SEO

6 Reasons Why Your Site Sucks

Even as an intern I know these things make your site suck. They are things I come across all too frequently and drive me crazy to the point where I want to either delete the site from the existence or go in and fix the issue myself. Unfortunately, most of the time, I cannot do either of those things. What I can do is announce the problems to the world and hope that those responsible listen and do something about it.

First, and this by far is the one that annoys me most, auto play audio.

Sadly many sites still have auto play videos or music, even John Stewart clips play automatically when you go to his site. This doesn’t just make your site suck, it makes it an annoyance, a nuisance, something that your guest will want gone like month old milk and it annoys for multiple reasons:

  • It interrupts whatever audio I already have going, this could be background music, or a TV show but whatever it is. YOUR SITE is ruining it for me.
  • It always happens when I’m opening multiple pages. Often I am searching for something and have opened multiple tabs, one of them will be making the unwanted sound and I have to search through each trying to find the culprit, then I have to try and find where the tiny pause button is. Usually I give up and just start closing tabs until the irritant goes away.
  • The volume is never set to the right level; if I am ever wearing headphones the audio will usually cause me to go temporarily deaf, as your site has just blown out my eardrums. That always makes me want to see more, especially because I can’t hear anymore.
  • Slows the website down, as will be mentioned later, slowing down your site for any reason does not provide a positive user experience, and negative experiences do not produce any of the following:
    • Word of mouth promotion
    • Returning traffic
    • Traffic referrals
    • Paying customers

Second, this is something only experienced Internet users will understand, not customising/modifying your free template.

This makes your site suck because you lose a lot of your uniqueness. Check out http://theadventuresofdoboy.com/ for example, although I enjoy reading the content on this site and find it to be a humorous, every time I go to the site the basic thesis layout just screams out at me. The owner needs to spread the uniqueness of his writing over to his display, make a custom banner, play around with the menu links and make it represent himself properly.

All too frequently I will come across a site that looks identical to one of the many frequently used free templates, be it for a WordPress site, or any of the other platforms, it shows a lack of effort, a lack of care and if you don’t care about your site, why should I? I will cut the site above a break though, his stuff makes me laugh and the site is only a couple months old, he has time to edit while it’s still new.

Third, can happen to the best of us, Improper sizing of images/video.

This occurs for multiple reasons, sometimes you just can’t seem to get it to fit right or you’ve modified to site layout and forgot to check your legacy pages to make sure everything fits nicely. Our own SEJ has fallen victim to it, and thus unfortunately, I must say even SEJ sucks: but they are cool because they allowed me to put up a post that said they sucked icon smile 6 Reasons Why Your Site Sucks

This causes two main problems,

  • Aesthetics, it just doesn’t look nice to start, the whole design of a website is meant to allow easy flow so nothing is offensive to the eyes. This breaks the page and looks bad.
  • In this case part of the video is buried behind the side links, usually the image would cover over the sidebar text and make it difficult to read/follow links. Either way is bad and I wouldn’t say either is better than the other, they both need to go away, so make sure you size your stuff properly or your site will suck icon razz 6 Reasons Why Your Site Sucks

Fourth, something everyone who knows website will stress, Browser Capability or lack thereof.

It’s thankfully becoming harder to find sites that don’t work across all web browsers equally, be it Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, or even the dreaded Internet Explorer. However there is another side to this, which is the not so new, mobile phone markets, with their touch screens and small dimensions, the traditional hover over drop down menus no longer work properly along with a host of other features. I admit my own site has fallen victim to it, www.medievalaccommodation.com when originally created I did ensure it worked across the multiple browses, but unfortunately it is not useable when accessed from the iPhone, and until I fix this a huge section of web users will think my site sucks so therefore it does.

Fifth, you’ll hear this one a lot, Flash sites.

There are so many reasons for this that I can’t even put them in order, here is my top 3 all equal in their suckiness:

  • It is SLOW. Flash is renowned as a CPU hog and as such its site’s are unbelievably slow to navigate, here is one of the few I still visit and it is only to do some random gaming. A modern site should open almost instantly; if it takes even a second to load, especially between pages, the user will notice and will affect their experience negatively.
  • It is the leading cause of Mac OSX crashes. Currently Mac users are between 5-10% of the worldwide market, and I will guarantee you, any customer who comes to your site and their computer crashes, will not be returning soon. Why would you risk that market share so that your designers can have some fun? And it’s not only Macs that crash, that’s just their leading cause, PC users get blue screened or frozen all the time from overtaxing their CPU, is it really worth it? Customers aren’t impressed by how complicated you design is, more the opposite.
  • IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SEO. Everybody with any SEO experience will tell you that Flash sites are impossible because the search bots can’t crawl the text and so your site only shows up as the coding that it is. If you own a flash site, don’t expect to rank for more than your domain name on Google, and anyone who knows what they are doing could design something to outrank you without much effort.

Sixth, hardly needs elaboration, infrequent updates.

