Your Website is Letting You Down

With Karl and I in the process of moving house, I have decided to indulge a little in one of my few obsessions: clocks. Since I was younger I have had this unexplainable need to know the time, and to have access to an accurate timepiece. I check my watch even if I already know the time; I constantly plot and re-plot my schedule (and still turn up late to work) down to the last minute. Anyway, Amazon’s range is a little slim so I searched on Google, and found Sendaclock.

Sendaclock have a fascinating range of clocks, and I’ve already spotted 3-4 that I am incredibly tempted to buy. However, there’s one thing putting me off: their website. Have a look for yourself, you’ll see what I mean. Lime green and yellow, default blue links and a <blink> tag of all things. It just doesn’t give off a professional “aura”, and thus I find it hard to put my trust — and money — in their business.

I understand that these types of website are usually done in house, probably by someone with no interest or training in web design or knowledge of the ways of the PHP Ninja. On a personal level this reminds me of my own beginnings in HTML but on a professional level it makes me cringe, because I know that so much could be done for this site even on a small budget.

Without the trust of the consumer to make the “scary” initial purchase — particularly on the web, but equally relevant in store — what do we have to drive those sales? I hope Sendaclock know the answer to that question.

affiliate window advert

42 comments so far

  1. Phil said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 8:52 am

    I’d buy from them because they use the blink tag! It brings back a sense of nostalgia from a web gone by. Just because it’s near impossible to look at the site for more than 10 seconds at a time without getting a headache is no reason not to purchase from them. (Just checked the source of the page too, did you see this, wrapping the rest of the site: … beautiful!)

  2. Jem said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Any HTML will have been removed Phil – were you referring to the ’96 style font tags?

  3. Katy said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 9:36 am

    eurgh, I’ve only just got up and my sleepy eyes are quite offended. I want a 24 hour analogue clock. If such a thing exists.

  4. Hayley said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 9:57 am

    I’m so glad it’s not just me.

  5. Rilla said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 10:33 am

    I actually never knew a blink tag existed… *is nub*

  6. Grax said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Time for the php ninjas to offer their service to this website. The php ninjas would accept clocks as payment for this particular case.

  7. Vera said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I never knew there was a blink tag.. I thought that was done with some js… :-\ Blink tag aside, it’s using a lime green background. Now come ON: doesn’t the webmaster have eyes?? At all?!

  8. Charlie said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Red on lime green?! Ouch. I had to look away at least three times before I’d managed to read the header text.

  9. Karl said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 11:56 am

  10. Ashley said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    It is true that the website was probably done in house. In the school district I work in, each school’s technology coordinator is in charge of creating/updating the school’s website. This is one of my jobs. Out of 14 schools in the district, I’d say maybe 2 other schools (not including mine) have decent enough websites. It’s horrific. Most tech. coordinators don’t know anything about web design. School websites are the absolute worst. The local public library website is atrocious too. I’ve actually emailed them several times about their horrible website. So, yeah, your clock website looks pretty bad, but the company itself is probably okay. It’s just too bad they don’t care enough about their business to make their website look more professional. They do have some neat clocks though!

  11. Mumblies said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    OMG that’s bright! Some nice clocks there though :o)

  12. Amelie said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    This reads like a PPP you know.

  13. Lene said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    The clocks they sell look great, but their website looks very unprofessional. I don’t think I’d buy from them either :S

  14. Annie said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    My eyes! I’m seeing squares now, heh.

  15. Rhys said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Eurgh. I’m in pain! Should ofer to do their site up ;) That being said, if you get rid of the punctuation, it’s quite well SEO’d :)

  16. Peter Green said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks Jem… now I have sick all down my front and over the keyboard, that site is truly awful! You have had the same reaction as I did when I saw a friends website a few years back, and I had to say something. Now I administer his website… for free, ha ha! I think you should offer some help to this company and as Grax said, maybe take some clocks as payment!

  17. Angela said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    OMG! I went to that and was blinded :(. I play MMO’s so much I have my monitor lighting turned up slightly more then your average person and that site killed me eyes :(.

