Truly Dreadful Websites – Part 2

This is part of an occasional series looking at some of the poorer websites found on the web today. For the first post, click here.

Today, we’re going to look at the navigational nightmare that is http://www.1001pens.com/ OK, it’s not as offensively bright as the last site we looked at but it’s still so bad that it’s going to scare away lots of potential customers.

1001Pens

Starting from the top it’s not too bad – some handy drop downs, a search function and a menu with some random links. Not a great start, but we’ve seen worse and if you’re looking for a particular pen then it might even work since you can avoid the rest of the home page.

However, below this it starts to get worse. First there’s a picture of a book which you’re invited to click on, even though you’ve no idea what it’s about. If you’ve come to buy a pen then why would you want to buy a book? Then you can chat with Max, who we must assume is the owner of the site. Then there are some pens but also a poster you can order. OK, that’s a bit weird – I don’t want a book or a poster, but we’ll press on…

Next, we have a welcome to the site and a huge wad of text stuck inside a textarea which is barely readable. That’s not good. Surely the welcome should be one of the first things you see? And the textarea is just a complete mess which shouldn’t be there at all.

After this, it all goes to pot a bit with various links, contact details, animations and more links. In fact, there are thousands of links – many of which lead to pages which say “Sorry, no Products this Collection”. If that’s the case then why have the links?

As for the rest of the home page layout, it just seems to be a totally random collection of pens. It’s a complete nightmare to use this site!

Also, if you click some of the links – perhaps to the pen nib gallery or to the waterman galleries then it’s impossible to get back to the home page unless you click the back button.

Now, the really sad thing about this site is just how good it could be. I have no idea who Max is but I’m pretty sure Max loves his pens and if you were to ask Max a question about a pen he could keep you there for hours with various facts and figures about this pen.

Also, if you search for ‘antique fountain pens’ then there’s Max’s site near the top of the Google rankings. I’m pretty sure that he gets a LOT of traffic but far less sales from his website because it’s such a soul destroying experience trying to use the site. Not only is it difficult to use but it makes Max look like a completely amateur, when I suspect the truth is actually the complete opposite. But if you look like an amateur then no one is going to want to buy from you.

In this case, what Max needs is to spend a little bit of money on getting a decent web designer into sort out a logical layout for the website and design a really professional looking site. I’m certain that Max would make his money back very quickly through increased sales from his website.

This is a classic example of a great business let down by a poor website. Max probably felt that he could save some money by doing the website himself. In fact, he’d make far more money if he’d got it done properly in the first place.

Have you seen any Truly Dreadful Websites? Post them in the comments and I’ll take a look.