Is Your Site Driving Users Crazy?

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If there’s one thing that drives users insane on a site, it’s when things go a bit . . . awry—broken links, links that redirect to the page they’re already on, and many others. In this article, I’m going to address some of the more common issues as well as some ways to spot and resolve them quickly.

  1. Broken Forms and No Way to Contact Support

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When people fill out a form, they are looking for some kind of response. If the fields and submit functions aren’t working, how are they supposed to get in touch? On top of that, if you have an error that directs them to contact support—and that option is faulty—how is anyone going to communicate with you? Social media? Yeah, maybe. But after getting frustrated, would you reach out on Twitter or Facebook? Someone might want to let site owners know the site isn’t working. But not everyone will.

To prevent this problem, routinely test the forms, and check for any updates to the plug-ins (if any are used) to ensure nothing is preventing users from getting in touch with you. I also recommend making sure that any linked e-mails are spelled and linked correctly and are receiving messages.

  1. Looping Links

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We’ve all experienced this from time to time. You see text saying that a page has moved, but when you click on the link to the new page, you stay where you are. What’s even worse is that when this old page is still in main navigation, no one can find the new information you’ve posted.

First, make sure that the redirect isn’t set up to go to the old page and that the new page is live. You should make sure the old version can’t be found anywhere on the site. Ensuring that redirects are working correctly and that old content can’t be reached are great ways to prevent users from experiencing inadvertent Groundhog Days by living the same page over and over again.

  1. Incorrect Information

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Have team members left the company? Did your business move to a new physical address? Have phone numbers changed? Has anything changed? Get it updated, and make sure that information is correctly reflected on your site. This goes hand in hand with the first two items on this list. If users aren’t able to get in touch with you or find the most recent promotions you may have, how can they become clients?

Keep everything as up-to-date as you can, and if you have any profiles or local listing syndication, send the new information as soon as possible. While the information on your site may be correct, you certainly want to make sure that it is just as accurate on other sites. If people are truly motivated to become clients, they will figure out the best way to get in touch with you. But do you want the beginning of the sales process to involve frustration?

  1. Sending Visitors to the Development Site

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Redesigns, when done correctly, can be a great thing. But when it comes to migrating templates and themes, sometimes the development site will still be linked. While this may not seem like a big deal, development sites may not have the full functionality of the live site. They also may have some ipsum text and stock photos of team members, which can really throw off users if they happen to stumble across it.

Search engines can find these links to development sites and even index them. And if there’s one thing that’s worse than users getting into the development site, it’s having this site show up in search results. In cases like this, issues such as duplicate content .

  1. Ads, Ads, and Ads . . . Oh My

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Sites have to make money. Be it from services offered or from ads, regardless of how the site makes money, if you do it without the user experience in mind, you might not make as much. Most sites I visit have an ad in the header, maybe the sidebar, and potentially within the content itself. Sites with ads in the header or that take up the entire background, text ad links, pop-up ads, ads in the content, and ads that make you view them before going to the actual content (I’m looking at you Forbes) drive me insane.

Stuffing your site with ads will slow down load time and cause users to leave in a hurry. If they click on a link that’s actually an ad, or if they roll over an ad that starts up audio, they may also leave. The point of ads is to, well, advertise and make money, not frustrate users. Do research, and see which ads can maximize your profit without causing users to leave or get upset with the functionality of your site.

Focusing on improving user experience is a great way to ensure they’ll stick around and interact more, not to mention potentially becoming clients.

Of these issues that can drive user’s nuts, which ones really get to you? Are there any listed that you feel others should be aware of?