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7 Things That Annoy Website Visitors

If you want to build a successful online presence, you need to have a fine-tuned website that brings visitors in and gets them to take action once on your site. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to have the first part down (getting traffic), but when it comes to actually converting visitors into customers, they fail miserably.

That’s because a lot of websites are annoying. They drive visitors away almost as quickly as they arrive. To add insult to injury, the frustrated visitors usually end up going to a competitor’s website to get their needs taken care of.

Here are 7 things that annoy website visitors.

1. Slow loading times – I’ve seen studies that say internet users give a website 8 seconds to grab their attention. If it doesn’t satisfy them during that short time period, they’ll back out and go elsewhere.  People are impatient. That’s why it’s so important to have a fast loading website. Here’s a good post with tips for increasing website loading speed.

2. Autoplay music or video – Seriously, this isn’t 1998. If your website starts playing music or video as soon as someone lands on it, you can bet more people than not will leave. It’s intrusive and annoying. Give visitors the option of playing the music or video. Don’t force it on them.

3. Cluttered layouts – Have you ever walked into a messy room and tried to find something? It’s overwhelming, right? The same thing goes for a cluttered website layout. If every single space on your website is filled, you’re going to overwhelm visitors and make it too difficult for them to use your site. Remember, less is usually more, and white space is your friend.

4. Poor navigation – Internet users have grown accustomed to using websites in a specific manner. They expect the navigation to be along the top or left-hand side of the page. They expect the navigation to be clear and the website to be organized in a logical manner. Don’t try to change this up. Keep it simple.

5. Forced registration – Look, I understand you want to collect data for marketing purposes from your visitors. But there’s nothing more frustrating than forcing visitors to register before they can take certain actions. Most people don’t like giving out a lot of their personal information, so you’re only going to drive them away by doing this.

6. No contact information – Your visitors shouldn’t have any problems getting in touch with you. You should have a dedicated contact page on your website, contact forms throughout, and you can even post your phone number or other contact info on each page of your website.

7. Too much Flash – There’s nothing wrong with having some minor Flash elements in your website, but when your entire site is based in Flash, you’re going to have some problems. First, you’re losing most mobile internet users. And then you run into problems with simple usability issues like bookmarking pages, clicking the back button, etc.

What are some other things that annoy you on websites?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here:

26 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by VIP Event Planner and Mickie Kennedy, PR Jobs. PR Jobs said: 7 Things That Annoy Website Visitors #pr #website RT @ereleases […]

  2. Meg says:

    What are some other things that annoy you on websites?

    Outdated content

  3. […] the fact that you’ll probably have to design a website of some sort. I found a post outlining seven ways to annoy your website visitors. I thought these tips were useful because they held true to my web-surfing […]

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Field Social Media, Mr Media Training. Mr Media Training said: Amen. RT @keithrpillow: #PR Fuel: 7 Things That Annoy Website Visitors; we loathe #2: autoplay music/video; […]

  5. I would like to add to this excellent advice by Mickie, but from an Editor’s perspective. Many of these ‘crimes’ are committed by in-house PROs who lack the right skill-set, but others are the result of an improperly-defined relationship between client and PR consultancy.

    Such problems go to the heart of this relationship, and illustrate whether it is a fruitful integration or merely superficial. Before accepting the account, perhaps it would be wise to consider whether you are being asked to become professionally involved in a client’s market communications, or being hired only as a bullshit production unit.

    In truth, Editors are under seige from the sheer volume of daily input, and do not have the time to go fossicking around the Web looking for information that should be included in a news-release or its accompanying backgrounder.

    So, yes, the problems identified by Mickie certainly exist – around the world – but, sometimes, the fault cannot be laid at the client’s door. It is likely to be yet another case of the blind leading the blind.

    Last point: in-house PROs are more likely to achieve the company’s website objectives if the whole presentation is created by two individuals with complementary skills – a graphic artist and a copywriter.

  6. I would add: when you click on a site and start to read, then BAM! Up goes the ad for a product or service. Hmmm. Seems much like what I just experienced when I came to this site. How odd?

