7 Ways to make me AVOID your Site — #3 will SHOCK you!!

There is a generation of people I really feel for when it comes to the web: those a few years younger than me and any after them. Way back when the most annoying thing a webpage could do was use pop-ups (and a few had oddly unkillable popups), or use the evil known as frames. The latter of which I am guilty of during youthful indescretions. But latley there are a few trends that are REALLY turning me off. Presented in no real order:

7. Having a stock headline, like the one above. This has become so common they seem computer generated. (X number of) (Y Subject) — #Z will (emotion)! Unless I really trust the web site in question I’m going to assume that this is just a stupid slideshow cribbed from the rest of the internet, which…

6. Slideshows. If there’s no readily available way for me to see it all on one page I’m gone. Checking out. A sports site I like does this and I occasionally tolerate it but usually it makes me want to hurt someone.

5. Cribbed/stock content. There are literally dozens of popular websites who post the same exact set of pictures or factoids repeatedly, with only a bit of a spin on them. This is great… until you’ve seen the content a few times. A great deal of it actually comes from much more interesting original sources — with less annoying websites.

4. Stupid comment system. Comments are free additional content for your articles. Outside of sites like Youtube and major news sites the comment sections are usually at least somewhat informative or interesting — and often amusing. If it’s a niche of any kind it will bring out other people with knowledge of that niche. That said: Don’t make me enable 800 sites in NoScript to get to the one that lets me see or post comments. Don’t require a login unless you allow WordPress/Disqus/etc. Those two are actually my preferred method to comment: do not make me login with Facebook because I won’t.

3. Building off the last: If someone I know, or a website I trust, links to you, and I follow along and get… bupkis… because I didn’t allow some javascript? I navigate away and I don’t come back until I forget that your site won’t even give me TEXT without me allowing some stupid javascript. Here’s the thing about javascript: Yeah, it’s neat, it is flexible, etc. But the overuse of it makes many sites absolutely unusable. My home PC is a quad-core with a ridiculous amount of RAM and some sites now feel slower than browsing the web on a computer from the 90s did.

2. Speaking of slow performance suckers: Don’t auto-play anything. I am a power-user, I have multiple tabs open at a time. If somehow I’ve whitelisted you enough that I get your video plugin in page, or haven’t found the offending advertiser that wants to talk to me, I will curse your lineage in both directions while trying to stamp you out. (Breitbart is now the WORST offender on this and will 100% never be allowed to run javascript on anything I’m using again.)

1. Don’t Suck(tm). Let this be a general catch-all. Just don’t suck. Don’t have hard to read text or colors, don’t have too many images that slow your page down, don’t have unclosed tags (sometimes I make this mistake), don’t rely on external sites to function.

To close, read carefully: There are more websites out there producing more content every day than a person with a life and a job can possibly read. You are competing with every other form of entertainment for eye-time. No atter what your niche is, no matter what flavor of website you run, you have competition. Be aware of this at all times.

Sadly, some of the worst offenders of all of this? Big, huge professional sites. There are more than a few that actually employ several people who inspired this rant. Some of them should know better and they’ve been in the web game for over a decade.

Here’s the best test for your site, by the way: Go to it with full javascript permissions turned on, clear cache and history. Does it take more than thirty seconds?

Load it in elinks — can I get to your articles and read them?

Turn off all javascript, java, etc. Is your site still useful*?

The answers should be no, yes, yes.

* Youtube and other media providing sites clearly won’t be useful, and they get a pass because they EXIST for that reason. Unless you EXIST for that, then you don’t get the pass.