The history about The Useless Web Index
How everything started
The useless web index started in 2015 after having a hilarious lunch break with some colleagues at work. We stranded on a new colleague´s website and had to laugh the rest of the day. The page is www.internetkatze.de and it´s about the cats of a former colleague.
This website was absolutely useless and is still a lot of fun. So the idea was born to collect useless websites and "the useless web index" founded.
As this project started it was nothing but a database and a simple list on a subdomain. It quickly became clear that the collection had to be made public to share these pages with others. The domain www.theuselesswebindex.com was born. By now this project devoured hours and days to get optimized and developed, increase the number of users and analyze statistics.
New area: Most Useless Websites
At the beginning there was just a short text and a simple button that promoted a random useless website to the user, but it was clear quickly that The Useless Web Index had to offer more for recurring ones. Therefore the area called "the most useless websites" was born. Since then a new useless, pointless or weird website is presented every week to get the users back to the page.
Involve users to become part of the project
After the initial phase, the question arose of how to involve users in the project. Two ideas emerged from this question:
- A form that allows the user to submit a useless, pointless or weird website. The only requiered field is for the website the user want to submit. If he wants to be informed as soon as his suggested website is added to the index he can fill in his e-mail address.
- The user should be allowed to talk about the most useless website we present every week. To not reinvent the wheel the service of Disqus was integrated.
404 Error Page
Thanks to Google Analytics and the analysis of the collected data, the bounce rate could be reduced and the backlinks increased. Both factors for an improvement of the SEO. But how was that achieved? After analyzing the data, it was noticed that the user bounce rate was relatively high for a 404 error. To achieve a better value here, a unique, memorable and funny error page was created. Two values could be optimized: the visitor stayed longer on the page and the bounce rate was reduced.
As a positive side effect, the backlinks have increased. Some blogs wrote about creative, interesting, funny, entertaining and brilliantly designed 404 error pages and mentioned the awesome error page from The Useless Web Index.
New Area: Media Coverage
In 2017 Megan Farokhmanesh asked for an interview about The Useless Web Index. She was writing about useless websites for The Verge and want to find out what happens to the internet's most useless websites after their viral fame. After the interview, the question came up, on which other websites The Useless Web Index is linked and what is written about us.
To collect these articles, the new area Media Coverage was created. Here you can also find the article about useless websites on The Verge written by Megan Farokhmanesh.
New function: 5 star rating for the most useless websites
Since november 2017 it is possible to rate the most useless websites by a 5 stars rating system.
Some statistic information
Over time, the project has been able to gather some information with the help of Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google Data Studio. This made it possible to optimize the site and to respond to the wishes of the users.
- 3000 - 3500 daily users, about 2000 users per day on weekends
- usage: 85% desktop, 9% tablet, 6% mobile
- session duration: 6 minutes
- 70% users from USA
Furthermore, it can be seen from the data collected that most visitors visit us during working hours. This finding is further supported by the fact that during the holidays, such as Christmas, Memorial Day, Independence Day or Thanksgiving the number of visitors decreases by up to 50%.