Brian Dean Web Design Fail
Web Design Fail By Back Link Guru, Brian Dean

Web Design Isn’t Easy And We All Make Mistakes

We do, all, make mistakes. We are flawed human beings. It happens to all of us, eventually. It’s just when it happens to Brian Dean, famed backlink guru of the web, well it really doesn’t matter. We found a web design fail on his site. Actually, we found a couple – but it doesn’t hurt him one bit.

See, Brian has a handle on one very specific and niche element of Google’s search algorithm to a level that is unmatched. Even if you can find mistakes on his site, it really doesn’t hurt his search rankings. is the best place to go to learn the most about proper backlinking when trying to win the ranking wars in search.

Web Design Fail You Can’t Afford To Make

While it is ok that Brian Dean made this mistake, you shouldn’t. Following Brian’s techniques and methods will gain you traffic and success on your website (and on YouTube – the man is so versatile), but you should review all of Google’s organic search (check out our pay-per-click advice, as well) considerations when building and maintaining your site. We simply can’t all have the success of a Brian Dean.

So What Is The Web Design Fail Made On Brian Dean’s Site?

Oh! Yeah! Well, first of all the site doesn’t have SSL. Google rewards sites with SSL in search. As with many of Google’s criteria it provides only a minor bump, but still, it’s a bump. Soon enough, it adds up.

Notice in the image below, there is no padlock preceding the domain name in the browser.

Backlinko Web Design Fail - No SSL

The image below is from my browser visiting my domain. Notice the padlock.

Stupidcat Has The Padlock Showing It As A Secured Site

I am not the best graphic designer in the world. I am not the best web designer or developer in the world. However, my career has centered around User Experience and development of large-scale, successful websites. So, when there are small issues like this, they stand out to me.

But alas, even I make mistakes. Many of them. If you peruse through my site, you will find mistakes. I want to make that clear. However, if you are developing a small business site where every little bit helps, try not to miss out on the consistency of things.

On the first page of blog archives, I noticed the large orange “Continue Reading” buttons on each of his blog entries. Well, I noticed them on all but one.

Not A Web Design Fail - A Nice Big Button With Proper CTA

Yes, there is one entry that doesn’t have the orange button. Why, Brian? Why? Where is the button? It is missing.

The Backlinko Web Design Fail

But when you’re Brian Dean, a web design fail like this doesn’t really matter.

As I reviewed the summarized blog entries I noticed the titles do not appear to be clickable as there is no visual reference such as color or underline providing a signal that you can click it. The big orange “Continue Reading” button is a clear sign of a clickable element.

Had the titles clearly presented as links, the missing button would have mattered even less.


Brian Dean has fixed the issue we found and reported here.

Brian Dean Revives The Orange Button

I found the repair during my normal weekly visit to read his blog. (You should be reading his blog…it is amazing!) Yet, in reading the blog I did notice an issue we pointed out earlier in the first run of this article.

In his post titled, “Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List“, Brian Dean asserts that HTTPS is a Google ranking signal, yet his own site doesn’t use it.

HTTPS Is A Ranking Signal For Google

I am in awe of Dean’s techniques and respect his success. But I admit, I am perplexed by the lack of HTTPS on his site. Admittedly, I am not the SEO that he or others are. In fact, you could say I am bottom of the barrel with it. However, that’s what this site is all about! We are going to continue to learn together.

Have you seen a web design fail, recently? (Yea, even if it’s on my site – Pip made it, so I am sure it has a ton of mistakes) Let us know in the comments.