5 Lessons Learned From the Ugliest Website in the World

At HostBaby we love awesome web design. We’re constantly scouring the web for beautifully designed sites to use as inspiration for our custom website templates. Lings Cars (www.lingscars.com) is not one of these sites. It may very well be one of the most obnoxious, confusing, and aesthetically challenged websites that exists online. And we respect that. In a way, Ling’s Cars has transcended bad design and become an entertaining curiosity in itself.  It’s actually somewhat fun to click through the labyrinth of pages and odd bits of humor that make up her site.

That being said, I’m not sure I’d want to spend the time figuring out how to buy a car on lingscars.com; it would probably give me a headache.  And a headache is probably not what most website owners want to induce with their web design. That’s why this site is a great example of some of the things you should avoid at all costs when you create a website.


1. Don’t Bombard Your Visitors

ugliest website animationLingscars.com is full of things that blink, flash, strobe, and pop. The website is a virtual barrage of animated cartoons and flashing lights, widgets, and all manner of roll overs and goofy surprises. In fact, if I were you, I’d limit animations to just shy of zero. Why, you ask?

1. It’s distracting. When someone lands on your website, they are already at your disposal. There is no need to overwhelm them with things that spin and blink or scroll.
2. It’s confusing. What are your visitors supposed to look at? Everything is shouting at them at once.
3. It looks like spam. We all hate spam.

2. Don’t Go Crazy with Color and Fonts


A color scheme is important to creating a well designed website. Choose your colors and stick with them. The fewer colors, the easier it will be to keep the look and feel of your site consistent. There are actually many great online tools out there for choosing a color scheme for you site. Here is one of my favorites.


Choose a font and stick with it. Integrating too many type styles will make your site look messy and hard to read. If you do use multiple fonts, make sure to use them in a consistent way. For instance, you could use one font for titles or headers and another for body copy.

 3. Don’t Weigh Down Your Website with Links

You don’t need hundreds of links per page. Nobody does. Think about how your website should be organized. What are the most important and least important links?. Where would you like your visitors to click first and where would you like them to go next?

Figure out what your 3-10 most important pages or content categories are and make those your main navigation. Then create subcategories beneath your main categories. People are used to this kind of hierarchy and it will be easy for them to find what they need.


4.Don’t Put it All on Your Homepage


Ling’sCars homepage will go down in history of as one of the most horrifically stuffed homepages ever conceived. Don’t do this. Don’t do anything even close to this. Ask yourself, what do I want visitors to do when they land on my site?” Do you want your visitors to sign up to your newsletter? buy something? Read your blog? Leave a comment? Choose a few of your most important goals and provide content (videos, pictures, text) that will inspire your visitors to take the appropriate action.

A well organized website, with clear intent will reward you with more visits and more sales.


5. Don’t Forget About the User

Lingscars.com spends a lot of time self-aggrandizing. There are articles about Ling, awards, interviews, testimonials. This is all fine and great. Testimonials and awards establish credibility, but you also have to consider your website visitor. What’s in it for them? How will your website satisfy a need they have? This is especially important in how you write copy. Instead of saying “I just wrote an awesome article about myself” you could say “This article will really brighten your day. I promise.” Sometimes simply shifting your focus to the user can increase sales and interactions on your website.

What other lessons can be learned from lingscars.com? Have you ever seen a more convoluted site? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

P.S. LingsCars is a real hoot and a legit business site in the UK. Sometimes you can succeed by breaking the rules. Just be sure to know the rules before you break them.

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15 comments to 5 Lessons Learned From the Ugliest Website in the World

  • Rick

    Creativity doesn’t have boundaries defined by trite designers. The purpose of Lingscars.com is to create money. It does that beautifully.

  • True. I Love Lingscars for its creativity and humor. But I also thought it would be a good way to highlight some basic design principles. We are all artists here. We know it’s best to know the rules and break them when it makes sense.

  • Eleventy-One

    The concept that everyone is a designer is the actual problem. You can make funny, clever, or beautiful sites that are still easy to understand, uncluttered , and deliver pertinent information without hitting people in the face like a bad local used car commercial… and if understanding what organized and elegant mean as far as design is concerned, then I guess good designers are trite.

  • Steven Cravis

    I agree with Eleventy-One
    about making sites easy to understand, and I want to add : Being compatible with Apple iOS and Android smart mobile devices is crucial now if musicians want to make more money. Consider that there are now millions of iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches being used to view sites. You wouldn’t want them all to see a blank space when they view your site (I’m currently transitioning my own site off of Flash-only since this is a problem that can be solved.) That means music players cannot be Flash, or they can be in Flash if the code has a fall back to HTML5.

  • The most important error a brand can make is to design a website without thinking of its audience. Independent artists, in particular, are pros at this. And they hate it when you don’t praise their stuff.

  • Nice. Thanks Steven. HostBaby’s new music player is also compatible with mobile and tablet devices.

  • djsmith9

    If you want to create the web equivalent of a velveteen painting of dogs playing poker, you should know that you’re going to attract that kind of audience. It’s as simple as that.

  • Those four websites look great. I love the purple too. My favorite color.

  • Coach Antonio

    bring back the splash page option and listbaby developers need to take some tips from Aweber
    -Coach Antonio

  • PatanjaliS

    Read Colin Wheildon’s ‘Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making Pretty Shapes’ for how carefully selecting typographical elements, like font, whitespace, colour et al, can make sure viewers understand what you are trying to get across, rather than turning them off:
    The stats from his comprehension research into various elements really makes it easy. I even used its principles to design our CD cover.

  • Alvin

    As the most successful online car leasing site in the UK I am guessing Ling knows something others dont.

  • Oh I’ve had a great time on Ling’s site as well. It’s definitely quite a curiosity and her personality comes right through.

  • Mr. karx

    To me there’s to much going on. There’s even to much to be considered as bad entertainment.

  • Hey Chris

    That’s definitely a funky website.

    So I had to add lesson number 6. Don’t be afraid to go ugly. lol

    It takes a lot of effort to build an ugly website. How much work did that take? They certainly forgot about the user. But in a sense, they’ve gotten a whole lot of attention for their super-duper ugly website. That might be the future for bands who want to stand out online who are a little bit quirky. haha


  • The problem is that this web site is so bad it’s good.
    Not that I would try to copy the style.

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