As a freelance content writer and researcher, I spend a helluva lot of time on the Internet. And I visit hundreds of websites a week, for information, for amusement, to expand my knowledge and understanding of topics. In fact, most of us spend some time on the Internet and obviously visit websites.
As a free-market capitalist I’m not one to begrudge others of trying to make a living. I admire people who go out, brave the wild frontiers of online marketing, and hang up their cyber shingle. That’s awesome.
But if you make it difficult for me to visit, stay and absorb whatever your site has to offer, I’m clicking off. Me and everybody else.
It’s ironic that the first rule of advertising is not to annoy and most marketers and online businesses violate the hell out of that rule. So many sites are jammed with things that every website visitor loathes that it boggles the mind.
Following is a list of things that we all hate. Not dislike, not are slightly annoyed by or irritated with – but hate.
- Pop-up ads. There’s nothing worse than clicking on a link to read an article and have pop-up ads or worse pop-up registration and subscription windows jumping out at you. And to add insult to injury you have to sit and wait until it’s done popping up before you can click it away. And the only thing I’m looking for is the way to get rid of it. You’ll be lucky if I stick around and read the article I came to your site to read in the first place.
- Auto-play videos, ads, and audio. Again, I clicked on your site to read an article or blog post or find out about a product and now I’m being bombarded with music, a cat video, a video ad, or ten in the sidebar and my computer processor sounds like a muscle car stuck in neutral. I don’t have the time to search out all the auto plays going on to turn them off, so I can find that link I came to your site to read. Instead, I’m leaving. Buh-bye.
- Flashing, blinking, scrolling, twirling psycho animations. This is the nightmare scenario for me in particular. I click on your site and within two seconds animations, auto-play videos, blinking and flashing paid advertisements, and other interactive entertainment is jumping all over the page. I’ve now forgotten why I’ve come to your site because all the lights, noise and colors are making me feel like I’ve stepped into the Vegas version of cyberspace. And I’m not about to run all over your site trying to turn that crap off while my computer gets stuck in plug-in hell. Again, see ya!
All the flash and glitter may work for Vegas – they do serve free drinks and offer cash advances too, so bear that in mind – but they don’t work for a website. We get it – you need to make a living. Understandable. But does it have to be so loud, so flashy, so annoying?
My advice? Save the glitter, flash and songs for your Christmas decorating and give us silent, static, easy to understand ads. That give us freedom of choice to pay attention to or to ignore. If I can visit your site without being accosted by your ads I’ll probably come back.
But if you go for the Vegas theme and I don’t stand a chance of winning money? I’m clicking off.
What about you? Do these things drive you up the wall as much as they do me? Share your thoughts.