7 things your visitors hate about your website

1. You talk about yourself

How many times have you seen this? ‘Barratt and Bloggins was formed in 1982 and has successfully been delivering award-winning cutting edge solutions for our clients for the last 25 years.’

Blah, blah, blah.

Here’s the thing: people visiting your website only care about themselves. They want to know what you’re going to do for them; how quickly you’re going to do it; how it’s going to save them time; how it’s going to get them more clients; earn them more money; make them thin. Whatever. You get the picture. It’s all about them. Not you.


2. It’s difficult to buy anything

Your visitors love what you sell. Well, at least they’re quite interested in what you sell. And they might just want to buy something from you. So why make it so hard for them? Yes, Whistles, I’m talking about you.

Poor navigation, difficult to find products, hidden delivery costs and a ten minute check out process does not make a good shopping experience.

Your customers want to find products easily, throw them in a basket, go to the checkout, and pay. So let them do that.


3. You love your web designer more than your customer

Yep, your designer may be quirky, work in Hoxton and have won some award from Design Week. But is he designing that swanky website for your customers or his portfolio?

Think about your audience. What age are they? Where will they be viewing your site? Remember not everyone will have a huge screen, Flash, and a high speed connection. Nor will they have all the time in the world to wait for it to load. So what exactly were you thinking Thomas Edison?


4. You stop them getting to the good stuff with stupid intro pages

‘Skip this’ is the most clicked link on the Web after ‘Click here’. Would you go to Selfridges and be happy to stand outside the door for ten minutes waiting to be let in? No, you wouldn’t. So why delay your customers getting to your website?

Check this out for the most hellish intro ever. Not sure hellish was the look they were going for.


5. You don’t have a web designer at all

Need a website? Oh I’ll do it myself. After all, how difficult can it be? Yeah, Lings Cars, how difficult can it be? Let’s pack a few more moving things in there shall we?

If you don’t value your business enough to have a professional, clean looking website, why should potential customers value your business? Yes, you can get websites designed for £200. It doesn’t mean you should.


6. They can’t call you

It doesn’t matter how small or large your business, your phone number should be easy to find; top right is ideal. Sometimes the answer really isn’t in the FAQs. And no, your visitor doesn’t want to fill a form in, or send an email, or write a letter. They just have a really quick question that needs a really quick answer. So make your number really visible.


7. They don’t know what to do next

So your customers have read the words and they like the pictures. Now what? Don’t leave them hanging. Tell them what to do next with a call to action. Buy Now, Click Here, Download Free E-book, Check Availability, Call Now, Register Now, Get A Free Trial, Sign-Up, Join Now, Get Free Quote.


Anything I’ve missed? Share in the comments.

  • Ross Cooney
    Posted at 14:09h, 15 December Reply

    Don’t slag Ling’s Cars (www.lingscars.com) off…she leased over £35m worth of cars in 2008 off that website…it is lovingly crafted and kicks the ass of any other car leasing company in the UK. Ling rocks!

    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 16:19h, 15 December Reply

      Hey Ross
      I wasn’t criticising Ling’s business prowess. Or her as a person. I think she’s hilarious. She’s had me in fits on Twitter all afternoon.

      The site design is shocking though. And I wonder how much MORE business she’d get if the site didn’t look like this. I do think it’s possible to have a site that’s fun and personal but doesn’t induce a migraine.

  • Stephen Da Cambra
    Posted at 18:33h, 15 December Reply

    Sarah – This is an excellent outline of the sorts of website problems we see far too often.

    It really gets a potential customer’s attention when, after telling me they think their web site is well designed, I hit them with your #6. So simple, yet so missing.

    I can think of glaring examples that we have experienced for all your points – if you have to use a “Skip Intro” button, it should have been skipped in the design.


  • Hayley Chalmers
    Posted at 14:43h, 16 December Reply

    A good summary. I’m still surprised that people don’t do these obvious things. I frequently hit sites that I scream at. Why make it hard? sheesh. Usually it’s nephew-ware or the owner not giving a thought as to how the customer will use the site. The term ‘User Acceptance Test’ exists for a reason. I lasted about 10 seconds on the Whistles site today.
    I want to find and buy something as easily as walking into a shop (actually – more easily than that). Make it easy, make it fast or I will go elsewhere. If your developer can make stuff ‘groovy’ – then s/he most definitely should not.

    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 14:59h, 16 December Reply

      Hey Hayley
      This is what Whistles’ Jane Sheperdson said about the site: ‘We spent a lot of time researching best practice online. We then threw out everything we had learned, and just designed something that pleased us visually.’

      Well it’s good to see that the customer experience was at the centre of the decision-making process!

  • Julie Hall
    Posted at 11:31h, 22 December Reply

    Brilliant blog post Sarah… and so right! I did laugh at the Whistles comment, but then you know very well my thoughts about design over usability – arrrgh. A great looking site is no good at all if it doesn’t convert! I’d love to post this on the Women Unlimited site if I may – sound words indeed

  • Jason Regan
    Posted at 13:33h, 24 March Reply

    Great post and every example a winner – disappointed I missed this back when you wrote it. It’s making me feel ever so slightly paranoid about mine though…

  • Narender Smith
    Posted at 11:33h, 14 April Reply

    The trick however, is to make the long page content manageable with really large, bold headlines that can be easily scanned and processed.

  • Matt
    Posted at 16:02h, 13 October Reply

    I don’t know, I think we could all learn something from Ling.

    …you can trust me,
    I AM LING!”

    Her website’s doing the rounds on design blogs everywhere, all publicity is good publicity I suppose.

    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 16:47h, 13 October Reply

      Hey Matt
      Oh she LOVES it when people complain about the site! It gives her an opportunity to tell everyone how brilliant she is in the comments!

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.