Andy Murray annoys me; there, I’ve said it. The current centre-court darling makes my blood boil. SMILE for heaven sake…you are doing what you supposedly enjoy…and you are quite good at it….! And SHAVE….! Or grow a proper beard, but leaving a bit of fluff on your face smacks of laziness and lack of care for the people who have to look at you. And while we’re on the subject of Wimbledon, the Williams sisters annoy me too…! It seems as though the word “arrogance” was invented for them. Yesterday I dared to utter my annoyance about certain Wimbledon players, expecting to be knocked back by the people I spoke with. I was met with complete agreement instead.
Annoyance is often a shared emotion. Why is it that so many of us get annoyed by Andy Murray, the Williams sisters or that bloke who constantly shouts “buy one, get one free” on that TV double glazing ad? It seems terribly easy to annoy people – but the truth is there is a common reason and it is visible in its full glory online. Indeed, it is a feature shared by all of the following methods of annoying your website visitors.
1. Ignore them
Simply don’t even realise they are there. Just go about things your own happy way, doing what you want with your website, not even noticing the comments saying you are rubbish, or the Tweets saying you are great. Just carrying on in oblivion is sure to annoy your website visitors.
2. Shower them with adverts
Make sure as soon as someone lands on your website they are faced with a glittering array of advertising, which flashes on and off, moves across the screen and makes them take notice. Indeed, you should do everything you can to make them take notice of the adverts so that they completely ignore the wonderful content you have for them to digest.
3. Blatantly tease them
Write headlines which attract readers by their thousands and then fail to write anything remotely connected to the subject. A good one is something like “Free Sex”, then you start the article with “Free sex is something we would all like, but we’d never get any work done and we’d pretty tired if that’s all we did each day. So, what do you really want “free” in your role as a bathroom fitter? That’s right, you want free masking tape so you can avoid getting paint on the bath. The best free masking tape comes to you with our compliments if you just fill in this form….” Er, I thought you were offering free sex.
4. Avoid any notion of spelling and grammar
Some people like to think that speling and grammer are things you left behind at skool. What you should really do is write long sentences that don’t say anything and that don’t have any punctuation but go on for ages without giving your readers any kind of chance for a breather as they read your sentence and try to work out what on earth it is that you are going on about because you don’t even have much of a point but you simply keep writing words as though they are things that should simply be put down in some kind of sentence even though you clearly have no idea what a sentence is. Or punctuation. In fact it is a good, idea; if you use all the wrong. kinds of punctuation in all the – wrong places.
5. Relentless write about yourself or your company
Forget that anyone outside your business exists. Only ever write anything that says what wonderful people you are and how brilliant everyone who works for you is. If you do dare to write a case history it’s all about you and what you did, never about the client you helped. In fact, if you can even avoid mentioning the actual company and simply say “a firm in the building sector” that would be brilliant.
6. Sell, sell, sell
Take every opportunity to sell. Make sure every link goes to some kind of sales page. Ensure you pack your content with affiliate links so if you don’t get a direct sale, you’ll still make some money on commission. Ensure that every page has a clear sales objective so you can measure the success of individual items of sales copy in your analytics programme, which should have dozens of “sales goals” in it. Make sure all of your web activity, such as your Tweets are also doing as much selling as possible.
7. Don’t ever let people leave your site
Make sure it is really difficult to leave your website; ensure you have plenty of “exit pop-ups” that appear with questions like “Are you sure you want to close this window? Just look at what we have to offer”. Then if they click cancel, immediately provide another pop-up, but this time swap the OK and Cancel buttons around so they press the wrong one and stay on your site. Don’t let them get away easily.
I could go on – and on, and on…! But I won’t. Here’s the reason why these things are all annoying – the website owner fails to see things from the perspective of their audience. They are so focused on themselves, they ignore their visitors’ thoughts, feelings and desires. And that is exactly why we get annoyed with some Wimbledon stars – not shaving and only having half a beard shows you just don’t see yourself as many others see you; not shaking hands with your opponents or walking off the court without your playing companion demonstrates such self-focus as to appear obsessed or downright rude. Either way, the reason I don’t much care for Andy Murray or the Williams sisters is that they show – perhaps unintentionally – that they don’t really see things from our perspective.
So the question is – how much of your online presence is viewed through your audience’s eyes rather than your own?
- How to Stop Visitors From Leaving Your Website in Three Seconds (grahamjones.co.uk)
- Five Copywriting Errors That Can Ruin A Company’s Website (smashingmagazine.com)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+