This site sucks!: The top five reasons visitors leave websites

27th Aug 2013

Properly engaging website visitors is key to having a successful online business. So what are the biggest website turnoffs which will have visitors scrambling for an early exit?

Whether you’re at the level of begging friends and family to visit your website or spending millions of marketing dollars sending a man to space only to plummet back down again, getting people to visit your website can be hard work. There are now over 644 million on the internet, so undoubtedly, competition is fierce.

So let’s just say that, through coercion or savvy marketing, you’ve managed to get people to visit, nothing then is more galling than having them disappear again and especially when it’s because the website itself was a turnoff.
Although all websites are obviously different in one way or another, there are common reasons why users will jump ship. Here are five of most popular.
1. Slow loading
The tortoise doesn’t win when it comes to websites. These days internet users are agile and highly impatient and so, whether it be due to overly high-res images, bulky video files, poor quality coding or an inadequate web hosting service, slow loading websites will have visitors scrambling for the ‘back’ button before they’ve read a single word.
For a business, this is the internet equivalent of locking the shop door and hoping people will stand at the front door indefinitely until you eventually get around to opening it.
2.  Advert Annoyance
I would bet you a half price, mouth-watering, thin crust, Italian sausage pizza (terms and conditions apply) you’ve never heard anyone say ‘I just wish I could see more adverts’. We are a nation of weary, ad-drenched ‘consumer research subjects’ consistently bombarded with eye-popping imagery and heavily honed slogans from the moment we wake up to the moment we close our eyes.
Have some decency and leave us alone with your website for a few mere moments before the flashing lights and foghorns begin alerting us to the start of another DFS 50% sale. Note: While I understand ad revenues fund some wholly great websites, the moral is; be subtle or risk abandonment.
3. Autoplaying
You know that thing when you’re in a library looking for something on the internet and suddenly a disembodied voice starts talking about management processing solutions or the devastating impact of a shark attack? Yes, that thing. Autoplay audio or video clips are - the vast majority of the time - an profound annoyance. While having videos offering concise information on a product or service for a business can be a great engagement tool, having them autoplay is making the assumption that every visitor is interested. They aren’t.
4.  Tell me what I want to know and show me what I want to see
The majority of us internet users are simple creatures. If one of us has found our way to your website we are likely looking for specific information. This may be on a topic you understand and are providing information for, on a product you sell or a service you provide.
Your website’s ability to lead me clearly and concisely to that information will make the difference between whether I stay and revel in the fruits of your labour or go to your direct competitor and enjoy their hospitality instead.
People naturally assimilate information in similar ways and by understanding these tendencies and offering them a simple and engaging experience on your website, they will be far more receptive and likely to perform the actions you want them to i.e. contact you, buy from you or refer you to their friends. For more info, it’s worth a Google search for articles on ‘Psychology in web design’.
5.  No one lives here anymore
There’s a mildly unsettling sensation when you’re looking at a website only to realise that the owners of that site have seemingly long since departed leaving the furniture in place and the door unlocked. While they may not have actually departed, out-dated blog posts, abandoned forums, dormant twitter feeds and Facebook pages all give that impression and will have visitors running (or clicking) for the exit as if they had stumbled into crime scene.
Websites must give the impression that they are continuously being tended and updated with the latest information and greatest products available. Daily is advisable, weekly is a must, monthly is inadvisable and beyond is inexcusable.
Henry Lewington is managing director at

Replies (2)

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By Gemma Screen
02nd Sep 2013 10:23

Comment taken from this post on our LinkedIn group

A poor mobile experience has to be up there. Nothing is more annoying than browsing on the go and finding you cant access the information you're looking for because the site isn't compatible.



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By LinkedIn Group Member
02nd Sep 2013 10:25

Comment taken from this post on our LinkedIn group

Totally agree with the points. However bad UX design is also a total let down, hate when surfing through a site and no consideration was given to funnelling users through the site and you end up on non-sensical pages...frustrating

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