Three Ways to Drive People Away from Your Website

3 Guaranteed Ways toDrive People Away (1)

I love web browsing. I mean, really, really love it. As a teenager, whenever someone asked me about hobbies, one of them would be “web surfing.” Looking back, that sounded extremely dorky and pathetic, but it was useful! I’ve learned a lot and it’s been amazing to see the changes in website design.

In some recent browsing sessions, I see problems perhaps not obvious to the page’s owner but are a serious deterrent to potential clients. It won’t matter if your portfolio, blog or services are fabulous if no one sees them!

So when working on your site, check these off your  to-do list.

1) Does your website have a giant pop-up window? I hate pop-ups in general, but it’s important to check how pop-ups look on PC, tablet and mobile. Sometimes a pop-up that looks normal on a full browser completely blocks entry into your site on a smartphone.

2.) Is your website inaccessible? Millions of internet users (read: potential clients) don’t have the ability to see or hear a lot of what’s out there. I’m currently reviewing video games for people with disabilities, and it’s surprising how many of them fail to consider the disabled.

For example: My site will require a redesign, because red and green makes viewing websites difficult for color-blind people. If you have images or videos on your site, make sure they have captions and alt keywords. Your text shouldn’t be super tiny, or you should allow the visitor to change the text size. Make your site’s super easy to navigate for people who have mobility problems.

3.) You have automated videos. (And not of yourself!) While I love text-based videos with lots of great color and design, the big idea of web videos is to get a feel for who the person is behind the camera. And I still see a lot of videos that automatically play when you go to the site’s home page. This is a huge no-no and, depending on the volume, can startle visitors and literally scare them away.

Everyone’s got their own pet peeves when it comes to web sites? What are some no-nos? Talk to me in the comments. 

16 thoughts on “Three Ways to Drive People Away from Your Website

  1. All good things to remember. A couple of others:

    1) Making visitors scroll too far before they get any information. The header should not take up the entire screen.

    2) Flashing, competing visuals. Obnoxious to too many people to be valuable, I think.

    Again, all good points.


    1. Those are really good ones. I notice the new trend involves large chunks of text or images and forcing you to keep scrolling. That does get annoying!

  2. I never thought of red and green but you are very correct! Good post.

    A big thing I am getting annoyed with are tree functionalities I’m seeing more and more with already annoying pop-ups:

    1) Hiding or making the way to close their pop-up hard to see. I guess they think it will make you want to buy their product if they force you to stare at it longer than you want.

    2) The pop-up follows you as you scroll. This forces you to stop and try to figure out how to get rid of it or collapse it as it turns out sometimes. I feel like I’m being stalked by and ad!

    3) An ad that pops up and fills the whole page. These generally have an animation that it forces you to watch before it allows you to close it. Then it doesn’t actually close it but just makes it really small in the corner of the sidebar so its still there to haunt you on the whole site.

  3. Williesha,

    Definitely good thoughts to ponder! Adding an ‘amen’ to the above comments on pop-ups. Site elements that flash, blare or scroll down the page with me simply make me click off the website.

    I will definitely go out and look at my site now with regard to accessibility. As the grandmother of a person with multiple disabilities, that should have been one of my first thoughts, but never considered color blindness in my design.

    Keep doing what you’re doing!

  4. Williesha

    Those videos that play as soon as you arrive at the home page always have me scrambling for the pause button. Or, even worse, the back button.

    I remember I once had a client who had everything from videos and pop-ups to scrolling banners on their website. It looked like an amusement arcade.

    I eventually convinced them to sling the lot out. No long afterwards, they actually started getting queries via their website.

  5. Great points and timely. I will be redoing my website later this week and will be taking all the advice you guys (especially Willi) have shared.


  6. You say quite a bit in a small space! I agree with you fully: even before most Internet users knew what a blog was, I was tearing my hair in frustration over pop-ups (as one cartoonist said in their early days, “On TV the commercials [at least] wait their turn!”) and automatic videos. One particularly infuriating element on the latter is a lack of any hint of the video’s actual running time; I actually have clicked links to videos that automatically started to play a 30- or 45-minute item. Who’s ready to pull that sort of a time commitment out of their hat without warning?

    About accessible sites: These days audio readers are available that allow even the totally blind to make use of e-mail and the Internet, but many readers have problems interpreting standard data-field forms.

    1. The details surrounding accessibility are fascinating and really complex. I’m reviewing games for Able Gamers, and it’s tough seeing how many games get low scores.

      Wow, 45 minutes? I’ve enjoyed being in videos and a podcast, but listening/watching is still a bit foreign to me. If I’m blog hopping and see a long podcast without a transcript (another accessibility issue) I usually don’t listen/watch. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Hi Williesha,

    These are great points. I especially like your mention of red-green colour blindness as a factor to consider. My father has the condition yet I’d never thought about it in the web design sense.

    Pop-ups are okay in my view but not more than once per visit. There are some sites I read where things pop up whenever you go from page to page, and it becomes unbearable. Unless the content is stunning, then I just leave.

    A pet-peeve of mine is when you go to leave a website and a box appears asking if you’re really sure you want to leave. It leaves a bad feeling even if I enjoyed reading the content.

    I guess my biggest pet-peeve are sites which are overloaded with graphics of some kind which crash my browser. Rare but so, so annoying.

    Great post Williesha. I enjoyed reading.


    1. Edward! So great to see you on here. Yes, once per visit is enough. But I suppose if you clear your cache it will keep doing it.

      Wow, people still have those “do you really want to leave” boxes? I always associate those windows with spam or malware.

      I’m kind of frustrated with these awesome, scrolling, graphics-intensive sites. They look awesome, but they blow up my iPad. Not cool. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!!

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