Skip to content Skip to navigation Skip to contact information

Your browser is out of date. Our website will continue to function, but with a reduced experience and simplified design.

Home News Article: Website no-nos

Website no-nos

Published on Thursday, March 7th 2024

So, this article will be a controversial one as I know many agencies will disagree.

But I’ve been in the industry for 25 years, and in this time have learnt a few tricks and have a few pet peeves, which I thought I’d share.

Pop ups

If something is important then work it in to the page design, rather than undo all of the designer’s hard work by throwing it in people’s faces. As a user you’ve just taken the focus away from what I want to see and thrown some marketing in my face. Furthermore, if I’m on a mobile device it can often be a pain to close it.

Pop up modals

By pop ups I do not just mean promotions, but also the functionality of the website. You usually make the mobile-user’s experience far worse. Stop it.

Too many adverts

If your revenue comes from adverts then I can see their importance; but adding so many that a site isn’t usable will just annoy users, reduce impressions, and end up generating less money. A local news website springs to mind that I know many people have boycotted because they push too many ads. Use them, if need be, but don’t be greedy.

Discount code pop ups

These are not annoying as a user, but can be counter-productive for a business. I went to buy some window blinds the other day, added them to my shopping cart, then the phone rang. After my five-minute call there was a popup on the website offering me a 10% discount to purchase. So, I did, but was going to anyway. £30 off, thank you very much. I do see their use, but don’t give your money away so easily.

Too much remarketing

Ever looked for an item, then seen adverts for the item or seller everywhere? Well, that’s remarketing and it can be very effective. However, there is a difference between subtle marketing to keep my interest alive, to spamming me at absolutely every opportunity until I associate your brand with my negative thoughts.

Abuse my phone

Users may forget to opt-out to your marketing (even though, these days, you really need to get them to explicitly opt-in), and sending them an odd email every few weeks shouldn’t do much harm. But start phoning them or sending them texts and you’ll find it’s a sure-fire way of losing a customer. I ordered a pizza from a local shop rather than use a chain and, without my permission, they text me at least every week and didn’t give me the facility to opt-out. I had to go in the shop to get it done, and have never used them since…

Too much upsell

So, you add a flight to your shopping cart for a weekend away and go to check out.

Do you want to subscribe to our newsletter? No. Do you want to upgrade your fare? No. Are you sure you don’t want these extra features? Yes. Do you want to choose a seat? No. So you don’t want more legroom? No. Do you want express check-in to skip the queue? No. Do you want to upgrade your cabin bags? No. We’ll fine you if it’s too big, are you sure? Yes. Do you want to check in any bags? No. Do you need to take any equipment? No. Do you want a fast-track lane? Didn’t you ask this already? Do you want travel insurance? No. Do you want to pre-order any in-flight items? No. Do you want to hire a car? No. Do you need parking at the airport? No. Do you need a bus or train to the airport? No. Are you sure you don’t want that insurance? Still no.

This is genuine, I just did it. Enough said.

Summary: Don’t be greedy

Have you noticed a theme with all of the above?

In all examples the company is being greedy. This approach may indeed work with larger faceless organisations, but if you look at their reviews then they are often awful. People use them and put up with the pushiness because they have to, not because they want to.

This is much less likely to be effective on a small or medium-sized business, and may just alienate their customers.

Alternative: Be user focussed

To make a website work well the company needs to think of their end users, not their bottom line, and the rest will follow.

My favourite examples are shops that use Apple Pay or Google Pay, meaning lazy customers don’t need to find their payment card to purchase past a cart. I’d include myself in this, and have previously chosen take aways that have Apple Pay because I didn’t want to walk to the kitchen and get my wallet – lazy, eh!


We are Webbed Feet, we recommend putting users first