How to scare off potential customers

We all have our pet peeves when it comes to browsing and shopping on the internet. Here are InterComm’s top 10:

1. Pop Ups

Pop ups come in many flavours: entry pop ups, exit pop ups, small, large, scrolling, always on top, browser stopping, must be cleared to move on popups. Except for an occasional squeeze page to get a free ebook or report, web readers HATE pop ups. So why do they continue to litter the Internet landscape? Simple. They work. block pop-ups with your browser add-on and don’t get tempted to make it worthwhile for the seller.

2. Extra Software Needed to View Site

As standard as Acrobat now is, the same is not true for Flash, Shockwave, Deja Vu, and a host of other add-ons with various degrees of support. I don’t need to sit through a 2 meg Flash intro when what I want is information. Apparently, many others agree. You can add Flashblock to your FireFox or Chrome browser and decide for yourself when to allow the Flash to load.

3. Dead! Dead! Dead Links!

Nothing hacks me off faster than finding a spot on anchor text link that goes nowhere. It’s like having your mouth water over a menu special only to have the kitchen say they have run out.

4. Registration Required to Visit or download from Site

Some sites think you should register and login to see anything beyond the home page. What they are doing is asking me to get married before the first date. What’s in it for me? In this Internet day and age, a company and site has to build trust before a random visitor is going to cough up a name and email address. Show me a little leg first.

5. Slowwww Pages

If I have to wait more than 10 seconds to begin viewing your site, I am gone – never to return. If your servers are slow, find a new ISP. If you loaded your pages with Flash, MIDI, audio, video, or other files that load with the page, dump them. Put up links instead. Let the visitor choose if they want to read or watch the video.

6. Outdated Content

If you have not updated your website in 14 months, what does that tell me about your company? Certainly, you are less than a cutting edge product or service provider.

7. Bad Navigation

Most web designers prefer dazzle over function. Function is boring. Who wants a simple text link when a pop up Javascript navigation bar impresses the client? I do! So do the search engines. Every web page needs recognizable, underlined text links on every page, preferably top and bottom. Don’t make me waste time trying to find the internal page I am really looking for.

8. Pathetic Contact Information

How many sites have you been to where you cannot find a phone number, a street address, or even an email address? Plenty. I think it’s sweet that you put up an email contact form on your site, but I prefer to use my default email compose screen. Every web-based email form is different. I don’t want to waste time learning to use your form when my email client works fine. What are you hiding? And when you don’t include a street address of land-line number, I assume you work out the local coffee shop!

9. No Decent Site Search Tool

There is no excuse for this one. If you have a large website with dozens or hundreds of pages, give me an internal search box to find what I need. Google and Yahoo! and many others will give you the tool – free – to put on your site. Use it.

10. Disabled “Back” Button

I don’t want a website to dictate how I experience their site. I am a guest on your site. I don’t need to come back to your page when I hit the back button. That’s why I hit the back button in the first place. You don’t have the information I am looking for. In a similar vein, I don’t like to see other right click functions like “view page source” disabled. I don’t need to steal your HTML code, but if I want to, disabling right click will not stop me. I might want to see how you achieved a certain formatting effect. If I am impressed, you can bet I’ll be back.

Pet peeves take many forms online. No list like this is complete, but any webmaster that can avoid these 10 major annoyances is a hero in my book. I look forward to visiting your site.


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