Want to know the best way to keep visitors coming back to your site? Make it super user-friendly. Not much of a secret, I know, yet despite the fact that user-friendly websites retain more visitors and earn higher conversion rates, many continue to feature design, marketing, and content elements that are decidedly not user-friendly. If you’re a web designer or marketer, encourage your clients to refrain from including the following 10 annoying things websites refuse to stop doing.
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Table of Contents
1# Bury information
Ever go to a website with a single determined purpose, only to have trouble finding the page you were looking for? Burying information under mounds of links or misleading navigation not only makes it difficult to take action; it makes it even hard to make sales.
I enjoy minimalism. Short, yet descriptive copy. Images that match the tone. And clear-cut navigation (never too many links!). But some websites oversimplify everything. Nothing aggravates me more than a website that doesn’t even care to explain its purpose, or its benefit to the user. Some web designers are guilty of this. They post largely unimpressive websites that essentially say they design, and do not even include a portfolio. I have to wonder how they ever attract clients! Minimalism is good, but make sure your purpose and benefits are clearly stated.
3# Vague requests for money
Some websites promise great benefits and ask clients to sign up without ever telling them how they will help them achieve those benefits. There’s a missing piece that bridges benefits to sale. Take the time to explain to customers exactly why you’re the best choice before you ask for their money.
4# No “next step”
When you’re on a website and wondering what to do next, you’ve found a design that’s guilty of this. Make sure you include a clear call to action with an expected reaction – what you will do for your customers in return for their money, email address, etc. Never leave customers wondering what to do next.
5# Pop-up ads
Seriously? Popup ads are inane and archaic. If you want me to sign up or buy, convince me with compelling content.
6# Wait! Are you really sure you want to leave this page?
If you’ve seen this (or a similar) popup, then you’re familiar with the red rage that makes you want to strangle the webmaster in question to within an inch of life, then revive him and do it again. If I didn’t want to leave the page, I wouldn’t have closed the browser window!
There’s nothing wrong with a video on your website, and perhaps even a bit of audio. But if it plays automatically, it’s a supreme annoyance. Look, it isn’t 1999 anymore.
8# Required signups
Websites that force users to share their personal contact information are excruciatingly annoying, especially when they require more than an email address. If I need something physically shipped to me, I’ll give you my home address. If you want comments on your blog, stop putting up barriers to participation.
9# Over SEO’d copy
Maybe you have a site that sells red toy fire trucks. That’s right, red toy fire trucks. Red toy fire trucks are neat. Red toy fire trucks can be found on your website. Red toy fire trucks… you get the point. Knock it off.
10# BS testimonials
Dan S. from Newport says you have the best service ever. Rachel T. from New York says you helped her save hundreds of dollars. Who are these people? Nobody, that’s who. Either use real, verifiable testimonials or cut them altogether. It’s your own credibility at stake.
Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint.