Your Website Annoys People

Your website annoys people, and that’s no way to drum up business!

You understand the importance of being on the Internet so that when people search for you and your business, they can find you. But what are they finding? Will they stay? Or is your website annoying and pushing prospective customers toward your competition?

We live in a global-local world. The other night when we were wondering if there was any live music happening at the community club a mile away, I searched online! I was pleased to see that they had a brand new website!

“Oh cool,” I thought. “They needed an upgrade.” A half of a second later, however, my delight soured. And another minute later, the ONLY reason I stayed on the site, is because I know the place, I like the place, I really wanted to find out what was going on and I am very stubborn!

If I had been a new visitor to the site, I’d have skipped out at first glance. If you don’t want to send your website visitors running, please consider these issues when putting together or upgrading your own sites. Paying careful attention to these issues will help you avoid failure.

Slide Shows

Remember when you would go over to Uncle Fitz’s house, and he would have 10 slide shows set up? You knew right away it would be a long night. He would drone on, “This is when we went to North Dakota. This is the grain elevator. This is the grain that goes into the grain elevator. This is the guy that drives the train to the grain elevator …” Enough already, Uncle Fitz!

Well, when visitors stop at your website and the first thing they see is a slide-show, they get that same sinking feeling. Only you aren’t their uncle, and it’s not impolite to bolt for the exit. They click out of that window as quickly as possible.

Automatic slide shows can be especially annoying. They will inevitably be set to change too quickly or too slowly for your viewers. These will annoy people quicker than your slideshow moves. In general, slide shows are outdated and should be avoided.

Site loads slowly

Photos are great on your website but not when they are slowing the entire operation to a crawl. What do people do when a sites loads too slowly? That’s right. They move on to the competition’s website.

Hidden calendars

If, by the nature of your business, you’ve got a lot of events going on and a calendar is a main feature of your site, it needs to be on the main page or close by, easy to find and easy to use. A clearly visible link to the calendar will suffice as well.

Going back to my example of the community center’s website, I became frustrated during my visit as it took several attempts and a few pages deep to locate the calendar. Finally, I spotted it in a drop-down menu, far down along the list. When my mouse hovered over the word calendar, another drop-down menu appeared to the right. Ah, but when I attempted to move my mouse to that drop-down menu, it vanished.

Site visitors aren’t going to play some twisted whack-a-mole game with your drop-down menus. If they can’t get to the information they are seeking, they will leave.

Fortunately, after a good deal of frustration, I found another work-around and got into the calendar. Unfortunately, however, after all of that effort, I discovered that there were no events that night. Can you imagine my dismay?

404 error messages

One of the most frustrating things a visitor will encounter on a site is a page that doesn’t exist. These will pop up as 404 errors when you click on a broken link. Pay attention to your SEO by using a tool like Moz to uncover these types of errors and fix them by redirecting or the like.

404 SEO mistakes

Speed and simplicity

Most searches conducted on the web are seeking either an answer to a question or a solution to a problem. Searchers want to know what the answer is to the question in the simplest, fastest, most accurate form, and they want to know if can you help them? Oh, and how much does it cost?

Time is a valuable commodity. Don’t waste your site visitors’ time. They are people and their time is of the essence. They don’t have time for links that lead to nowhere and drop-downs that fizzle out. Be sure to provide high-quality, valuable information. Make the tabs and drop-downs simple and obvious. Navigation is not the place to get creative or tricky!

If you have such little respect for visitors’ time, they’ll head right to…well, you know the rest by this point.

Auto-play videos  

Videos on pages that starting playing automatically are really irritating. I actually contacted a company the other day and complained because their ad kept showing up on the side of my email, and when I would move the cursor to open my email this thing would start blaring its message about some plumbing service that I do not need and do no not want to be forced to hear about! It was terribly disruptive, and if I had not been in the privacy of my own home, and the ad starting blasting out its message in a public place can you imagine my embarrassment?

If you are including video, please give visitors the option of starting it manually.

Publish one story over a series of pages

Lately, it seems to be popular to publish one story over a series of pages. Site visitors are presented with a short blurb that entices them to click over to read the rest of the article, but instead find themselves on another page with links to share to Facebook, to other stories we might like, to ads, to everything EXCEPT the rest of the story, which was the original draw!

If you are doing a piece, even with a number of photos, it’s best to keep it to one page if possible.

Mobile unfriendly

Google is slapping sites that are not mobile-friendly, and it’s about time. Even if rankings weren’t an issue, consider your prospective customers. People are only willing to pinch and zoom and zoom and pinch for so long on your site before they shut it down and lose interest.

Hidden Contact Information

Make your contact information easy to find and accessible. If you are in business, you need to have contact information. Not hidden or buried where no one can find it. If you have no way for me to contact you, it’s hard to trust you. What happens if the customer has a bad experience and needs to contact you? It doesn’t bode well that you aren’t making it easy for them before they even make a purchase.

