6 Annoying Features That Will Hurt Your Websites Conversion Rates

What’s more important than ranking first page in Google?

Chocolate cake?

Well close, but no….it’s conversions.

Conversions are absolutely crucial because without them, your site may as well be nowhere in the search engines. Even if you do infact hit that elusive first spot in Google for your target keywords, it’s not going to mean much if your conversion rates are 0.0001%.

If you haven’t figured out by now, I’m pretty big on conversions, and for good reason. Often, business owners already have enough traffic to hit their goals in terms of revenue or enquiries, yet they’re constantly screaming “We need more traffic!”.

No. You need to convert the traffic you already have.

For those that missed out, I spoke about it recently in this thread here. If you haven’t got time to read it, basically the message is this – it’s pointless obsessing about being ranked first in Google for anything if your site isn’t converting. Not only is it a complete waste of traffic, but it can lead to a lot of wasted time and money too. Not to mention frustration – especially when your traffic is increasing, but your sales aren’t.

Yet it seems that many business owners are still seemingly more interested in dicky features like huge sliders, wanky menus, or virtual sales people, than they are actually making sales, or capturing leads.

Infact, I’m amazed at how many website owners are intent on using this nonsense when they know all well and good that they’re just downright annoying and potentially losing sales because of it.

Having said that, in this article I’m going to share the top 6 biggest annoyances that are without doubt costing you conversions, sales, leads, enquiries and potentially rankings too – in no particular order, here they are.

1. Popups.

It’s 2014. I honestly can’t believe I’m STILL talking about popups and how annoying they are. Chances are, if your users are continually fighting with popups that one of three things are going to happen.

  1. They’ll send you an abusive email
  2. They’ll click the back button quicker than a game show buzzer, OR
  3. They’ll give up completely, close the browser and swear a few times

My money is on a combination of all three.

2. Talking popup people.

Lol. I laughed out loud when I read that …”the talking popup people”. It reminded me of that movie, “The Village” …I have no idea why I referred to them as that, but that’s the first thing that came to mind. Actually, let me Google the proper name and I’ll post it below.

Aha, they’re apparently called “virtual sales assistants” (or something like that)


In any case, they’re REALLY annoying, and when one of those things pops up on my screen, I’m sorry, but I’m outta there – big time. Chances are, everyone else is too. You might think these things are pretty cool, but let me tell you, they’re NOT.

There’s nothing worse than a pop out person walking across the screen wearing some cheap suit, standing their awkwardly trying to tell me why I’ve just landed on the greatest website in the world. I don’t care what you have to say – just let me view the page, I’m in a hurry.

The worst part about these things is trying to figure out how to shut them up. Some have transparent close buttons, others are hidden completely. Some you just have to “wait”. Urrgh.

It’s total wank factor and should be avoided at all costs.

Don’t believe me? Here, turn up your sound, pop on a set of headphones, and have a flick through any of these sites. (It’s gives a much better effect if you’re listening to music at the same time or something as well)

3. Massive sliders

Why people use these things is really beyond me. Apart from making me feel dizzy, sliders would have to be one of the most annoying “fads” going round the internet right now. I really have no idea what purpose they’re meant to serve instead of just “looking nice” or perhaps they make the site owner feel “warm and fuzzy”. Who knows.

I recall once, viewing a lawyers website, that had this huge big bowl of oranges sliding round and round and round on the homepage. ORANGES! Why?????? It was huge. It took up about 70% of the screen, and it took an eternity to load. Unless I scrolled down the page, I couldn’t see anything else – no content, no phone number, no nothing. Just this big bowl of fruit, sliding by, and a logo. Ridiculous.

Sliders suck for the following reasons –

  • They take up essential screen space . Typically space above the fold, which is where your CONTENT should be.
  • They can take forever to load.
  • They make me feel dizzy. If I want to feel like that, I’ll go and swing around on a Hills hoist.

If you’re using sliders just for the “wow factor” or to impress your friends – get rid of it.

Here’s an example of a slider that leaves me sitting here dazed, looking at pretty women and doing not much else. Oh, and here’s a great post over at ConversionXL by Peep where he talks about sliders, as well as this article that I found which is pretty funny too.

Avoid sliders, they’re not cool


4. Slide out menus

These things can be useful if they’re actually viewable across a range of devices, but I’ve seen a LOT of websites where they’re using one of these slider (sidebar) menu things, and it gets cut off on mobile devices. That may not sound like such a big deal, but it surely will be if 80% of your traffic is coming from mobile devices and people can’t figure out how to do something simple – like send you an email.

You’re much better off using a regular contact page, because

  1. That’s what people expect
  2. You can’t miss it
  3. It’s easy

Anytime you start getting “fancy” with your navigation, you’re just asking for trouble. Don’t make users think. Keep it simple, stupid.

Below is an example of a dicky “slide out” style menu option. In this case it’s a “request for a call” option, which I would assume is a pretty important action that the website owner wants us to take.


No big deal on a laptop or regular desktop computer, but here’s what happened when I tried it on a mobile.


It got stuck! As I scrolled down the page, it stayed exactly where you see it here. I couldn’t click on it. If I was completely new to this website, I probably would’ve gotten frustrated and left.

5. “Enter website” messages

This one isn’t so popular thankfully, but I still see it around, and that is homepages that are set to a default screen, with some meaningless logo or message on it that reads “Enter Website”. They’re sometimes referred to as “splash pages”. Have a look at the image below to see what I mean.

enter website

You click it, and it takes you through to the actual website, where you then have normal things like, y’know …navigation, content and stuff.

Absolutely ridiculous and a completely unnecessary step that just doesn’t need to be there.

What’s worse in some cases, is how long these “enter website” messages take to load. Some I’ve seen take 15 seconds or so (because they’re built in flash). Far too long. Again, just a nuisance that doesn’t need to be there.

6. Auto play video or audio

Here’s one that makes me want to kick garden gnomes over. Auto play video or audio.

I swear, there’s nothing worse!

stupid burns

You land on a website, and just as you’re about to make your way through the navigation, or click on something you need, some video starts playing at 800 decibels in your ear. Or Worse, background music kicks in and loops OVER AND OVER AND OVER starting at each page as you click around the website. The biggest nuisance is not being able to figure out where to turn it off.

Want some examples?

Try here, here or if you really want to be annoyed go here

If you’ve got a video (or audio) on your website, leave it up to the viewer to decide as to whether or not they want to watch it. Don’t just shove it in their face. When you get in your car, the engine doesn’t immediately start up. When you walk into the garden shed, the mower doesn’t just suddenly turn on – so why do it on your website? Stop it. Just stop it.

Auto play anything on your website will have users clicking the back button faster than you can say “What happened?”

Again, it’s another silly feature that should be avoided.

Final words

When it comes to your website, there are a few things that are absolutely essential.

Purpose – what is the purpose of the website?
Action – What do you want someone to do when they land on your website?
Call to action – Ask them to do that.
Less is more – Less is always more. The more “stuff” you have on your site, the more distractions you have. The more distractions you have, the lower your conversion rates will be.

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