For some, perhaps it’s smoking, a political stance, or even a love of the Red Socks, but as an inbound marketer, nothing sends up a red flag for me faster than a bad website.
Whether it’s the web presence of a company I’m thinking about working with, a product I’m considering buying, or a freelancer looking for writing opportunity, I’m quick to form opinions, as are many consumers.
That means your business’ user experience, design, and messaging have to be on par and working flawlessly in order to engage and maintain your visitor’s attention for the long haul.
In this day and age, a business or product with a poor website can come off as disconnected from the modern market. It can make your organization appear dated, unprofessional, and even careless about its line of work.
So, what deal breakers make marketers cringe?
Here are 7 website mistakes that the members of our team absolutely despise.
1. Music & AutoPlay Videos
"Nothing is more embarrassing than having a website serenade you with music, but even sound from an informational video is undesirable if it immediately starts when you visit the page. Set AutoPlay to ‘false’, please!" - Tim Ostheimer, Sr. Front-End Developer
“I’m not a big fan of websites that have automatic playing music. Somehow I always go to those sites when my headphones are conveniently unplugged and then I race to find the mute button. Not only is it just an annoyance, but I don’t want people getting the wrong idea about my taste in music…” - Natalie Davis,Director of Talent
2. Logo Woes
“It really grinds my gears when the logo in the top left corner of people’s blogs (you know the one that takes you home… always) only brings you to the homepage of their blog.
Your blog should be generating awareness for your company, and should be optimized in every aspect to move traffic from your blog to pages about your services. Linking your logo to any page, but your homepage is not only counter-intuitive, it traps the user in a seemingly endless loop around one area of your site. ” - Kyle Bento, Growth Strategist
3. Homepage Carousels
“The biggest mistake I personally see on websites is the use of carousels right on the homepage. Don’t get me wrong, used in the right place on a site, a carousel can be effective but that place is not on the top of your homepage where your value prop goes. I think they’re excuses for companies to jam too much information into the value prop section. It overall just leads to you muddling up into a very critical area of your site.” - Joe Rinaldi,Creative Lead
4. Inconsistent Branding
"I can’t stand websites that have no lock on their branding guidelines and use colors all willy-nilly. I mean, I like yellow, red, and purple too, but picking a CTA or icon color shouldn’t be based upon your favorites or whims.
Make a branding/style guide, stick to it, and save your users from a visual headache.”
Now, let’s talk functionality. Online shopping can either be a joy, or a huge pain depending on the website's UX.
When looking for particular products, users tend to navigate to certain areas of the website and use filtering capabilities to narrow down what we’re looking for. After clicking into specific items, users tend to use the browser's back button to return to the search results.
Some websites, however, nix all of your filtering options and revert back to showing all results.
Just a PSA -- please stop. It is such a hassle to have to re-filter again! You would think in the year 2015 we’ve advanced far enough that this functionality would be a given, but guess I’ll need to wait alittle longer." - Christine Austin, Creative Lead (Marketing Team)
“Pretty much all functionality stuff makes me cringe. Like a poorly-timed slider, that doesn’t reset when you hit the prev/next button (may cause a value prop to be missed) and login loops drive me insane. Those are websites where you login and then it just reloads you right back to the login page. It’s kinda like the matrix, all I see if the code/functionality, design never erks me that much.” - Kyle Sheldon, Sr. Front-End Developer & Tech Architect
6. Confusing Navigation
“When I first get to a website, I hate when I can't find what I'm looking for right in the navigation.
A lot of sites put what they would consider their "less important" sections only in the footer or name these pages something that makes the visitor question what the page will contain, but this leads to a terrible user experience.
For example, if I hear of a presenter at a valuable conference and go to their website to read their latest blog or see some resources they've developed, many times the blog is hidden away in the footer, under a drop down or named something like "Media" or "News."
I feel it's important to know your audience and who is visiting your site well-enough to understand the journey they wish to experience on your website.
It's critical to speak in their language. Rather than make assumptions of what's important and what certain pages should be called, sites should be using tools like HotJar and Optimizely to test and analyze on-site user experience.” - Erica Dube, Account Strategist
7. Hiding Content
“Hiding content beneath the fold. When I open a new page after searching through Google, and I can’t find what I’m looking for within a few second, I’m going to bounce like a 7 year old at a birthday party and go back to Google and try the next result until I find the content I’m looking for. Google recently released a 160-page document detailing the components of a high quality web-page, and one of them was putting useful content above the fold - you’ll want to do this to keep visitors on your page.” - Derrick Weiss, Account Executive