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As I write this, I’m fuming about pet peeves. It’s been one of those weeks where it seems fate, the universe, or whatever, is barraging me daily with its pet-peeve arsenal.

And the pet-peeve thing reached its peak this morning when I got my oil changed. They told me it’d take a half hour. Two hours later, I drove away from the garage and was an hour and a half late to work. Needless to say, I won’t go back there for an oil change again. Waiting hours longer than expected is a major pet peeve.

Many websites similarly drive away customers with annoying Internet pet peeves. It’s the kind of thing that kills site traffic and conversion. Many businesses don’t even know their website doesn’t connect with their demographic, much less the human race.

So, in no particular order, here are a few Internet and website pet peeves that will cost you visitors, readers, customers, and, most importantly, money:

  • Popups. These make me want to howl and then close my entire browser. It’s amazing to me how many annoying popups still exist. If you want people to stay on your page, please get rid of these.
  • Intruding, drop downs, advertisements or graphics. I’m OK with ads – as long as they don’t cover the text, float across the page, or do something else extremely annoying. They often make me think my computer is coming down with a nasty virus.
  • “Give us your email, social security card and bank account number to read this.” I hate it when companies hold content for ransom. Companies try to promote their stuff then try to make you give them all your contact information to get it, often in the form of registration log on pages. *However, in some instances I think it’s OK, such as Webinars, etc. For the most part, free content available to anyone is the way to go. If you want to capture emails, have a newsletter sign up box, but don’t twist people’s arms.
  • Overly promotional social media updates and press releases. These make me gag a little, especially when I was an editor at a newspaper. With social media and PR, you are providing information and connecting with people. It’s for conversation and news. It’s not for exaggerated fluff.
  • Ambiguous home pages. You have just a few seconds before a visitor leaves your site or clicks through it. If your site doesn’t have a clear direction, say, “hasta luego” to your potential customer.
  • Confusing Navigation. If it’s confusing, I’m going somewhere else.
  • Bad copywriting. Typos, cheesiness, too serious, too long, unclear, un-engaging, exaggerations, etc., will kill your website. A site is often all about the headlines, copy and call to actions. If the writing is bad, you’ll have no chance with a customer.
  • “Install extra software to continue.” I hate this one. I fear getting a virus, and I don’t have the time to download new software.
  • Slow-loading pages. Not only is this a pet peeve, it’s also going to be big for the future of SEO.
  • Dead links. They are dead ends that force me to go somewhere else.
  • Bad colors, graphics. Some websites make me want to scratch my eyeballs out. Many designs can be distracting, and the wrong background color can make it difficult to read the text.
  • Flash and sparkly stuff. Flash can be pretty cool, but not usually in a conversion sense. Sometimes designers and CEOs like flash, because, it’s cool. But, it can often be flashy without any substance, and as a result, waste the viewers’ time. Some sparkly design stuff will make your site look like a used car sales floor. That is never a good idea.
  • Ineffective site tools. Why do people launch websites that don’t work? Why, why why?
  • MUSIC! Music on the homepage makes me do a mad scramble for the “X” button like it’s my full-time job to close out browsers. Music, and videos for that matter, that play without my approval, is a bad, bad thing.

Internet marketing is all about two things: (1) getting more traffic and (2) converting that traffic into sales. That involves good SEO services, and a website designed around simplicity, easy flow, clear direction and good content. Everything on the page should propel the user experience. If it doesn’t, it will make my pet peeve list.

Any pet peeves I missed? Please, rant with me below.