I love the Internet! But, at times it can be tough love, not because of the Internet itself, but because of human roadblocks and obstacles that are placed in the way, preventing smooth navigation of the Information Superhighway.
Here are ten of my top annoyances. Feel free to add your own in comments.
1. Hotels that charge extra for Internet access. C’mon, if the bargain motel chains can provide free Internet access, why do I have to pay $10-$12 per day for slow Internet access on top of $300 per night for a room and $40 per night for parking? That was my recent experience at a big brand hotel. I needed to have Internet access for work, so I had to pay extra only to find their in-room broadband was running at a whopping 136k, just a little over twice the speed of dial-up! Can we say RIP-OFF?
2. Page not found redirects that go nowhere. This really ticks me off! My biggest client insists on redirecting to the home page when they no longer carry a product line and it drives me nuts when I work on their SEO. If you click on a link to a brand catalog that they no longer carry, instead of a page telling you that the products are no longer available, you wind up back on the home page. I’m sure customers hate and are confused by this.
3. Wi-Fi gadgets with no browser. Why bother? If you can’t open a web browser, 99% of the time you won’t be able to make use of an access point. Even if it’s free and open, most want you to login or register in some manner. If you’ve read my blog in the past, you’ll know a perfect case in point is the Belkin Wi-Fi Phone for Skype. It’s almost useless outside of your own network without a browser if you’re not a Boingo subscriber.
4. Wi-Fi routers that won’t stay connected. Again, if you’ve followed my blog at all, you’ll know that I fought with the Linksys WRT350N router for months. I went through firmware updates and a new computer and it still won’t stay connected. Worse, when it drops the wireless connection, the only way to get it back is to reboot the PC.
5. Windows Vista. Speaking of rebooting, Windows Vista takes forever! Every time I lost my wireless connection in #4 above, I had to reboot. Sometimes this took an unreasonable amount of time. When I’m working, I can’t wait all day for this resource hog to decide it’s ready to come up and give me access to the Internet and VOIP that I depend upon for business. Vista came with my new PC and, after just a few weeks, I’m tempted to wipe the drive and reinstall XP!
6. Loud videos that automatically play. Yes, I know video is all the rage now, but do you really have to blast me out of my chair when I enter your web site? These are especially popular on Flash sites, which usually annoy me anyway. If I want to watch a video, I want to hit a Play button!
7. Being force-fed Universal Search. Again, I know audio and video are in now, but sometimes I just want to find textual information without the videos, podcasts, pictures and other visual noise. How about an off switch for Universal Search?
9. Sites that require registration before you can do anything else. Nothing turns me off more than being faced with a registration form before I even get to the meat of the site. Real estate agent web sites are particularly bad about this. Getting leads is one thing, but c’mon, give me a taste before you charge me for a meal!
10. Web sites that aren’t cross-browser friendly. You’d think this fell by the wayside with the Internet Explorer/Netscape battle of the 1990s. Still, I come across tons of web sites that will only work in Internet Explorer, not in Firefox, Opera or Safari. Take off the blinders, folks, and try your site in all of these!
This is by no means an exhaustive list. I’d really love to hear yours!
Richard V. Burckhardt, also known as The Web Optimist, is an SEO trainer based in Palm Springs, CA with over 10 years experience in search engine optimization, web development and marketing.