    Otherwise, thanks for the article–helpful!

  7. Jennifer says:

    I have to agree with what Chris just mentioned on the comment before mine…there is nothing more annoying than a pop-up video or add that takes up the entire screen and keeps the reader from viewing the page.

    You hit the nail on the head with your other points, I just really hate those pop-ups!

  8. bea says:

    That giant pop up thing is the number one annoyance!!!!!!

  9. Amie says:

    As I was reading this article an unsolicited ad popped up that I had to close in order for me to continue reading. Yeah, that’s pretty annoying.

  10. Matt says:

    I agree with Chris about the pop up ad much like happened when I came here…but will say at least this one had an easy to find close button.

  11. Doug says:

    Agree with Chris and Jennifer – Particularly a shameless ploy to drive up FB numbers. e-releases just lost any credibility you, the smiling guy at the top of the page, had and I will remeber. Bush league. You will not find my name under Likes on your page.

  12. PR Fuel says:

    Doug, How does a pop-up for a free report have anything to do with Facebook numbers?


  13. Jim says:

    When I start reading the article and a pop-up ad appears that I have to “x” out of. Like on this very site. Very annoying. Oh I see this annoys everyone else, too. Except the author of the page, who continues to love it. He’s right though, chances are I won’t come back here.

    Besides, a site like this should have an RSS feed anyway, and if it exists, it sure isn’t obvious (I see one for comments, but I need one for the whole site, so I can just see new posts in my reader). That’s probably my No. 1 annoyance with sites — no obvious RSS feed.

  14. V says:

    Echoing the pop-up annoyance, but there was insult to web injury here: that PR poll sitting off to the left? It actually bled through the pop-up square for me, creating a cacophony of web design irritation. Done on purpose to illustrate a point? A smart blogger would say yes with a smirk.

  15. Cameron says:

    While your point is well taken, Mickie, it seems you have failed to recognize the irony.

  16. PR Fuel says:


    The poll doesn’t bleed for me but I don’t like it and do plan to remove it. Thanks!


  17. PR Fuel says:

    Points taken. The pop-up is gone.


  18. Peter says:

    No clear Call to Action. I prefer a site that makes it clear what it wants me to do and is easy to navigate. Don’t make me guess where to find what I need!

  19. 1. No self-service knowledge base (KB) to allow you to find your own answer so you don’t have to pick up the phone and call to get help (or Tweet a #FAIL, or email, or chat, etc.). The KB should also be connected to enterprise docs and discussion forums.
    2. If they have FAQ’s or a self-service KB, no ability to communicate that you already looked through these answers and that is why you are now emailing/chatting/tweeting/FB’ing/Calling
    3. Missing one of the channels I like to use to communicate with the company (for asynch. communication I like eMail, for immediate help while I am multi-tasking I like chat, for complex problems I like “schedule a call back” or “click to call”.
    4. When I do “give up” and call, they should know everything I have already tried to solve my own problem via the other channels. Why should I have to repeat everything I tried to the agent on the phone? The phone number should easy to find on the website.

  20. Annoying thing no. 8:
    The music keeps on playing even after I have left the site, so I have to quit my browser to get rid of it.

  21. Jim Ries says:

    Great advise. Thanks for posting. It is so refreshing to see your comments fit hand in hand with what out web designer has created for our site.

  22. Michael says:

    Well said. Many people, though, don’t realize how bad their design may be.


  23. […] let this be you! To learn more about how to have a good web page, read 7 Things That Annoy Website Visitors. I had never thought in detail about what makes a good site and what doesn’t. But after reading […]

  24. […] let this be you! To learn more about how to have a good web page, read 7 Things That Annoy Website Visitors. I had never thought in detail about what makes a good site and what doesn’t. But after reading […]

  25. […] by adding images, videos and graphics…but don’t overdo it! Based upon information found on, one of the seven things that annoy website visitors is too much of Adobe Flash. Overdoing it with […]

  26. Marilyn says:

    Websites that won’t let you click the back button! This practice is so obnoxious. I’ve already seen what I wanted to see on that page…no need to try and hold me hostage!

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