8 Website Turn-Offs That Discourage Customers

8 Website Turn-OffsBusinesses everywhere put forth ample amounts of effort to get customers to their website. Search Engine Optimization is pursued, keywords are researched, quality content is written, and more.  But what about page abandonment (measured in "bounce rate")?

If customers aren't staying on your website once you get them there, however, there's a bigger problem at hand.

Once your prospects land on your website, you want them to be encouraged to click through your pages and engage in your content by reading a blog, filling out a form, or maybe even buying something.

In other words, attraction is only the first step in your inbound marketing game - lead conversion is the essential second step. If customers are dissatisfied with your website once they get there, your work to get them there will be entirely wasted.

So, what things turn customers off of your website? Here are 8 top turn offs, originally outlined in an Hubpost infographic.

1. Bad Navigation

The problem:

Having bad navigation design is one of the best ways to frustrate your visitors. Complex or inconsistent navigation makes it difficult for visitors to find the information they're looking for.

Avoid scattering navigational elements around different portions of your website, linking navigation within large bodies of text, or use elements that are in any way unclear (like a link simply titled "other" or a linked image that does not obviously serving a purpose).

The solution:

  • Group navigational links together in a central area
  • Aim for logical, intuitive, easy to understand links in terms of language and location

2. Too Many Ads

The Problem:

It's a given that customers do not appreciate advertisements. This notion is compounded by having too many obtrusive ads in one area, particularly ones that pop up over the browser window, flash, and fill the entire browser window.

The Solution:

  • Don't let ads be the first thing a user sees when they visit your website - bury them lower down in the page
  • Avoid pop-up ads that cover up your content or obscure anything important
  • Avoid ads that visually take up more space than your content
  • Use discretion in your ads and give them their own obvious, clean location to boost retention ratings on your website

3. Confusing Content Structure

The Problem:

The layout of your website is a big determining factor in whether or not your content will be enjoyed, regardless of the quality of your content. Bad content structure will overcomplicate and obscure your intended message.

The Solution:

  • Make your content organization obvious: avoid scattering content across multiple pages when it could be linked in one location
  • Group similar content together in a concise manner
  • Use bold headings to highlight sections and subsections, using particular care to optimize with keywords
  • Use introductory content to set up your sections, if necessary

4. Invasive Audio and Video

The problem:

Subjecting users to auto-streaming is an instant turn off to many users, and can be perceived as invasive. Especially with the portability of technology today, automatic audio or video can cause embarrassing disruption to your visitor if they are accessing your website in a shared public space.

The solution:

  • Give visitors the option of whether or not to view audio or video content instead of automatically forcing them upon it
  • If you do have need to play a video automatically, consider automatically muting the sound and always create a clear exit strategy for your visitor
  • Instead of auto-playing, consider providing visitors an introductory paragraph or headline that encourages clicks

5. Required Registration

The problem:

Forcing registration upon your visitors is a sure way to dissuade them from exploring your company further. Required registration often serves as a barrier between your company and the customer. Upon a first visit to the site, customers are usually looking to learn more about your company and will feel hesitant about revealing personal information right off the bat.

The solution:

  • Avoid putting up required registration pages on primary pages, and never put it on your home page. Let your consumers explore a little first
  • If there is content on your website which needs to require registration, consider giving your prospects an idea of what they are signing up for by offering a preview or demo before required sign-up

6. Boring Content and Design

The Problem:

There can be a beauty in minimalistic website designs. However, you want to create a memorable experience for your visitors - even minimalistic websites have strong elements of design and high-quality content to keep users going.

The solution:

  • Ensure your site has utility and visual appeal, even with a minimalistic approach; visitors should be able to find what they need easily
  • Create platforms for interactivity within the website, such as blogs, forums, forms, and regularly updated features - this will help avoid a "stagnant" website effect

7. Legibility is Poor

The problem:

Websites filled with vibrant colors, multiple different fonts, and imagery that is poor quality or inconsistent can make a website feel oppressive and distracting.

The solution:

  • Keep font variety to 2 styles, with exceptions for special content, and choose fonts which are considered standard legibility (like Arial or Tahoma) - avoid "script" fonts for main content
  • Keep a color palate of your website to 2 colors, with perhaps another additional color as an "accent" color
  • If at all possible, work with a graphic designer to create a website with maximized visual impact

8. Lack of Updates

The problem:

Even a beautifully designed and interactive site will appear stagnant if it is not updated frequently. Seeing "last updated 4/1/1995" at the bottom of the website, for example, causes alarm and makes your company appear disorganized.

The solution:

  • Maintain your website with fresh content; this not only compels past visitors to come back, it also conveys a "living" atmosphere to first time visitors
  • Consider adding a blog to your website; blogging is an easy way to consistently provide active content to your website, and garner new views
  • Promote current events on your website and archive old ones immediately

Need help?

Designing an interactive and engaging website can be difficult. Your company website is the top way to attract and convert leads. Consider working with a graphic designer to create a great platform for you to easily expand and develop on your own.

Questions for us? Interested in a designed website? Don't hesitate to send us an email or give us a call.


Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).