As someone who spends a large chunk of their time either creating copy for websites or researching online, I’m in the perfect position to comment on what I find most annoying about websites I visit.
Here are the top 13 things any website owner should check to minimise frustration:
1. Poor navigation
When someone lands on your site do they know what to do? Where to go? What their next steps should be? It is important to provide user-friendly navigation so that visitors can easily find what they are looking for. If you get your optimisation right, they won’t always land on your home page so make sure your navigation is quick to locate on every page.
2. Slow-loading pages
According to a KISSmetrics report, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds, and 40% abandon a website that takes more than three seconds. So you need to be speedy! Or you’ll inevitably lose custom to your competitors’ websites. Load time can be slowed by image size, code, videos and other factors. If you lack technical know-how, talk to your web developer.
3. Not mobile friendly
You’d think in 2020 I wouldn’t have to include this one but many website owners still haven’t woken up to the mobile-first world. (Mobile accounts for about half of web traffic worldwide now, says www.statista.com). Not only are you bugging your mobile visitors, but Google announced back in 2015 that it would penalise the search ranking of sites not optimised for mobile.
4. Distracting animation
Animations, autoplay videos, blinking and flashing paid ads and other interactive entertainment should be used sparingly. If they’re obtrusive or disorienting, they detract from your useful content.
5. Excessive pop-ups
There’s nothing more annoying when you are reading an engaging piece of content than to have a pop-up fill the screen … “No thanks, I don’t want a beach-ready body by next week.” If you’re going to use pop-ups, use them in moderation. And avoid the guilt-trip. Be delightful. “Can’t complete this right now? No problem. Download our how-to guide and fill it in at your leisure”.
6. Missing a Call to Action (CTA)
Whilst excessive CTAs (in the form of pop-ups) are one extreme, don’t go to the other by missing out a CTA altogether. A clear call-to-action that shows visitors how to take the next steps – whether that’s placing an order, getting a free trial, watching a video, subscribing to your blog or whatever else you want them to do – will help your site visitor rather than leave them hanging.
7. Cheesy stock images
A good image completes a piece of content. It adds context and illustrates your points as well as bringing more visits to your site through social media sharing. Cheesy stock photos that have little relevance to your content or pretend that you are something you’re not (yes that smiley happy bunch of co-workers with gleaming white gnashers) will turn people away.
8. Under-construction pages
For a copywriter this is a big no, no. Do not take your website live if there is still work to be done. Hide the pages from the navigation until they are ready. And bring in a copywriter if you don’t have the time or inclination to write the text yourself.
9. Vague company description or About Us page
Whilst the main focus of your website should be how you can help your visitors and solve their problems, you also need clear information about who you are and what your do. Otherwise you will make a poor first impression and worse, alienate visitors who don’t trust you. Demonstrate your value with unique selling points and exactly how your product/service can help.
10. Click-bait headlines
A well-crafted headline is very important – they encourage people to click through to read what you have written. But if they’re met with content that’s unrelated to your catchy title, you’ll disappoint visitors — and they’ll often abandon your site. If you’re going to use the tactic of click-bait headlines, deliver content that excites as much as the title. If not, you’ll just annoy people.
11. Woeful website copy
Well I’m going to pick up on this, aren’t I? Industry jargon, poor spelling and grammar, keyword-stuffed lifeless copy … I could add plenty more but woeful website copy is a sure-fire way to turn people away. Luckily I have plenty of tips to create copy that will bring even the most boring of subjects to life. And if you want to take it to the next level, bring in a copywriter.
12. No blog
You might think few visitors will be annoyed if you don’t have a blog … but don’t underestimate its value. Not only does a blog boost potential rankings for multiple search terms, you’re missing out on the chance to offer visitors educational and promotional content. When they find the answers to their challenges in your content, they’re more likely to trust you when they’re ready to buy.
13. It contains a contact form, but no additional contact information
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 phone, email and social media, and make that information obvious on your contact page. Better still have it in every header and footer so it’s easily found.