Why would you do something that you know people, including you, detest?

logo graphic cutThere are enough irritations in the world that you don’t really want to add to them, do you?

Yet that is exactly what many businesses do on their websites because some marketing or SEO “guru” has told them certain features work.

You know in your heart that you, too, find these features irritating when you are looking for information but you’re happy to live with this induced schizophrenia for fear of missing out on a business opportunity.

We did a quick survey of people’s pet website “hates”. It wasn’t scientific, it was done on a members-only business facebook page in a fairly small corner of the UK only but it plainly touched a nerve.

The winner by a huge margin was pop ups. It had five times as many votes as any other item – well into double digits! Yet these things are ubiquitous – sign up for this, answer our quick survey about that, upgrade to our paid-for ….whatever. Mercifully most have a delete button or a “yes/no” option.

Next on the list was the contact form – yes, it helps the business to gather information but too often it is an excuse to ask way too many questions and if it also hides the actual company contact details that makes people suspicious. What do you have to hide if you’re a genuine and reputable business?

Another variation on the contact form, and used for the same purpose, is the register or sign up. You’ve been offered a free download – but here’s the snag, we want to know who you are before we release it to you. It’s perfectly understandable from a marketing perspective – the business wants to open a conversation with you, hopefully convert you from a casual browser to a customer.

People are not stupid. They know this and many are wary of opening up their inbox to a flood of marketing follow-ups. Wouldn’t you rather they just emailed you or picked up the phone so that you can have a real conversation with them? After all, as they say in networking circles, people buy from people.

And finally, what about those videos with no “off” button or the irritating background music you can’t mute? Do your visitors a favour and ditch them before they decide to take their custom elsewhere.

As an experiment we’re about to remove the register or login options from our blog page to make it easier for people to post comments or ask questions. We don’t want to encourage spammers or others with evil intent so you’ll be asked to do a simple jigsaw puzzle – a picture capcha so we know you’re a human being – and your comments will be looked at before they’re shown on the website.

It’s for your protection as well as ours. Beyond website security we hope this way that if we show we respect people who want to engage with us they will appreciate it and get in touch to find out more about us.

Maybe heresy to marketing and business gurus, but we shall see.

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When you're passionate about what you do it's hard to stand back and identify what's essential to your customers. That's our job!

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