Don’t Make Your Website Annoying

So as a website owner, you’ve just heard about this latest and apparently awesome feature that everyone is using on his website. Your first instinct would be to follow the crowd. After all, if everyone is doing it, there should be something good in it for you as well.

Well actually, you can choose to do that. Or not!

search engine optimization

These days, it happens too often that websites adopt a feature only because some other sites are using it. Truth is, just because someone is using a website feature does not mean that you should too. It could do you more harm than good.

Some of the overused website features we’ve seen in 2013 and how they can prove to be bad in regards to your SEO efforts.

1. Infinite scroll

Infinite scroll is an amazing website feature. If you own a website like Facebook where you have information best presented in a never-ending linear manner then it could prove to be quite helpful. However, out of consideration for your visitors, you don’t want every page on your website to be a bottom-less source of information. Only use infinite scroll if you have a story to tell and if the endless scrolling is not too cumbersome. In particular, you want to avoid infinite scrolling for your homepage. A homepage is meant to aim users of the site to different sources of information around the site. Infinite scrolling interferes with that.

2. Sticky navigation

A sticky or fixed navigation is by definition a website menu that does not move as users scroll up or down a page. The navigation bar can be fixed at the top of the page, at the bottom or even on the side.  There are many types of websites where using sticky navigation would make sense but at the end of the day, the content on your site is going to be the best determinant of whether you need a sticky header or not. In many cases, a good site search feature might prove to be a much better alternative for quick site access.

3. Auto-sliders

Put quite simply, don’t bother unless you really know what you are doing. As a site owner, you might be under the impression that auto-sliders are cool but to users of the site, they can be downright annoying.

4. Auto-play audio, video and animation

If you want your website to have a good user experience, don’t auto-play audio, video or any form of animation when users click on your website. The last thing a visitor wants to happen when he or she is redirected to a website is being greeted by an annoying audio or video track and having to scramble around the place to find the source of the disturbance and shut it down. If you want to invest in audio or video content, by all means, go right ahead but make it an option. Don’t auto-play it.

5. Banner ads and promo boxes don’t work anymore

A few years ago, putting up banner ads and promo boxes on your website might have worked because people actually clicked on them. These days, these site features only take up valuable space while simultaneously putting you at risk of experiencing the full wrath of Google’s ad space penalty. Few are those websites that actually make revenue off these traffic detours.

6. Anything that pops up is probably not a good idea

With pop-up blockers activated on most people’s computers and mobile devices becoming an increasingly popular means of browsing the web, anything that pops up, whack it.  Of course this does not extend to Lightbox implementation or other layered div techniques.

8. Content

Last year, non-SEO people discovered the power of content marketing for SEO. 2012 was indeed the year of content marketing, content development and basically content everything. Now if you are already providing quality content on your website then you have nothing to worry about, but if you are creating content for the sole purpose of driving metrics, you are about to learn the hard way that the search engines have grown a lot smarter over the last couple of years. Search engine trolling is now against Google’s TOS.

9. Keyword tagging

Last but not least, keyword tagging was originally a feature of websites to organize content into pre-defined categories according to the keywords in the text until site owners decided to make up irrelevant tags given the unlimited tagging capability.  If you indulge in content marketing, keyword tagging should be done appropriately. The keywords should be kept to a limited number and finite. The sole purpose of keyword tagging should be to help your visitors find content, not drive topic page creation.

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One Response to “Don’t Make Your Website Annoying”

  1. Nick Stamoulis on May 23rd, 2013 6:41 pm

    I agree with the auto audio/video standpoint. There is nothing worse than sitting at your desk, browsing a site for some information, and then out of no where a commercial starts playing (and begins to disturb your co-workers). People choose to view your content by clicking over to your blog. They should also choose whether or not they want to engage with your video or audio content. If you force it on them, it just seems unprofessional.

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