  18. Cine said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    To be quite honest, I really don’t believe the fact that it was done in-house is a good enough excuse – whether or not you have experience making webpages, it should be easy to tell that THOSE colors don’t work well together, if with anything! Seriously. When I made my first web page at 10, it looked a billion times better than that. (not by that much, though. I thought #FFFF00 was a very nice background color at that time.) Now, the fact that it was made by a in-house employee suffering for a severe case of Achromatopsia, is on the other hand more likely. But this raises a very serious question: Who the fuck lets a monochromat make their webpage? :S

  19. Meg said:
    On February 29, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    It doesn’t look *that* bad if you just chop off the entire header… or am I being too nice? They do have some amazingly cute clocks!

  20. Melissa said:
    On March 1, 2008 at 2:34 am

    Jem, this comment may seem completely random and not related to your blog topic… but I just wanted to let you know I finally got rid of Waks Ask&Answer! I switched to PHPAskIt. And let me tell you… I LOVE IT! I was going to try yours, but I guess you’re still doing some work on it. Anyway I just wanted to let you know since you recommended I switch over and I finally did!

  21. V said:
    On March 1, 2008 at 6:16 am

    Whenever I see businesses with websites like that, I can’t take them seriously or, in some cases, I’m weary of them actually being a legit business in the first place. I’ve also been looking at loads of universities as I’m going to transfer soon and some have the WORST websites. How am I supposed to trust you to educate me when you can’t scrape together a half-way decent website? Particularly for universities with design or computer science departments.

  22. Christine said:
    On March 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    mergle. my eyes *squint* yah, that’s pretty bad… but i’m imagining a little old clock maker man trying to code a site and thinking lime green might be hip or something. the image is cute in my head and makes up for the horrid design.. a little. … until i take a second look and go blind again ~_~ some of the clocks are super cute tho.

  23. Amber said:
    On March 1, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    I feel that all the time too. I find a really cool site, then I hesitate putting money into their hands because they look amateurish.

  24. Chans said:
    On March 2, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    I see what you mean, I would have a hard time trusting this company just by looking at their website. You see it a lot though, I’m currently trying to find online stores to by beads and Swarovski from for my jewelery and I see a lot of pretty stones, but unfortunately I don’t trust the stores much due to their websites.

  25. Linda said:
    On March 2, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but is the glitter generator from sugaryparadise . net / tutorials/ coding/glitergen.php yours? The form.php looks the same to me, but I don’t know about the php parts. If it’s not yours, nevermind. XD I just didn’t see a credit.

  26. Carly said:
    On March 2, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Yeah, I have to completely agree with everything you’re saying there! I’d be reluctant to buy from there too, as I half expect to look up and find ‘geocities’ somewhere in the URL. It looks more like a half arsed spam site then a professional business site. I know that even a small budget could buy an aspiring college or university student to redesign it… most would be willing to work for peanuts for exprience and for something to put in their portfolio!

  27. J said:
    On March 3, 2008 at 12:26 am

    I do freelance web design and I agree. The worst part is, some companies really just like tacky stuff. I may build them a respectable site, but they will find ways to make it look cheap. The customer is always right (haha yeah right) and I get paid, but it’s frustrating to have to ugly up something pretty and clean.

  28. Montoya said:
    On March 3, 2008 at 2:55 am

    Augh! My eyes! My eyes!!!

  29. Melle said:
    On March 3, 2008 at 6:20 am

    Oh god! The first clock on the picture for the “Children’s Clocks” was the EXACT clock I had growing up! I had to purchase it immediately. I had to have that. I am so happy you posted that link. I almost cried when I saw it.

  30. Vanesa said:
    On March 4, 2008 at 12:22 am

    I actually never knew a blink tag existed… *is nub* Me neither…I just saw it blink and never wondered how it’s done. It’s a good thing almost no one uses anymore…

  31. Robbie said:
    On March 4, 2008 at 12:37 am

    Hehe, it’s funny about the red on lime green, because while not as bad, your Mint Choc Chip layout (which I love and use to view your site) uses a lime green background and red header.

  32. Jem said:
    On March 4, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Your screen must be really bust Robbie, if those colours look even remotely similar to you o.O

  33. Kaylee said:
    On March 5, 2008 at 3:32 am

    I haven’t seen the blink tag in so long! I miss it. How bad would it be if I used it in my next design?