My example this time is one of my old webcomics: when I found the site, it was updated weekly and was my favourite read. For the last 5 years or so it has been lucky to update quarterly, if I didn’t enjoy the story so much I would have abandoned it years ago. Many sites fall victim to the same thing, if they don’t keep up to a semi reliable schedule they will lose their visitors. This doesn’t mean if you miss a post no one will check in anymore (though if you do miss a post you should explain why you missed it, people will understand). However, as a general rule, it does mean if you stop updating then people will stop visiting.

The key thing to remember when designing a website is that it doesn’t matter what you think, it doesn’t matter if you like the high tech flash programming or the exclusivity of only being able to read it properly on Opera. It’s what your consumers, your viewers, your customers think, they are the ones who decide if they like your website, so they are the ones that decide what makes it good and what makes it bad.

What else do you think makes a site suck?

 6 Reasons Why Your Site Sucks
Justin Stein is one of the first, Second Generation Online Marketers. His father Jonah Stein is a literal giant within the SEO industry. Justin began his career working at BlueGlass Interactive with industry leaders like Dave Synder, Greg Boser & Loren Baker. Since January, Justin has worked as an Assistant Account Manager for ROIworks, where he manages over $100,000 a month in PPC spend.Justin has a broad range of experience providing PPC & SEO growth for Non Profits, B2B services and eCommerce organizations. In addition to bid management, Justin specializes in data analysis, process development and analytical reporting for his clients.Outside of PPC, Justin enjoys new technology, startups and has a passion for Gamification.
 6 Reasons Why Your Site Sucks

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15 thoughts on “6 Reasons Why Your Site Sucks

  1. Nice list. I’d add auto-play video to #1 as well.

    But, I guess from the headline in your 2nd point, correct spelling (“experienced” not “experience”) isn’t a determining factor in sucky websites.

    1. haha, you’re correct, typo’s aren’t a pet peeve of mine as I tend to make them all too frequently, as you pointed out nicely.

      I understand that they are high on other people’s list though.

  2. Nice article with good examples to back it up. According to your examples, your favourites sites are also awful sites!
    I fully agree with your first reason and avoid these sites with music like plague. There is no better way to lose traffic. These sites indeed do seem to pop up when you open a bunch of sites in multiple tabs and then you just can’t find the culprit one blasting loud awful music.
    However, I fully disagree with your second reason of not modifying custom templates. Not everyone is into web design or playing around with menus, web-safe colours and so on. If your strength is writing, then go ahead and provide great content for your readers. In the example you gave, thankfully that site had no loud music playing automatically and no annoying flash. It is also clearly legible. What more can you ask? If the content is good, I will certainly come back, even if it is a default blogspot template!!!

    1. LOL, yes some of my favorites are also very bad sites. Which goes to show just how powerful good content can be.

      I also respect your disagreement, so long as the site isn’t offensive to the eyes I should let go of the lack of customization. However, there is the businessman in me who believes you need to show your uniqueness in everything you do to help define yourself from the competition, I enjoy Do Boy’s writing but how is he meant to stand apart from all the other bloggers writing about their own self discovery? I don’t think text alone can do it, but it is a good start.

    2. LOL, yes some of my favorites are also very bad sites. Which goes to show just how powerful good content can be.

      I also respect your disagreement, so long as the site isn’t offensive to the eyes I should let go of the lack of customization. However, there is the businessman in me who believes you need to show your uniqueness in everything you do to help define yourself from the competition, I enjoy Do Boy’s writing but how is he meant to stand apart from all the other bloggers writing about their own self discovery? I don’t think text alone can do it, but it is a good start.

  3. Yeah, I’ve come to realize that a slow website is a failed website. Many of the top blogs I encounter in life are always near instant loading. My blog used to take a great deal of time to load, which came to bite me in the butt eventually. Great list.

  4. I couldn’t agree more on your number one reason as I myself hate it when I come across sites with auto play on their videos. I feel like I am forced to see their video.

  5. The most important thing you have to establish in your blog is it content. If the content is catchy enough to make the readers come back to the post, then there goes traffic. Brilliant SEO is great, but its the content that makes people go back.

    1. You’re right, good content is essential to the long term survival of a site, just like SEO is brilliant for traffic growth, however if your visitor is turned off from the site before they even begin to read it won’t matter how good your content is.

      Not all of my examples would cause a visitor to bypass reading, but if your site has an auto-play video/audio or if it isn’t compatible with my browser, I’m not going to stick around long enough to read anything. I also have a tendency to skip most flash based sites.

  6. Very nicely put. I must say that I agree with everything you have put, even though I do enjoy some flash sites. It gave me a new direction and idea for the website that I’m going to have built too. Thanks for the post!

  7. Very nicely put. I must say that I agree with everything you have put, even though I do enjoy some flash sites. It gave me a new direction and idea for the website that I’m going to have built too. Thanks for the post!

  8. Great post, I’ve had some issues with my ecommerce art website running very slow due to the trashy flash it uses and unfortunately I cannot turn it off. The best thing I can do and will do after Christmas is take it offline and host it properly somewhere else.

  9. Typos are one example of a site sucks, Sometimes, when the reader’s read some typo’s on your blog it makes a mark and it would surely spread out fast.