While most people will agree that design is an important factor in building a high-traffic website or blog, there are countless examples on the contrary.

How is it that some sites are able to become massively popular despite their pedestrian or lackluster designs? And, perhaps a better question is: Could those sites be even more popular with an improved design?

The idea of a “good” or “bad” design leaves a lot of room for interpretation. I’ll use the definition of “you know it when you see it” in this collection.

I found 10 excellent examples of popular websites with designs that I thought left a little something to be desired visually. Here they are, 10 massively popular websites with pedestrian designs. Each of these are ranked among the 200 most popular sites in the world, according to Alexa.

Let me know if you agree in the comments.

1. Craigslist

2. The Pirate Bay

3. EzineArticles

4. The Weather Channel

5. MySpace

6. Answers.com

7. Reference.com

8. Wikipedia

9. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

10. PayPal

Does Aesthetics Matter on the Web?

If each of these sites became massively popular despite their dull designs, what exactly is the role of design in building a high-traffic site? Let’s discuss in the comments.

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About the Author

Corbett Barr is the founder and editor of Think Traffic, a blog about building website traffic. He works with business owners to build online audiences and create raving fans. Connect with him on Twitter: @CorbettBarr.