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My 5 Website Pet Peeves (Or Why You Lost a Visitor)

I spend a lot of time online, both for work and leisure. I love surfing the Web: I’m an avid reader and Internet is a goldmine of information.

But lately, I discovered a few trends that are to me, a visitor, a huge turn-off.

Here are my 5 website pet peeves or “Why you lost a visitor”.


A Slideshow I Won’t Go Through

Slideshows seem to be the latest trick-on-the-block these days. Ugh. What an annoying feature.

I get it—slideshows generally force users to spend more time clicking around. It increases page views… and jacks up ad impressions. But as a visitor, slideshows are a waste of my time. Most are deceptive and offer little in terms of reading value—they are just a large bland stock pictures with a few lines of text besides them.

So what do I do when I stumble upon a slideshow? I close the tab and never come back to that website again. You may get more page views but you lost a potential reader right there.

Tip: Some websites offer a “view as a single page” option or you can sometimes find a “print” button that will open a new page with the slideshow displaying inline.

Paged Articles

A Three-Paragraph Article Spread Over 4 Pages, Seriously?

Although I don’t hate that feature as much as sideshows, I’m not a huge fan of unnecessary pagination. Once again, in order to increase page impressions, some websites split articles into five, six and more pages even though each page only contains a few paragraphs.

I hate having to click through multiple pages to read a short article and I resent the fact that this feature only exists to boost page views. What a waste of time!

Tip: I use AutoPager, a smart FireFox add-on that automatically loads the next page when you reach the end of a page. Yay for infinite scrolling of content!

Article Reposts

Next Time, I Will Read The Article From The Original Website

Occasionally, a headline on a website catches my eyes. I click on it, expecting to read the full article on said website—not so fast! Halfway down the article, there is a line that says “to read the full story, head to our friends at www.blahblahblah.com”.

I hate that. I like to read the original article on the original publishing website: first it deserves the credit and page views, second reading half of the article and then the end on another website is a waste of time.

Tip: Some websites belong to a “network” and use this trick to split the traffic. Learn to spot the trend and read the article where it was originally published.

Translation “Tools”

This Is Not Translation

I guess this one is a professional pet peeve and that most people won’t mind it. But it drives me crazy—let me explain why.

In Canada, a lot of websites have a French and an English version. This is true for all government websites (for instance, Citizenship and Immigration) and for big companies (such as Walmart Canada or Home Depot). These bilingual websites are a great tool for translators because you can check the proper terminology by simply switching between French and English, and of course they “speak” to the bilingual nature of the country.

But some websites are cheating and their French (or English!) version is simple a “Google Translate” button.

Yeah, nice try.

Google Translate produces gibberish and is certainly not a good way to offer a multilingual version of your website. Such translation tools can be useful to grasp what a website written in a foreign language is about but that’s about it. Seriously, ditch that button and hire a real translator—don’t be cheap!

Registering to comment

…And I Won’t Leave A Comment

I like to participate to discussions and when I read an interesting or thought-provoking article, I often leave a comment.

Well, if I can.

See, some websites require you to register to comment or force you to use an account you supposedly already have, such as a Facebook or Twitter account. I’m sorry but I’m not on Facebook and I’m not signing up just to leave a comment on your website. Goodbye!

Tip: Whenever you comment with an existing social media account, just make sure your privacy is respected. I may be paranoid but I don’t want to annoy my Tweeter followers by having my comments published in my Tweet feed.

How about you? Any website pet peeve?

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