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Swift Six: Things customers hate about your website

By Nick Leech - July 8, 2015

In this Swift Six, we’ll be looking at things you can do to your website that will drive customers away. These are common mistakes so make sure that your site doesn’t make any of them. Here we go.

Hello and welcome to another 123-reg Swift 6. This week we’re going to be talking about six things your customers hate about your website.

The first thing: popups. These were everywhere in the 90s but you don’t see them so much these days. That’s because they’ve been proved to be massively unpopular for users. You’ll see me elsewhere recommending to use popups. What I mean by popups here are those that get in the way of your website visitor doing what they came to do when they got to your website. If you’re getting in the way of their experience, maybe they’re trying to contact you, maybe they’re trying to read about something, that’s really going to put them off and that’s going to give them a reason to hate your website.

If you have to use popups, and they are a good way of capturing people’s email addresses, particularly on blogs, make the subtle and make them only appear occasionally to the user. Maybe you want to hit first time users just once, maybe follow that up after a couple of weeks and hit your visitors just once more. But don’t make them get in the way of the overall experience.

The second thing that your customers will hate about your website is a slow loading speed. This is a massive no-no. There’s lots of studies to say that illustrate the point that a slow loading website will stop you making sales and, an actual fact, will make people leave altogether.

I was just reading a study earlier today that said that if your website takes more than three seconds to load, then almost half your visitors will just leave. It’s an incredibly critical thing to get right. That’s why Google focus on it so much. They’ve made it a key priority that if you want to rank well on Google you have to have a fast site. A fast site is essential to a good online experience.

The third thing that customers will hate about your website is when you ask them to complete a massive form. There is direct correlation between the number of fields you ask someone to fill out on a form and the drop out rate for that form. Make sure you keep your forms as short as possible with the fewest required fields at possible. Unless it’s absolutely essential, just take those fields out the form altogether.

The fourth thing that customers will hate about your website is a navigation that is unclear, that is cluttered. You need to make it really easy and obvious on how to navigate to different areas on your website. The principle you need to think about is KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). So don’t let anything stand in the way of the users seeing how they can easily navigate from the homepage into particular areas.

Another thing to think about is don’t try to invent a completely new way of people navigating to a particular page. We’re all used to arriving on websites and seeing a logo up here, menu across here. Don’t try and change the formula. People get that, they can use that as their map and find the content that they want to see on your website.

The fifth thing people will hate about your website is if you put too many ads on it. You may think that you don’t have any ads on your site because you are selling your own services on there. Why would you have ads for other people? Add too much commercial messaging, too much of bright, loud messages that direct people away from actually reading about what you do and understanding what value you can bring to them.

So you’re actually advertising your own services but you’re going completely over the top about it and you’re coming across as a bit desperate. People hate that about your website.

The sixth thing is a really obvious one. It’s broken links or pages that don’t work. There is nothing worse on a small business website than to find a page that hasn’t been made properly, that’s been wrongly formatted, or a link that is broken that takes the user nowhere. It just makes the user lose all of their confidence and it will give them a reason to hate your website.

That was the 123-reg Swift 6 – Things customers will hate about your website. See you next time!