Business Website Tips: 10 Things I HATE About Visiting Your Website

business website tips

Small business owners don’t waste money and time building a website that emphasizes the bells and whistles. This type of website rarely generates leads or creates new sales because they frustrate and confuse visitors.

Write down these business website tips: If visitors find it hard to navigate your website, locate information or find it worthless they will quickly click away to your competitor’s website. So just keep it simple.

Yes, it’s 2015 and unfortunately business owners are still using these outdated techniques.

Here are 10 business website tips customers HATE about visiting your website:

1. Flash intros – are only interesting (maybe) the first time you visit a site. Avoid using heavy flash intros because surveys show 80 percent of visitors hate them and they hurt your search engine optimization efforts.

2. Animated GIFs and scrolling text – are a major distraction, especially when they are overused.  Unless an animated GIF or scrolling text complements the information on your page, don’t use them.

3. Distorted pictures – are a dead give-a-way your site was not created professionally. Use a cropping tool to evenly distribute the image dimension or use an image gallery that will automatically crop the images for you during upload.

4. Poor placement of advertisements – are frustrating and annoying. You run the risk of losing high dollars from selling your products or services to an ad that will probably only generate a few pennies.

5. Outdated content – is very unprofessional and shows lack of commitment. Remember if it’s March you don’t want to continue promoting your Christmas event. Use automatic tools like calendars and RSS feeds to keep your event content fresh.

6. Under construction pages – are unnecessary and may cause you to lose business. Create a basic page listing your contact address, phone number, email and add a short paragraph about your products or services then ask the visitor to opt-in to your email list for website updates.

7. Too many choices – are confusing and a confused mind always says no.  Limit your menu choices between 5 and 7 then make sure your navigation appears in the same spot on every page.

8. Too much content – can overwhelm the visitor because no one wants to read a dissertation. Make your website about the visitor by providing them with essential information like the benefits of doing business with you. If needed give them the option to click to learn more.

9. Playing music – is a major annoyance especially when there are no controls to turn it off, mute or lower the volume. Not to mention just because you like the music doesn’t mean your visitor will have the same musical tastes. If there’s not a compelling reason to add music, don’t.

10. Hit counters – are useless because they only track one element of site statistics. Seriously there are plenty of sophisticated, easy to understand and free analytics tools available. You can try Google Analytics or Clicky for a real-time solution.

What are things you hate to find when you visit a website? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo courtesy Flickr: Blakeemrys

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28 Responses to Business Website Tips: 10 Things I HATE About Visiting Your Website

  1. Tonya – shame on you… I can’t believe it … right in the middle of responding – a pop-up ad????

    I have a few other pet hates including the absolute worst one… a disabled ‘back’ button.

    Certainly a subject so close to my heart I’ve even blogged about it myself!

  2. All your tips are right on target. I’m a web designer, fairly new-and these are the no, no’s that we learn. Many small business owners seem to forget about their website once it’s up. also they forget that customers see many websites and it’s like wearing dirty cloths or something in terms of how it reflects on business. So these are helpful points.

  3. Great information and straight to the point. It took me less than five minutes to digest! I agree with most but I do have a Flash intro. And I use it because it gives potential clients a peek at what I do and how good I am! (lol:) I will definitely be re-tweeting and sharing!

  4. As a copywriter, I couldn’t agree more. You’ve demonstrated yet another reason to start a website development project by focusing on content and message.

    As for music: you never know if
    someone’s trying to read your content
    from a quiet corner of a library!

  5. With all the email I get, including discussion topics, a subject has to be pretty compelling to me. Yours was. I agreed with each of your points. I would add also: sites that include a talking representative. How embarrassing is it to be in a public place checking out a site and when you suddenly have to reach for your mute button to silence the “pitchy” voice of some perky spokesmodel. Would love to read your “10 Things you LOVE about visiting your Website” too.
    Lis Golden McKinley
    Oakland organizer

  6. I love the title of your Article Tonya, it’s very catchy! I would like to ad to your list unattractive sites with plain colors, poor graphic content and style can also click your visitors away. On the other hand, websites with hard graphic content, specially used as backgrounds, might also overwhelm your audience and put it on your competitor sites.

  7. As previously mentioned, music and videos that automatically play. I also hate it when’s there’s no personal or contact # on the site, such as “About Us” or “About Me” which means you’re hiding. And 3rd, a really, really old site that attempts to integrate social sharing. The social sharing icons are ill placed, jumbled together, just makes the site, especially if it’s a blog, unattractive.

  8. I really agree with the observations you have here. Thank you for the offerings on your site, and I will use this info as a guide to make my website direct and succinct. Cheers!

  9. Tonya,

    I find it mildly amusing that you share with us an article of Ten Things that you hate about visiting a website, and then violate your own list (#4) by having a pop-up ad show up before you are even able to read any of the content.


    • Jon, keep in mind these are things “I” hate about websites. What I mean in #4 is Google ads, Chitika ads, etc that beginners place on their sites with the hope of making money but in reality they only make a few extra pennies. What they don’t realize is they are driving much needed traffic away from their site.

      In terms of pop ups, “I” hate the ones that play Jedi mind tricks making it hard or confusing to decide whether to click “ok” or “cancel” then another pop up appears. You get suck in an infinite loop of never ending pop ups.

      It’s a known fact, adding a relevant pop up with an invitation to a compelling offer dramatically increasing your opt-in rate, by as much as 500%. But the true science behind it is gauging the timing of when the pop up, well pops up.

      Good thing each person has the right to make their own list of “10 Things I HATE About Visiting Your Website”.

  10. Good article! My biggest pet peeve is websites I visit that will not let me leave or back out without reading an annoying popup asking me if I -really- want to leave. Then I have to dissect the popup jargon to understand whether clicking Cancel or another button will free me from their tangled web. I most certainly do not knowingly return to such a site.

  11. Great tips, Tonya. I would add: poorly written web content that is confusing and filled with corporate jargon. I also hate the headline “Welcome to our website.” – no keywords, no interest, no benefits. Uggh. -Lynda

  12. It bothers me that someone who goes to the trouble of creating a website and puts in updates ignores the site and the last update is two or three years ago. It seems that if you go to the expense of creating a web presence, you should go in periodically and update or clean up the site.

  13. Great advice Tonya! I can’t tell you the number of small business web sites I’ve visited that used one or more of the outdated techniques you listed. Web sites can be powerful marketing tools. Entrepreneurs just have to learn the right way to utilize them. Again, great advice!

  14. I found this article to be very interesting the flash intro and music can be more annoying than eye catching. Trying to read an article that you have to continue to the next page serveral times before getting to the end can be a distraction.