12 Most Annoying Things Driving Traffic Away From Your Website

12 Most Annoying Things Driving Traffic Away From Your Website

I work with home-based businesses all the time teaching them the importance of having a website. My number one goal is for all business owners (not just the home-based business owners) is to help them understand creating a website is the most important step they can take in building their online presence. It bothers me how business owners go to the trouble of creating a website then add annoying things to the site that drive traffic away.

1. Music that automatically starts to play

I absolutely hate it when I visit a website and music starts playing. It is really unprofessional (yes, even if your site is about music). You never know when or where someone may be when they are visiting your site. Unexpected music will make someone click away fast!

2. Videos that automatically start to play

I know you only have between 5 to 7 seconds to make a connection with your website visitors. One thing is for sure, building a relationship fast is crucial. However setting videos to automatically start every time I load the page drives me nuts!

3. Using too much Flash

In the early 2000s I loved Flash, thought it was the coolest. I even took classes so I could learn how to create and use Flash for my clients. The problem… Flash was only cool the FIRST time you watched. Another problem.. there are millions of iPads sold around the world, but guess what?! Unfortunately, Flash doesn’t show up on the iPad; the area with the Flash appears as an empty space. Good thing I never mastered that skill.

4. Graphics that are animated or include scrolling text

These things may be cute on websites for children but not so much for business websites geared to adults. Every time I see animated images or text darting from side to side I am majorly distracted. I know the idea is to get you to look at them however, I have yet to see them used in a away that compels me to action.

5. Content that has not been updated

Just because you paid your web developer or designer I have a newsflash for you: YOUR WEBSITE IS NEVER DONE!

6. Adding pay per click (PPC) ads

Sorry to tell you but PPC ads will not generate sales for your business. Its a big mistake for business owners to place PPC ads on their sites with the hope of making money. Reality check: PPC ads only generate a few extra pennies unless you create a website specifically for generated ad clicks. What business owners fail to realize is these ads are driving much needed traffic away from their own site.

7. Visible hit counters

Though these may not necessarily drive traffic away they are annoying to look at. Hit counters are useless because they don’t accurately track your website traffic. Business owners have plenty of sophisticated, easy to understand and free analytics tools available. For example, give Google Analytics or Clicky, for a real-time solution, a try.

8. Not social media friendly

I have lost count on how many websites or blogs I visited with really good, useful and informative content. These sites have unfortunately neglected the opportunity to leverage social media as a free way to massively distribute their content. Don’t worry if you have not (or are afraid to) jump on the social media bandwagon you do not need a Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or Google+ account to use these buttons on your website or blog.

9. Images stretched to distortion

I’m a strong advocate for business owners to take a DIY approach to creating their website. ALERT: Adding a distorted picture to your website is a dead give-away your site was created by an amateur. Here’s a simple fix: use a free image and graphic cropping tool to create the perfect size.

10. Too much content on the home page

Who has time to read a dissertation? You don’t have to tell your visitors everything about you and your business on the home page. Make your website about the visitor by providing them with essential information like the benefits of doing business with you. Then write compelling copy with a call to action to entice your visitors click to learn more.

11. Too many choices

Having to many choices can lead to a confused visitor. Listen up: a confused mind always says no. Limit your menu choices between 5 and 7 then make sure your navigation appears in the same spot on every page. Remember K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple (but) Savvy.

12. Pop-ups, pop-ups, pop-ups

Love them or hate them, THEY WORK! I only added this one because of the controversy created when I added the pop-up to my own blog. There was so much chatter I wrote a special blog post about the Dirty Little Secrets About Using (or Not) Pop-Up Ads. Who knows you may change your mind too after reading it.

Featured image courtesy of Art ascii(Paul) licensed via creative commons.

Tonya R. Taylor


Tonya R. Taylor, Your Savvy Online Business Builder, is founder of the Savvy Online Business Building System™; the proven formula for getting leads, customers and sales online. Her clients learn savvy ways to use their website to take their online presence to the next level fast. To get your FREE Savvy Online Business Building Starter Kit and receive weekly online marketing tips, tools and resources visit www.SavvyBizBuilder.com.

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Brilliant list, Tonya! Just like any other business model, it's imperative to not only get customers in the door but to keep them there! I love #11. "A confused mind always says, 'No!" Yes! Simplicity sells! Keep up the great work!

