7 ways to annoy your website visitors

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.

Annoyed by websitesAnnoyance 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?

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Graham Jones
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+
Graham Jones

@grahamjones

Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
More evidence for the negative impact of social media. "Social Media’s Negative Impact on How We View Our Bodies"… https://t.co/3l2DsYEac5 - 40 mins ago
Graham Jones

4 thoughts on “7 ways to annoy your website visitors

  1. Wow, was just about to comment when a pop up slammed against the screen saying: "Ten Steps to Internet Profits"! Check your own house is in order, Mr Jones! (No doubt – hopefully – unintentional, but VERY ironic!)

    Somewhat unfair what you say about Andy Murray and the Williams sisters. People who get obsessive about facial hair just don't really get out enough! Of course, in business, presentation is very important and anyone wishing to secure a bank loan or new clients or retain current clients, needs to look smart and presentable. But sports stars? The key thing is whether their sporting prowess excites and impresses, which alas this Wimbledon the Williams sisters have not. though Andy Murray seems to be playing very well (but sadly probably not well enough!).

    However, you are spot on with regard to website annoyances. A couple of others that are more general observations on the internet:

    1> Circuit Marketing – this may be an invented phrase, but is a common ailment of many Twitter users where the same company, or person, retweets from their various accounts, the same thing. Recently, a supposedly competent retail expert spent an afternoon announcing themselves and their various companies as sponsor, Chair, founder, speaker, facilitator, advertiser and probably lots of other roles with regard to a conference they were planning. It was so obvious, it would be strange if the tactic worked. Clearly, they have too much of a "sell" mentality and hopefully consumers nowadays are more savvy. If any business annoys, people should make it a point of principle to never give them custom again. Weed out the rubbish and strengthen businesses that respect their customers.

    2> Email bombardment. We all know the tedium of spammers who want to enlarge various appendages, but it is much more frustrating when a supposedly reputable company starts to clog your inbox with offers, news, blogs etc. Even if some of their 'product' is good and worthwhile, it becomes impossible to find in the tsunami of emails.

    Although Unique Oxford is under development and finding its way, one of our core attributes is to build followers, business partners and customers over a longer period of time, by being sensitive and careful, with the view that they will have a greater affinity to the brand and will think more positively about the Unique Oxford approach. Long term, repeat custom is always more valuable to a business than constantly seeking new customers to quickly fleece or annoy and then find they never return.

    Great post, on the whole, in line with the general quality of your output. So, facial hair obsession aside, thanks!

  2. Thanks for the comment – glad you liked the irony of the pop-up…..!

    I disagree that the key thing about sports stars is whether they excite or impress from a performance perspective. There are plenty of brilliant sports people who just don't "connect" with their audiences – call it personality clash or whatever, but it isn't just about sporting ability. It is about their sporting ability PLUS the ability to connect with their audience. And unruly facial hair is a potential reason for disconnection…! Everyone I have asked about it says they wish he would either grow a proper beard or shave…!

    Thanks for highlighting the dreaded circuit marketing – I've just spent ages "cleaning" my Twitter list to find that I was following what seemed like six people, who were in fact all the same individual….!

    Email bombardment is more subjective, though. Some people don't mind receiving daily emails from Amazon, for instance, whereas others find it annoying. I suspect a link between "locus of control" and this variation. Maybe I'll do some work on that. I do know of cases of people who have switched OFF their spam filters because – wait for it – they didn't get many emails….! (Err…that's the idea…!) But they feel "unloved" so would rather have an inbox full of spam which they can manage themselves, rather than acquiesce to the power of an automated filter.

    Anyway, I'd love to chat for longer on this – but I must nip upstairs and shave my chin….! Don't want to look like Andy Murray do I?

  3. I love your stuff, Mr Jones, and would unhesitatingly recommend your interesting advice to others. But this pop-up of yours, after telling people not to use pop-ups and telling people this sort of thing is a prime way to annoy others, is not "ironic" or "funny" – it is just irritating and it is the wrong thing for you to do.

    • Graham, sorry you dislike my pop-up….however, it is part of an experiment (which I know annoys some people – sorry). I did write about it a few weeks ago. And since using it, I have doubled my email sign up rate. However, once it has been in place for the experimental run-time, I shall remove it. After the "control" period I'll then be publishing my results.

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