So to sum it all up, you put your website up so that people can find you. This is why it’s critical to ensure that their first impression isn’t one of annoyance. As they say, you only have one first impression. Make your site user-friendly, full of value and a place where your customers and prospective customers will bookmark to return!

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Patt Timlin
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32 thoughts on “Your Website Annoys People”

  1. Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to look it over.
    I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my
    followers! Outstanding blog and terrific design.

  2. You hit on some good points Patt. Often, we do not think through the eyes of our readers. I made big changes on my blog over the past month by listening to my readers, by processing their feedback and by seeing my blog through their eyes. Not always comfortable but only through the eyes of ego.


  3. Along with having technical skills, the designer should be persevering with his/her schooling with the intention to keep up with the latest applied sciences and requirements to avoid making these mistakes.

  4. What a great, well-written article! It was really valuable – I will keep all the points in mind when I design my new website. You nailed all my pet peeves, especially the hard to find contact information. I just experienced one where the only way to contact someone who provided a service I really wanted was to fill in the blanks and hope that they reached her through cyberspace. She then sent me her phone number via email, and proceeded to type it incorrectly. Luckily I had met her and knew she was worth the extra effort to email back asking for the correct number.

    • Thanks Sandi Park! I recently needed to contact someone who sent a FAX with their letterhead and their phone number was incorrect. No website. Just incredible for this day and age. Took forever to find how to contact him and if I didn’t HAVE to, I would have gone on …

  5. You give pearls of wisdom. Your advice will help many a web designer, especially entrepreneurs with small businesses who are juggling all the balls. Thanks for sharing!

  6. You give pearls of wisdom. Your advice will help many a web designer, especially entrepreneurs with small business who are juggling all the balls. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I wish designers would take the time to peruse their own work on a wide variety of equipment. What looks great on your monster monitor is inaccessible on my Kindle and incomprehensible on my friend’s latest smartphone. And if the search feature automatically pulls up the overstocked socks you’re dying to unload (after I’ve neatly typed in the word “skirt”) – I’m gone.

    • Love it Lisa Pickens! I was having a similar argument with a site yesterday. It kept insisting that I wanted something that o really didn’t! I left. Problem is, they don’t know that we left.

  8. Patt, very informative and so true. It is very annoying when you get on a website to quickly look up something and it takes 20 minutes to find what you are looking for like your example of the calendar.

    • Sue Mezzano, EVERYthing in my life that is supposed to take 5 minutes takes 20 so it makes it even more frustrating when something on the internet (which we equate with ‘instantaneous’) should take so long. Sometimes people think they are being creative putting tabs on the bottom or in a circle in the corner – why would I click that?! It needs to be clear and simple and quick!

  9. Patt,

    What great points you make in this post! We just went mobile friendly a few months back and it has made a big difference for our clients. The contact info is the most frustrating for me. Thanks for the heads up! The website is always a moving target but it is so important!

    • Yes, Theresa Snyder, so true … websites are moving targets. The internet changes every minute and we do our best to keep up. It’s a good idea to have someone check the site as if they were a customer. As we see from all the comments, the consensus it that people don’t complain much. They just move on.

    • Sharyn, I left off the one with the pop-up that will not let you read the site and will not let you X-out! Forcing me to give my email to get off the site is really not gaining any points!

  10. I can relate to ALL of these points Patt! They can be very frustrating, especially trying to find hidden contact information.I will close out of the website and move onto the competitors.

    • Yes, Jayna Fontillas, the hidden or non-existent contact information has got to be one of my biggest peeves! If businesses realized how many customers they are losing for these reasons, they would change them. Maybe all websites should come with a “your website annoys me” button!

  11. Patt…this is BRILLIANT! Every point is exactly correct…I really hope a lot of website designers take head to your advice!

  12. Patt, I am quite impressed. This was quite informative and well written. I think there are many sites out there written by Uncle Fitz. Great advice. Thanks.

    • Brent Marchant, I hope that as well as consolidating the pet peeves I gave some ideas to folks setting up or upgrading sites on how to make them better! Thanks for stopping in!

  13. Very Informative Patt. I have experienced a lot of these situations while on different sites and have done exactly what you said, gone on to the next site. As a Realtor I have had clients say that they do not click on to virtual
    tours because it takes to long to load them. I not longer do the virtual tours because of that very fact. Thanks for the info and keep it coming.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Liz Muscare! I always like the virtual tours out of plain nosiness! But often it does take a lot of time to load. So often people are on phones or tablets now too where a video can use up data plans and battery in a few minutes!

  14. Good points, Patt. Thanks! Can’t tell you how many times I have backed out of a website because it’s functionality was non-existent, or it was just too much work and time to continue.

    • Thanks Ginny Mulligan! It’s too bad that with all the analytic features that track website, there wouldn’t be a gadget that would say, “look bud, every time a visitor clicks on this photo, they leave” because we might look there to see what’s going wrong and fix it. Unfortunately, the gadgets are not that clear in their advice and people don’t let us know. They simply leave.


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