  34. Phil said:
    On March 5, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Aww… my HTML was stripped. I meant the center div align=”center” center /center /div /center that wrapped everything, though the font tags are lovely too :D

  35. Matt Lovell said:
    On March 5, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Hi Guys I think you are forgetting stuff here. I have had the privilege to know Roy, the owner of sendaclocks for a few years now. I host his site and installed his shopping basket. Yes I am not a fan of his site, yes my thoughts were same as yours when I first saw it. But it has taught me a valuable lesson and one I share with many of my other clients all of whom are in ecommerce. Dont knock diversity. Most of us prefer nice clean shopping malls, but others don’t. There is a space and need out there for difference. I was frankly gobsmacked at how many people chose to buy from Roy. He’s in his mid seventies and has built this site using front page. He’s learnt it all himself and continually updates the site. He runs a fab shop in Guernsey and has a HUGE amount of experience in his field. We are going to update the store in a few weeks, but I can tell you the colour scheme is staying, the look and feel wont be altered. Ok the code will rock and the seo will be fab, but the design…. Why make this special store smooth and “professional”? Roy does his thing and his clients buy his clocks in big numbers. Make him same as the others, again why? You may disagree, you can go shop elsewhere, but I’m telling you we should cherish these stores, built by frankly nice guys who want to keep the spirit of independent shopping alive. Roy kindly gave me a Bunny clock in return for some work on the basket. My 9 year old son loves it. Jem my advice to you is give roy a call and buy some of his clocks. Your shopping experience will be so much richer than anything Amazon has to offer. Even better close you eyes and imagine you are walking into the Guernsey Lighthouse store. Have a good one Matt

  36. Casey said:
    On March 6, 2008 at 8:40 am

    They sell clocks whata you expect?

  37. Vera said:
    On March 6, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Matt: err… great, that he knows to use FrontPage, even better that you want to improve his coding. But FFS why not make a better design if possible? Horrible color combinations NEVER attract visitors. Just think of it, if the site looked better he’d have more visitors.

  38. Matt Lovell said:
    On March 6, 2008 at 10:17 am

    @vera I apologise for the long post – I think my point was that having a better design might NOT attact more visitors. This site has defied all my experience. As a developer this breaks all the rules. But somehow it works extremely well. And that makes me think, wow what am I missing. Is there an untapped market of lime green lovers? If i convinced roy to do a really cool grey, slick site would that make him just look ordinary and boring. Making this look like an Oscommerce site, would that be more trustworthy? I am not disputing any of the poitns made here, they are all fair. What I wanted to point out is that this is a SUCCESSFUL site. It would be easy to go yeuck this must be rubbish. Did you know 9-12% of the male population has colour deficency? So when i rewrite his site in validated html and decent css, do you think I really should change the colours?

  39. Vera said:
    On March 6, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    I’m thinking that his work is very good, which is why people visit his site, despite its look. In any case, an eye-pleasing design never hurt anyone.

  40. Katy said:
    On March 7, 2008 at 8:14 am

    I find it sad when businesses can’t even get a nice, professional website up to advertise and promote their company online. I mean if it was a personal website or a blog I would understand because most individuals don’t have the skills or money to design something amazing … but a business? Content IS what SHOULD matter on a company website so many companies just don’t give a crap about the design part but isn’t it obvious what first impressions count too? It doesn’t have to be perfect, but come on, at least keep up with the current trends (colors, fonts, etc).

  41. Lissy said:
    On March 7, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Gah! My eyes! My eyes! Not as bad as the site my office mate showed me yesterday. It’s where she gets her Indian soap operas from or something. Dark blue text on a blue background *shivers* …ok, no, maybe the lime green’s worse

  42. Rebecca said:
    On March 10, 2008 at 12:45 am

    Ah, my eyes! The clock website is hideous. I think my monitor is crying too. The website is what makes me buy anything from company X. For example: adagio.com. A tea site that sells tea (O RLY?). I bought something from the site because it was a lovely piece of work! If it looked like the clock site, I don’t think I would have even looked a around for any amount of ‘time’ (harhar).