This month I will be talking about the top 5 mistakes to avoid when publishing on the internet.
You navigate to a website or a section in a website and before you can take in the information you are interested in, up pops an annoying pop up box. Invariably these “pop-ups” are used to invite you to enter a competition or subscribe to a newsletter. Although these pop-ups offer you incentives and exciting free things, they are really more annoying than anything. You wouldn’t try to shove a flyer in front of a customer’s face when they are reading a newspaper or book for just the same reason.
Also beware that Google will rank lower any website that has pop-up adverts that cover the main body of content. This goes for interstitials (adverts that appear as a web page is being rendered or are placed in between the main content) too. Google recognises that these things detriment the user experience.
When the site has more real estate given out to Ads than content then the content has to be sensational to compete. This is why fake news sites need to publish such sensational rubbish, if it was run of the mill news, no-one would put up with all the garbage you have to wade through.
Inappropriately placed help messages
This is most pertinent in forms. Whether a customer is filling out a form in order to purchase an item of goods or a service or to communicate in some way with a website, the task needs to be simple. Customers can easily make mistakes along the way and so it is customary to present your customer with a message informing them that they need to change something before they may continue. If you show that message at the top of a very long page, your customer won’t see it when they get to the bottom of the page to click on the submit button. The message needs to be right next to the area of the screen that they are concentrating on which is usually the button. If the message is not located appropriately then the customer will not be aware of why they cannot proceed with their task. After repeatedly clicking on the button to no effect they will no longer be a satisfied customer to say the least and your competitor is only one click away...
Being redirected to another website
Customers do not like to find themselves suddenly on a totally different website and/or domain name. Especially when they are about to part with their money. It looks shifty and these days people are wise to internet fraud. Imagine if you are shopping at www.lots-of-lovely-stuff-domain.com * and are about to pay and find yourself at the checkout of www.dodgy-jims-phones-domain.com *, would you part with your money? Well, probably not with a domain name like that but even if the name seemed OK, it’s still not the same identity as the company you began the transaction with. People are used to being redirected to PayPal and frequent internet shoppers are unfazed but otherwise redirection needs to be considered carefully.
* These domain names were not owned at the time of writing and are only used as examples
Large media files
Customers do not appreciate having to download a large image or video file unless they are visiting your site for the main purpose of viewing that one thing. If you come across a site that you have never visited for the first time you are unlikely to have the patience to wait for a large file to download onto your device especially if you do not have wifi or 3G coverage.
Next month I will discussing some simple things that you can do to make your website more appealing to your audience.