Eight things that guarantee I’m not spending more than three seconds on your website
This morning I was trying to read my Google news alerts, an exercise that mainly consists of me clicking a link that opens a website, then almost immediately closing that website and moving onto something else – and I started to wonder what on earth is wrong with everyone.
It seems that accessing good content is getting more and more difficult as organizations become more desperate to create revenue, save money, and engage users. But most of companies creating a bad user experience and skyrocketing their own bounce rate.
Dear companies – are you wondering which of your practices drive people away? Here are eight things that guarantee I’m going to spend less than three second on your website.
Newsletter popups: “Hi! Hi! Hi! We know you just got here but here’s an annoying popup asking you to sign on to receive regular emails from us that will just pile up in your inbox and never get read!” Dude, much of the time I have never even read your content so how do I know if I want your newsletter? Let me get to know you a bit before asking for that commitment, why don’t you?
Pop up ads: How are people still doing this? HOW? Did you not get the memo that everyone hates pop up ads? If you’re not aware of how offputting this is then I’m going to assume you don’t care about user experience and not bother with the rest of your website.
Slideshows: Back in the olden days, before stakeholders got wise, content creators used to pad our metrics with picture galleries and slideshow articles with the information spread out over, say, 10 click through slides. We ALL did this because it increased page views, one of the metrics by which content’s value is measured. But that was then and this is now and people are wise to you so if you’re still doing this, you need to stop. I’m not clicking through your slideshow. Cut it out.
Autoplay videos: I’m not sure who ever thought this was a good idea – whether it’s a news story or an ad before a video – but it was never a good idea. It’s pushy and aggressive and sometimes you have your speakers all the way up because last night your husband was listening to High On Fire on your computer and forgot to turn them back down and the stupid autoplay video SCARES THE BEJESUS OUT OF YOU. I hate this.
Music: This isn’t as common as it once was but I it still happens. See above. Also, often people are already listening to their own music and trust me, they don’t want to hear yours without opting in.
Paywalls: Apparently paywalls are showing varying degrees of success and sometimes work but this is about me and I’m not opting into your stupid paywall. I know a workaround and can usually get your content anyway, and if that doesn’t work, I’m pretty certain that there is nothing you’re delivering that is SO GOOD I can’t find the equivalent information elsewhere for free.
Survey gating: You know when you see the first few sentences of an article and then it’s blocked by a survey that says “To continue reading, please answer a few questions! Do you like butter or margarine? Where did you hear about butter? Would you be open to trying margarine?” Sometimes it’s only one question and maybe it shouldn’t stick in my craw the way it does but I just hate it, so instead of answering your question I will leave because I’m pretty positive there is nothing so great about your website that this is worth doing.
If I don’t know what you’re talking about in the first paragraph: If I’m reading an article and by the end of the first paragraph I have no idea what you’re talking about or can’t connect it to the headline I clicked to get there in the first place, I’m gone. (This one might actually take up to 10 seconds but I’m a fast reader so usually not.)
Then there are the sites that use like three of these things in a row – sign up for our newsletter, here’s a popup ad, and now, guess what! It’s a slideshow! and I don’t know what to even say about those.
Look, I get it. As someone who used to work in the print industry, I know how hard it is to monetize, how much pressure there is to do so, and how driven you are to grab that audience. But you need to chill, man. More often than not, your efforts are backfiring. It’s time to try something else.
What about you? What makes you close a website right away and why?