50 Ways to Really Annoy Your Website Visitors (& Reduce Conversions)

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annoying websitesYou don’t like to be annoyed right? Who does? Unfortunately though websites seem to be strangely great at annoying their visitors (often without even realizing it). And annoyed visitors are visitors who don’t engage with your website, don’t buy or sign up for things on it (convert for your goals) and ultimately rarely come back – not good for any online business!

So I thought I would put together a list of 50 surprisingly common ways to really annoy your website visitor (and reduce your conversions), so you know what to avoid and what to fix on your website.

And don’t just read this – actually use this as a checklist to make sure your website isn’t guilty of any of them, and if it is, fix them! Trust me, your website visitors will thank you for it and come back more often – and increase your conversions and overall revenue! Let’s start revealing them…

  1. Use website advertising interstitial pages (worse still, use on visitors entry page)
  2. When a user makes an error on one of your forms, don’t clearly show them what is wrong or how to fix it
  3. Show long paragraphs of text that have no usage of bold or bullet points
  4. Create marketing promotions that flash or distract the visitor’s eye too much
  5. Don’t offer an internal search box on your site, or hide it away
  6. Make your homepage too long with too many competing choices
  7. Bury away your main call to action button or make it too small
  8. Don’t show user submitted product reviews or allow users to submit their own
  9. Make it mandatory for a visitor to register before they can view content
  10. When a visitor uses your website on a mobile phonee, don’t redirect them to an optimized mobile version
  11. Have a homepage content slider that scrolls really quickly with no controls
  12. Have your registration confirmation email end up in your visitors spam folder
  13. Autoplay music on every page (particularly with no obvious way of turning it off)
  14. After they arrive from a paid search ad, show them nothing to do with what they just clicked on
  15. Offer no way of filtering results on search results or browse pages
  16. Make your text hyperlinks  look a similar color to your regular text
  17. Only show product features without showing any product benefits
  18. Make it really hard for your visitors to find your company phone number
  19. Pop-up a feedback survey when a user first arrives on your homepage
  20. Autoplay videos lower on your homepage that they can’t see immediately
  21. Have more than 3 ads showing above the fold (especially ads that are matching)
  22. Offer too many competing calls to actions on one page
  23. Have sideways scrolling sections of your website
  24. Have a long signup form (longer than 10 fields) and make all fields mandatory
  25. Make it really hard for your visitor to remove or change item quantities in your shopping cart
  26. Add on previously unmentioned fees on the order review page
  27. Include too much jargon or technical terms in your text
  28. Only offer one image of your product, with no zooming in or rotating it
  29. Use popup boxes that are really hard to close and stay in the center of the screen
  30. Don’t offer an FAQ or support forums on your site
  31. Make your navigation menus really long with way too many un-important links
  32. Don’t offer a way for a user to retrieve a lost username or password
  33. Pop-up a ‘can I help?’ web chat window on many pages
  34. Use banner ads that dropdown when rolled over and block header navigation
  35. Include un-neccesary fields in your signup forms (like job title or age)
  36. Forget to inform visitor that a product is out of stock until order confirm page
  37. Place a newsletter signup box in the place where a search box usually is
  38. Use dark text or dark backgrounds, or light text on light backgrounds
  39. Don’t allow commenting on your articles, or make it really hard to
  40. Make it really hard to find your shipping returns or product guarantee policies
  41. Mention your product is ‘free’ only for visitors to find it has limited features, with ‘upgrade’ fees
  42. Show video ads longer than 30 seconds between every short video on your site
  43. For all of your call to actions, use ‘click here’ as the text
  44. Don’t check what your site looks like in all major browser types, and have it break in one of them
  45. Have really poor, irrelevant and too many internal search results
  46. Make it really hard to find your store locator link
  47. Offer a field that users can type in coupon codes, but don’t tell users where they can get them
  48. Show ‘web chat available’, and after a user clicks on it say its not available and email instead
  49. Offer no ability or few options to sort or refine products on a browse page
  50. After a user has registered on your site, send them many emails per week

So there we have it… which ones are you favorite annoyances? And how many is your website guilty of – please comment below (don’t be shy!) And if you have more ways to annoy website visitors that I didn’t mention, please add them as comments below so we can all learn from them.