Sometimes people want to implement features on their website that are no longer used today on the web or that simply distract and annoy an online visitor. Below are the top ten things you should try to avoid having on your website, in no particular order. Please remember that there are always exceptions, so there could be cases where some of these features may be ok to use.
1. Splash Pages
Once upon a time, splash or intro pages were the coolest thing a website could have. Now, it is a thing of the past. Splash pages no longer serve a purpose and make it harder for people to get to your website. If someone visits your website regularly for information or tools, it can be annoying to have to go through a splash page every time. It is an unnecessary extra click.
2. Pop Up Ads
There is truly nothing more frustrating than going to a website and having an ad pop up in the middle of the screen. It discourages people from returning to your site because it makes it that much harder to get to the content. If you want to have advertisements, it is best to place them within the website itself in a designated “sponsored” area.
3. Music with Auto Play
In some very specific cases music can be ok on websites. For example, for musicians who are promoting their songs or photographers who normally want to create an emotional connection to their pictures with music. If you must add music, avoid auto play. Give people the ability to choose if they want to play it. Music can be an unwanted surprise for those who are already listening to something on their computer, have their speakers set very loud, or are surfing the web at work.
4. Videos with Auto Play
Videos are great on a website, but just like with music, they should not be set to auto play. It can surprise or annoy people in the same way. Also, if the video isn’t easily visible on the page, it can be frustrating trying to find where to click to make it stop or pause.
5. Hit Counters
A long time ago most websites had hit counters that let you know how many people had visited a site. This feature is no longer popular. Hit counters distract from the website content, aren’t really accurate and can be easily manipulated. Also, with social media as a major factor in today’s world, people care more about how many followers or “likes” you have than how many hits your web page gets.
6. Empty Pages
Sometimes due to marketing campaigns, print ads or other time sensitive elements that drive online traffic, a new website may need to be launched quicker than it can be built. This may result in pages that are “under construction”. I strongly suggest against this. Try to at least have some useful content on each page, even if you need to add on or revise it later. If you foresee not being able to populate pages with content soon, then I recommend not even having them available at all. Empty pages look unprofessional and can hurt your online credibility.
7. Broken Links
Just like empty pages, broken links look very unprofessional and can be very frustrating for anyone that was interested in clicking on one for further information. Always have working and relevant links. Sometimes the websites or articles that you may have been linking to may move or disappear, thus creating a broken link. To ensure that your links are always working, try to check and review them often.
8. Copy/Paste Content from other Websites
Just don’t do it! This is also known as copyright infringement. Copying content from other websites is stealing. Whether it is text or images, if you found it on another website, do not copy and paste it into yours. It hurts your ranking, your online credibility and it’s just plain wrong.
9. Entire Flash Content
A flash website can be really cool the first time around, but it can get tiresome very fast. Also, flash is quickly being replaced with other programming languages that can produce similar results and that are supported by most phones or electronic devices which currently don’t support flash. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use flash elements at all, it just means that your whole website shouldn’t be in flash.
10. Really Long Forms
Your website can help you get leads, set appointments and place orders with the help of online forms. However, people don’t usually like spending a long time filling out forms. You should always try to keep forms as short and concise as possible. Require only the most basic information. The quicker it is to fill out, the most likely people will actually take the time to use it.
I hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to share your thoughts on any other obsolete, out of date or just plain annoying things you think websites should try to avoid by leaving a comment below!