDN itself, instead of your own server.

That way, the CDN delivers content on your site at a fraction of the bandwidth, and it looks like you load really fast.

There are CDNS out there, such MaxCDN and NetDNA. For most people, it will cost $40/year. It all depends on your traffic. But it’s not that much.

If you want to learn more about how to increase your blog speed, check out these 2 posts.

BONUS: Poor navigation:

The last key that turns people off on your blog is poor navigation. If people can’t find out what they want, obviously they will leave your site.

So if they stumbled upon one of your posts and they don’t want it, make it easy for them to go to the homepage, or to the About page.

Don’t piss them off. Create the navigation that can help them check more of your content. This can really make a difference between a great and bad design.

Watch this video by Lisa Irby of 2 Create a Website called:

Improve Your Earnings & Traffic With a Better Navigation

Last Words:

Design isn’t all about the look. It can be a tool that you can use to make people trust you. It’s what people see before they read your content. Even if your content is epic and can’t be found anywhere else, if your design is horrible then people won’t even look at it.

So now you have the key areas of design that turn people off.

Take Action.

Go and fix them. It’s easier than you think.

Let’s hear from you, how have you improved the design of your blog?


By night, Ahmed Safwan is busy “figuring out how to make blogging simpler, not easier” over at Smart Marketing Boost. By day, he studies to be a dentist. Don’t leave without snagging your free videos on the 3 types of blogs posts that goes viral and the only promotion strategy you need to follow to make sure that your next idea go viral.


  1. I agree to #1, 4 and bonus. However I don’t mind with 12 pt font and 600 px line, as long as there aren’t too many sentences in a paragraph though. :)

    • You need to do all the possible things you can do to make your visitor trust you.

      Also, I remember one time when I asked Ileane for her feedback on my blog. She was thrilled with my fonts being big having long line lenth.

      She said to me that she surf internet a lot. She wants everything to be easier for her. “This was from a year, so I don’t remember the exact text”.

    • font size is a part of typography. Most designer does not give a second thought to typography and according to me it is the most overlooked part of any webdesign.

  2. Cluttered Web Design and poor navigation are so frustrated when it comes to site browsing… No one wants to search through links and pages when there are plenty of sites that have done the work for them. To save face, bring in business, and to make the Internet a better place, remember to cut the clutter.

  3. Just a small addition to the CDN part. I am using Cloudflare at present and its free. Haven’t got any problems till date. First timers can try out the same if you are not in the mood to shell out some cash at the moment. About the post, it was refreshing. Loved the line “You can have an image that takes up half of your content column above the fold, and then place your text to the left of the image so it seems to your readers that it’s a short line length.” Human psychology after all!

  4. Great post, blog design is important, when people come to a good blog design or clean with very less ads and not too much information. People will sure love it and return to see more updates. CopyBloggers’s theme is amazing, it’s so unique, fast speed and one word to describe is beautiful. But StudioPress can really help you do it if you want a better looking theme.

    Thanks – Ferb

  5. With so many websites out there now a days, there is some pretty tough competition. In the old days, people would be forced to stay on your website, even if the design sucked, simply because it was the only website on the internet with the information that the visitor needed.

    Now a days, if someone doesn’t like the design of their site they’re on, they can click that back button, and go to the next one. It’s that easy for them.

    I also think it’s worth mentioning that a nice design entices people to buy as well.

  6. Troy

    Couldn’t agree more with #1- when I come across a site that’s cluttered, I have zero desire to stay any longer than it takes me to hit the close button. Your bonus tip is also right on the money- nothing is more infuriating than a site that doesn’t let you easily find what you’re looking for! Good tips all around, thanks for the post!

  7. Cluttered web design, poor navigation and slow speed are the factors can really turn visitors off and make them never come back to your website. I think the simpler is the better and biggest focus on content. That is a winning formula!

    • “I think the simpler is the better” I really liked these words.

      This is the main idea behind my new upcoming blog To Start Blogging.

      Thanks for your comment Elena.

  8. Hey there Ahmed. Some great points there, especially the line length one. I would like to add that webpage design and overall presentation is important like you mentioned, but some people are more attracted toward tacky, cheap designs. Think of the people who make such themes? They make them because they find them good to look at. I know some people who like to edit their pictures and when they are done editing, trust me the original photos look so much more better without any cheap, tacky flowers and hearts here and there, along with a rainbow on top, etc.

  9. Design and Navigation are really key, I like to keep it as simple as possible. You can’t please everyone, but at least make the visit to your site a more enjoyable one.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Beth :)

  10. Prabhat

    Poor Navigation is where I will consider that where webmasters get lag behind in providing the best user experience which they can. Btw, other points are also fine too :)

  11. Excellent post – this is definitely an area in which I need to work. My blog post titles are not nearly as interesting as they should be.

  12. I need to get focussed on this! I try to do my website friendly to my users so it’s very important what is written here. Thx

  13. Hi Ahmed,

    One of the most important aspects of web-design is “use of colors.” It starts from your LOGO and extends till background of your site.

    You should choose minimum number of colors, which should complement your business, and have the strength to make your readers believe your website.

    It should be pleasant, trustworthy (psychology) and web-safe in nature.

    Thanks :)

  14. Yeah Derek has certainly influenced the blogging world.

    I remember when I first heard about him.. I didn’t really buy his “streamline” approach but now I’ve embraced it wholeheartedly. Less is more!

    I continue to tone down my site when I notice it getting cluttered.

    ~ darlene :)

  15. Also using too many colours in your website is distracting, always use a two colour scheme for your blog. This will enable your first time visitor to gulp your website easily.

  16. Great one from ahmed,to me everything is inclined to trust and your content cos when you have a very unique content as content is the king related to what they are looking for which they cannot find somewhere else,then the trust will keep them coming back.

    • Yes, try to build trust using your design and then start captivating their attention, this is the topic of my next post, so wait for it.

      Thanks for your comment Falola.

  17. Farrell John Conejos

    Hey Ahmed,

    Well, there are a lot of bloggers out there that forgot how useful and powerful a web design can be in generating traffic for the site. Yes, content may be the king but what’s a king if it doesn’t have a beautiful design right? So, proper web site design combined with quality content may mean a 1-2 deadly punch and by that I mean that if this 2 methods are combine, it’s more likely to say that traffic will surely flow to any site with that combination.

  18. It is crazy how something seemingly as insignificant as a font size can put people off but it is definitely true. I always use quite a big font and lots of paragraphs. This helps people digest the information easily and also solves the problem of people viewing the posts through a mobile and not being able to read it :)

  19. Great one from ahmed,to me everything is inclined to trust and your content cos when you have a very unique content as content is the king related to what they are looking for which they cannot find somewhere else,then the trust will keep them coming back

  20. I would go further now and add the ease of use for the massive range of screen sizes, devices and operating systems out there, surely now becoming an essential rather than a choice for most designers

  21. Ahmed,

    Solid, basic however often overlooked points you covered here about ‘de-cluttering’ your blog!

    Being widgets are so damn plentiful and self-gratifying the sidebar is always endangered!

    A periodic and objective review needs to be done routinely for needless clutter no matter how cool the colors may look!


  22. Interesting tips, especially about font size, I may need to update a few things on my blog. Where can I reach someone to give me a blog review? I’d like to get someone to critique mine. Thanks.