Are you trying to figure out why web traffic is coming in but not sticking around to look through your website?  A website is your company’s greeting to web surfers.  You want your greeting to be a high five or a warm handshake, not a slap in the face.  Your website design may be rubbing people the wrong way, which may have them quickly hitting that “back” button!

1. Burying users in new windows and pop ups

Nothing annoys web surfers more than a website that bombards them with a barrage of new windows opening up.  The basic theory behind this practice is this: when a user clicks a link on your site it will open in a new window so that if they decide to close that window, they will still be on your original site.  One of the problematic issues here is that some computers are slow and have problems with slowing and stalling when multiple windows are open.  Most users will quickly close a pop up assuming it is spam and not even see the information you provided.  Many may feel pop ups are a downright hostile move (aka that slap in the face we were talking about).  All of your hard work on your website will be wasted when they click the back button before giving your precious content a chance.

2. Making information available only in PDF format

When users are zipping along the information super highway, a PDF file can be likened to a red light.  No one is a fan of long load times or awkward scrolling and microscopic fonts.  While a PDF file is great if you are printing the file out to paper, it is usually not the right size for a computer screen.  A large mass of data is hard to navigate, especially when a surfer’s normal browser buttons are disabled.  A PDF is sometimes enough for a person to put on their brakes and put their search in reverse.

3. Installing a useless search box

You may have a great website with all the information a person could want on a certain topic, but if it is hard to navigate, then a good website search box is important.  If your search box is so strict that it does not allow for typos or variants of a word, then users will probably become quickly frustrated and may seek the information on a more user-friendly website.  A very good search box, hidden from a user’s plain sight will do no good either.  A simple box at the top or bottom of a page is what most users will be looking for.