PaulBiedermann moderator

Thanks for this great post, Tonya! I think you’ve hit on a lot of pet peeves that many of us share when it comes to annoying, ill-conceived websites.

Most people think they are impressing us by adding all the bells and whistles, but like so many things in communications, simpler is always better. Give me great content that is smartly organized and a site designed in a way that lets me find what I need quickly and easily, and I will show you a site doing what it is supposed to do. Amen!


Love it, Tonya - especially the part about videos or music starting without my consent. I'm an adult. If I want to click on your video, I will. And if I want to hear your music... oh, don't worry, I'll never want to hear your music (chances are I'm already listening to my own Pandora station while I surf and read).

I'm also a big, in fact a HUGE, believer that less is more, in website design or most anything else. Thus, #'s 10 & 11 really hit home with me.

Terrific post. Thank you!


In the process of having a website designed; so glad I found your list! Had not thought about #8. I would have missed out on the opportunity to have my content easily redistributed. Thanks for all you do, Tonya.


@SavvyBizBuilder Amen, girl! I do believe you nailed your list as well. Music and videos playing are truly my biggest pet-peeves. I've been caught sneaking in a lookey-lou at a website and busted with automatic music and/or video.

Plus, when there are a million things screaming at me to look at, I typically click off the site. If I'm overwhelmed and not sure where to go, I leave. I like the advice to keep it simple!


Hey Tonya,

I think you may be confused in your terminology. Pay-per-click (PPC) is a service advertisers pay publishers when their ads are clicked – people generally associate PPC with organic search results and off-site banner advertisements. However in your post, you suggest PPC is a form of ad-servicing, which is a type of affiliate marketing.

Ad-Servicing is when site owners enroll to have text, image, and video advertisements on their websites through publishers. Generally advertisers can target behaviorally and/or contextually on the owner’s site to reach their target audience. The most popular ad-servicing program is AdSense which has proven to be very lucrative for a number of site owners and Google (who brought in $$2.35 billion dollars in Q1 2011 alone).

While I would say text ads are less effective at generating clicks because they are seen less often. Video and image ads can easily generate hundreds, if not thousands, of clicks monthly for high volume, good content site. With Google paying around $0.88 per click, 3,000 clicks could easily become $2,640.00 a month which is $31,680.00 annually - I’m not sure how you are faring in this economy, but an extra $31k a year could easily help small businesses.


Anthony F. Coleman


This is a great list. I had the debate about pop-up subscription boxes recently, and I decided to add one that only comes up for new visitors (this month).

One nitpick - I am all for the DIY attitude. I am also biased because I sell basic business WP sites, BUT a business owner really should plan to hire a pro. The cost is minimal when compared to the other costs of operating a business. If nothing else, think of the investment as a defensive purchase: "I don't want to scare away any of the potential referrals I might get."

After all, what is the first thing you do when someone recommends a business to you?


1. I don't like music on any page - or anything that starts playing automatically.

2. Unless you are a restaurant I don't EVER recommend Flash anymore. What is it 2000?

Nice post!

Latest blog post: 4 Reasons to Embrace Adversity


Boy did you nail that list! I just HATE those things! Though I have to say that distorted images don't really bother me THAT much. The rest of it though? When I encounter those things I'm outta there.

Sadly, every once in a while the content I came for forces me to endure those things. but it is true torture. Please, people, DO NOT do those things to your visitors!


@douglaserice I totally agree, that's why my mantra is K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple (but) Savvy! Thanks for the comment.


Whew! That's good to know. Glad I'm not the only that has been busted.


@AnthonyFColeman You offer a good and very detailed explanation of PPC. My #9 is about how using PPC ads on your site is driving traffic away which ultimately keeps customers from purchasing your products and services. At any rate I agree, there are plenty of small businesses that would love to have additional revenue.


@danielnewmanUV not sure why business owners and developers accept sites with music automatically playing. These days with mobile phones and iPads you never know where someone will be while consuming your content


@DawgBlogger thanks! I am on a personal quest to show home-based business how easy it is NOT to do these things.


@deleted_91832_Sean McGinnis Sean that's an EXCELLENT example of using flash that's not over the top!

The good news is the site looks amazing on both my laptop and my iPad. The images on my laptop are changing seamlessly.

The bad news is the scroller does not work on the iPad. So unfortunately anyone taking a look on it will not see the other 4 images.

Which would be fine as long as the site owners puts the most important message on the first image.


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