We’ve compiled a list of the most annoying things we’ve seen on websites to act as a guide for what not to do when designing your website. Let’s take a look at the worst offenders!
It takes forever to load
Our shortening attention spans are not just making us check our phones several hundred times per day; they’re also making us really impatient when it comes to waiting for websites to load.
Slow loading time frustrates your site visitors and affects conversion rate and brand perception – especially for mobile users, who are sometimes relying on slower cellular internet connections when browsing the web.
But if you want people to stick around on your website, you’re going to have to put optimising your site’s load performance at the top of your to-do list. Page load time can be impacted by image size, code, videos and other factors.
It isn’t optimised for mobile
When browsing the internet on a mobile phone, have you ever been forced to scroll from side-to-side to read copy on a website? Or have you had to pinch-to-zoom because the words or buttons on a page were way too small? These are all examples of the painful experience people can have on websites that aren’t optimised for mobile.
Google announced a major mobile algorithm update in 2015 that penalises websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, and it announced it would strengthen the ranking signal from mobile-friendly websites starting in 2016.
A big part of why Google continues to make these changes is to improve the web browsing experience for mobile users. So if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’ll likely lose out significantly in the organic search rankings.
It offers poor navigation
When someone lands on your site, do they know what to do? Where to go? What their next steps should be?
Include clear headline copy, jargonless page copy that explains the value of what you do.
It’s littered with generic or cheesy stock photography
You may already know that using images is great for your inbound marketing. So when it comes to adding images to your website it’s much better to show real pictures of customers, employees, your company, your product, and your location.
It contains a contact form, but no additional contact information
A ‘Contact Us’ form may seem like an easy way to generate an opt-in email list, but it’s really the least valuable form of lead generation for you and your site visitors. Not only is it terribly generic, but it also doesn’t indicate whether or not the contact actually wants to receive ongoing communications from you. It’s more likely that they have a one-time problem or request that needs to be addressed.
So, let’s say they do in fact have a one-time request. There’s nothing wrong with having a “Contact Us” module on your site, but it should never be the only means of communication between you and your customers. If your visitor or customer needs help, they want it now. They don’t want to fill out a form and wait to see when, if ever, they get a response. Let people get in touch with you via email, the phone, and social media, and make that information available on your website.
It has an unintelligible ‘About Us’ page
Does your ‘About Us’ page explain what you do in business babble, or using the words and phrases common to the general population? In the same vein, it’s really frustrating to click around a company’s website and not get a clear sense of what the company actually offers.
The best web pages clearly explain who they are, what they do, and/or what you (the visitor) can do there. If you’re a well-known brand or company you may be able to get away with not having to describe who you are and what you do. However, most businesses still need to answer these questions so that each visitor knows they are in the “right place.”
It contains keyword-stuffed copy
Remember back in the early 2000’s when you went to a website and saw paragraphs and paragraphs of copy? Aside from being visually overwhelming, if you read that copy you’d find nothing more than a bunch of keywords meant for crawlers, not humans.
Unfortunately, some websites are still writing for bots, even though Google’s algorithm is far more sophisticated at determining a page’s relevancy than it was 10 years ago. Stuffing your content with keywords is one of the most common search engine optimization (SEO) mistakes marketers make. While keywords are crucial to driving SEO success, Google will penalise your website in search for keyword-stuffing. Even more importantly, keyword-stuffed copy makes for a bad reader experience.
It’s missing social sharing buttons on content
If you’re writing for humans, you probably have some really interesting content on your site – content that people want to share on social media, perhaps. That’s why it’s a huge disappointment to scroll up and down looking for a “Tweet This!” button, only to realize there aren’t any social sharing buttons on your website.
Social sharing buttons make it easy for your readers to share your content on social networks because they don’t have to manually copy and paste your URL and compose a tweet. And easy social sharing options means your content gets more visibility, which means more site traffic, better search engine rankings, and more lead generation opportunities.
It doesn’t have a blog
If you don’t have a blog, you’re missing out on an opportunity to provide your visitors with a ton of valuable information. (And you’re missing out on ranking opportunities, too.)
These days, consumers are empowered to perform in-depth company research on their own before ever contacting a salesperson. If they find answers to their common questions in articles on your company’s blog, they’re much more likely to come into the sales process trusting what you have to say because you’ve helped them in the past.
It employs titles and headlines that are incongruous with your content
If you’re an avid content creator, you know how important a well-crafted title is. Great titles are what cause people to click through to read what you have written. But if they’re met with content that’s unrelated to the title you provided, you’ll disappoint visitors – and they’ll often abandon your site. While it’s important to capture peoples’ attention in titles, make sure it isn’t misleading and your content can actually live up to what you promised you’d deliver.
It contains internal linking that isn’t user-friendly
When done correctly, internal links are helpful for readers and website alike. They point readers to other relevant information, and help you improve the organic ranking for important pages on your own website. But some websites seem to have trouble executing internal linking correctly, pointing users to irrelevant pages, linking strange phrases within the copy, and overdoing it to the point of making content unreadable. Include internal links only to relevant pages on your website that will enhance a reader’s experience, and include that link on the anchor text that makes the most sense. (Tip: Be sure to have all links open into a new tab in your browser, not the same window. Visitors may not be done reading the content on this page, and you don’t want to navigate them away while they’re still reading!)