Five Reasons Why I Hate Your Web Site

I’m a writer, which means I spend a lot of time on Facebook and reading my friend’s blogs doing research on the web. Consequently, I must have landed on more pages than ex-Senator Mark Foley. Many of these sites are great, and I can get what I need quickly and easily and get on with my article about the medicinal value of Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Some sites, however, have ticked me off so thoroughly that I’ve vowed never to return. Here’s what I hate about your web site:

1. You make me give up my e-mail address just so I can read your content. This is so wrong. Not only does that input window block everything I want to read (I imagine that’s its purpose), but it immediately raises all kinds of red flags. What’s going on? What are you hiding from me? Is your confidence in your content so low you won’t think I’d add myself voluntarily to your mailing list? Because I’m easy that way. I’ve come to your site of my own volition, probably because I thought I’d find something useful or interesting there. All you had to do was ask for my addy. Now, I won’t give it to you, no way, no how. So there.

2. Things blink and flash at me. This is obnoxious. Cut it out. Tell the advertisers on your website to cut it out. It makes you look cheap and spammy, and not like a place I, nor my editors, trust for reliable information.

3. Your color scheme is atrocious. Science backs me up; some color combinations make text more readable than others. Also, like many other people navigating around the web, I no longer have 20-year-old eyes. Forcing me to read gray content on a white background does not make me very happy with you. If there’s absolutely nothing you can do about your color scheme, at least offer a “print article” button that puts your content in an easy-to-read, lovely, black-on-white format.

4. Your embedded media starts up without my say-so. I liked your direct mail piece enough to click through to your website. I liked your headline enough to keep reading. But then, into the serenity of my writing room comes blaring music or a bright, chipper voice extolling the virtues of your upcoming FREE webinar. Sorry. I won’t be attending. Give me the option of hitting the “start” button next time.

5. Your ad claims are egregious. I’m not stupid. I know there are no miracle cures for certain diseases, and there is simply not one thing I need to do to eliminate belly fat. When I see stuff like that, I want to run. Which is probably the one thing you need to do to eliminate belly fat.

What are your web-surfing deal breakers? Let me know! Maybe if enough of us get together on this, we can make them stop.

24 thoughts on “Five Reasons Why I Hate Your Web Site

  1. JenD says:

    Yes! I think you’ve named them all. What’s the matter with these people? Do you think it has something to do with getting the webpage design that you pay for? I try to give folks the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they couldn’t afford to do a better job, maybe they did it themselves and it’s not their forte, etc. but when it comes to sites that are supposed to provide serious information, they shouldn’t be Zumba-ing in my face with their flat belly bullshit.

    This is so good, mind if I post the link on my Facebook page?

    • JenD says:

      Oh no doubt! I meant the design flaw stuff. Maybe they like white letters on a gray background, for example, while it’s hard to read for the rest of us and they’re utterly clueless.

  2. Aligaeta says:

    Wow, you left me a lot to comment on…
    First, I love your strike out!
    Second, I agree with each one of your points.
    Third, I usually hate any post that declares numbers, as they show conformity, however, you won me over.
    Great post! And look at me numbering my points, hahaha

    • laurieboris says:

      Funny, Aligaeta, the first draft of this piece was titled, “Why I Hate Your Web Site.” I added the numbers later. Maybe ’cause pro bloggers are always recommending writing lists. (In fact, I wrote a post once titled, “Top 10 Reasons To Write Top 10 Lists.”)

      • Brett says:

        Re: Numbering–I use it because of the pro-bloggers thing, but I’ve noticed that unless a post is bulleted or numbered or otherwise broken down (short paragraphs, section headings, etc.), that I am more inclined to pass it over because it feels like it’ll be a much harder investment of time and concentration (and my blog reading needs to be kept in perspective–i.e. not a procrastination technique).

  3. Lyn Burnstine says:

    Laurie, How about the ones that just run you around in circles getting nowhere? You go to a web site and click on what you want to read and it brings you right back to what you just clicked on. Am I missing something or have others had this experience?

  4. MOM says:

    I think I’ve been added to sooo many mailing lists from all the kids and myself visiting websites and then I have to filter them all out again and again. If I want to be on their list I know how to sign the hell up! LOL
    Good job Laurie!

  5. Brett says:

    Whew! I pass with flying colors! Of course, annoying or not, I hope the content is worth viewing every once and again (my 4s of readers come back, so at least my family likes it!).

    I agree by the way–most of those things annoy me a good bit. If they have a lot of those items, it typically means that the content isn’t up my alley either.

  6. Ahlam says:

    Absolutely right on. If I land on a website with flashing lights or overwhelming ads it just automatically loses its credibility, and as easily as I landed on the site I click away.

  7. Thea Easterby | Write Change Grow says:

    Hi Laurie

    Thanks for this great post. I can definitely agree with most of these. I have been lucky not to run into too many blogs where you have to put in an email address just so you can read the content. I can understand a blog having a members section but that is about it, otherwise the content should be accessible. The blogs that are hard to read are an instant turnoff for me (eyes not as good as they used to be) . I also hate the ones that start blaring music, not a great thing if you are having a quick look at a blog during office hours.

    I had a laugh at the last point. You see those hilarious ads for losing belly fat everywhere. The girl goes from flabby belly to supermodel in seconds. As if.

    This is my first time to your site, so I look forward to having a look around and coming back again. Good to see another SITS girl who is a fellow writer. πŸ™‚


  8. Alannah Murphy says:

    My pet peeve is music that starts up on its own and those hideous websites with some horrid background so colourful and blinding that you can hardly read what is written. Sometimes I think some people get carried away by the novelty of flashing lights, music etc. What they do not realise is that what is amusing/fun/cool to them is INCREDIBLY annoying to others. Just say NO to flashing lights/music/novelty buttons.

  9. Dani Alexis says:

    Yes! to all of the above. Especially number 4 – I once had an argument with my (now ex-) boyfriend about this. He insisted that a video of him explaining what his business does that started up as soon as the website opened was “cool” and “cutting-edge” and “all the major businesses are doing it and what do you know about Internet marketing, anyway?” I told him I didn’t know squat about Internet marketing (and I didn’t at the time), but I knew what would make me click away from a website without even bothering to look for whatever sent me there in the first place, and automatic media was one of those things.

    He ignored me and put up the new site with his auto-running talking head. Lo and behold, nearly all of his regular blog followers commented that they hated the thing and he really needed to get rid of it. Toldja. πŸ˜›

  10. Michelle MacEwan says:

    Five spot on reasons. There are more for me – especially to do with the way the page looks – inviting or chaotic.. if the page has masses of information and self promotion, columns, boxes, etc I just don’t want to stay on that page, let alone read! All the flashing cheap and nasty adds – as in point 2, and dreadful colour schemes, as in point 3, are often on these kind of sites. These things are a no go for my hard working eyes.
    Thanks for the post Laurie!

  11. Carol J. Garvin says:

    Great points, and I concur with every one. I think the majority of sites that turn me off appear to have been created by amateurs without a lot of design savvy — sites with messages in multiple text styles, sizes and colours intended to emphasize their importance. I hate that, and also bold ‘buy my product’ statements. I doubt they are even aware their choices make a poor impression and detract from the effectiveness of their site and credibility of its content.

    I just popped over from Twitter to read this and will be back to check out more of your posts. πŸ™‚

    • laurieboris says:

      Thank you, Carol! I can’t believe how bad some web sites look (and I’ve been through a lot more today.) If more people truly understood that their website is often our first impression (and sometimes our last), they might get some design savvy, or a designer.

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