If you ask anyone that knows me what I am most passionate about, they’d probably tell you a combination of offensive websites and bad UX practices.

And don’t call me surely.

I am always angrily walking around our office ranting about a popup interfering with my browsing or a pushy series of emails.

Here are 8 reasons I will definitely leave your website, and most likely never come back.

Updated: Full Page Background Advertisements

Full page background ads are when there is a huge image stretched across the entire background of the website, with a nice big fat href anchor so no matter where you click on the background it will take you to the ad

Login Walls

They are the anti-christ of UX. Nothing boils my blood more than these terrible boxes. My hatred for these is shared by others, and has recently been backed by cold hard data from the Nielsen Norman Group.

[quote] “In our many usability tests, we rarely have seen users more annoyed than when they come across a login wall. Login walls are pages that ask the user to log in or register before proceeding.” [/quote]

Some websites with login-walls take this stupidity to a new level and completely block website visitors from browsing the website at all until they register.

Website visitors are already extremely shifty when casually browsing the web. Add the fact that a lot of them spend less than 5 seconds on a website before making a decision to bounce and you have a very good reason to avoid login walls.

Load Speed

page speed so slow

Forget page load speed as an SEO signal for a minute. And I’m also not talking about getting your speed from 2.5 seconds down to .589 seconds.

I’m talking about those sites that take 30 seconds to a  full minute to load because of ads, poor coding, and broken scripts.

This not only infuriates users and will probably cause them to leave, but a “broken” website can even trap a user inside of a tab …FINISH

Pop-ups, Pop-unders, and other nonsense

There is a time and a place for everything, and very rarely is there a time or place for pop-ups. To put it very simply: everyone hates them.

One of my favorite websites is “tab closed, did not read.” A website dedicated to websites that use anti-UX mechanisms and the people that hate them.

Share Lockers

not sure what you are reading

I don’t totally hate this one, in fact Luiz Centenaro and I are constantly debating the efficacy of these. Here is my take on these: if you are going to have a share locker, you better damn well have some great content behind the curtain.

Websites that use share lockers to lock normal website content do nothing more than annoy users and drive them away. I would even venture to guess that Mr. Googlebot is not a fan of these as well.

Recently I created an entire set of SEO icons and images which I shared on this blog. I thought about putting up a share locker, email subscription or even charging for the icons but ended up not doing it.

That situation ended up creating a really nice in-office discussion about the SEO principle of reciprocity, and how you have to give to get. In other words, we want to grow our blog. We are up against tens of thousands of different SEO blogs and marketing blogs in the industry many of which have teams of writers and impeccable content.  The goal of this blog is not to make money, or gain subscribers. It is to gain readers and brand awareness.

Within 12 hours we had 1000’s of views on the post, 100 shares and 14 comments which is a much higher engagement than most of our other posts. In this case, the numbers spoke for themselves.

Constantly Ask for Email Subscriptions

do you hate our website

It is perfectly OK to ask your website visitors for their email if you are offering some sort of newsletter or some other offer. Shoving a form in their face by way of pop-up, overlay, or some other method is just uncalled for.

In my opinion, a website has to earn my email. I am not going to give it to you just because I liked one post or product. A website or blogger must consistently engage me over time. Only after carefully evaluating the websites intentions will I then (maybe) give up my email address. And I don’t think I am unique.

As a marketer, I have a lot of doubt and skepticism anytime someone asks me for an email address. I know that when I sign up for an insurance quote I will most likely get a phone call for a credit monitoring service.

I know that when I buy a shirt from Bloomingdale’s that I’ll get emails with promotions, flyers in the mail, and maybe even a phone call to sign up for a store credit card.

I realize that I am just a layer of a giant sales funnel, and my email address is a tiny piece of that layer.

Tip: You might be getting email sign-ups for your newsletters but you might be driving away even more visitors. Make sure you are offering something unique and there is a fair value proposition before asking a person for their email.

SPAM me with offers once I sign up

email interaction needy

Another great way to drive away customers is to SPAM them with offers once they sign up. Even worse is when a company sells your email as part of a list to someone else.

Many posts have been written about email marketing etiquette and related subjects.

It is generally a good idea to carefully consider all outgoing email communications, and not just blindly blast your list with offers.

Play video ads I can’t skip

I don’t deny the fact that online advertising is a necessary part of our entire financial ecosystem. Hell, I spend half my day writing and publishing ads online.

What isn’t good are ads that you cannot skip. A lot of YouTube videos are a fine example of “doing it right.”


  • you are presented with a video
  • a video advertisement plays
  • after X (usually 5) seconds you can either skip the ad or continue viewing it
  • once ad is skipped video content resumes

Most people do not have an issue with this. What users do have an issue with is content that:

  • you cannot skip
  • you cannot close out of
  • is difficult to locate the X to close out of
  • plays for longer than 5-10 seconds without being able to skip.

While advertising cannot be avoided in most circumstances,

Annoyingly Stuff Title Tags with Keywords

If one thing really irks me, it is running across a website with | tons | of | these | pipe | symbols in their title tags with ungodly amounts of ridiculous keywords stuffed into them.

Keyword density is another topic that is utterly ridiculous. When teaching SEO, I don’t even mention this principle until the person I am teaching has learned the art of crafting a convincing title and writing copy for the masses. Then and only then will I teach them how to carefully and minimally insert a few keywords to help boost the post.

Be natural with your title tags and descriptions. Rule of thumb: if your grandmother won’t understand it scratch it and start over.


This was a fun little “venting” post I wrote up but I hope you takeaway a few points from this:

  • don’t let your visitors seep out of your website because of “features” you’ve heard about and implemented
  • provide really solid & quality content, the rest will fall into place