29 Apr 2014

How to Prevent People from Using Your Website

By following the tips below, you will prevent people from using your website and send them to your competitors. Follow along to be sure you are making good choices.

Great News for Your Web Site Competition

The Web is competitive. One of the best kept secrets is that most companies invest in Internet marketing strategies first and the user experience later. Most are not aware of how both usability and online marketing can be combined to work together. Instead, they choose one area to invest in first and if that does not work, start looking into the design.

Perhaps your website experience is assisting your competition in ways you are not aware of. Do you know if it works people who wear glasses? If your target market is mostly male, what do you know about colorblindness for men? Can your visitors search or make a purchase from a mobile device? Have you tested your pages to see if they can be read by people other than you? Even your competition picks and chooses what it will apply their budget to and chances are good that user experience, information architecture, persuasive design, accessibility and usability standards and mobile design are at the bottom of the list. Marketing is number one.

  • This means that ads come first.
  • This means that survey forms on top of content come first.
  • This means keyword stuffed pages come first.
  • This means doing whatever is humanely possible to prevent humans from navigating your website is required.
  • It means spending a lot of money on disavowing links rather than creating authentic conversations and web experiences that people remember and want to share.

How to Chase People off Your Web Site

CNN news siteSince even the most famous brands continue to prevent their site visitors from entering their websites, the first tip I have for you is this:

1. Do not do what they do.  I have many theories about why large corporations continue to display bad websites. The leading reason is that they hire people who know what to do and ignore them. Another is they hire the wrong company or people because they have a pile of money to throw around and don’t care about hiring skilled people. (This would be for like, the US Government and its Healthcare.gov fiasco.) I am convinced that stakeholders squash everything to meet some mysterious set of rules only they know about. For some reason, the font color HAS to be gray and 12 point. You will never know why.

2.  Make your website impossible to read.  This is my second best piece of advice for letting your competitors win.There are many ways to do this well. The easiest is to use colored text against a colored background. Another is using small font sizes, like anything under 14pts.You can also cram a lot of content into each page, such as long paragraphs with run on sentences stuffed with keywords. Make the pages scroll for about 3 minutes, shove in sections for banners and text ads and some really gigantic images and you have the makings of a site that nobody will ever want to visit again. Ever.

Guess site

3. You can impress your competitors by placing barriers to entry on top of your web pages.  I think that the source of this practice goes back to the days when web site owners were royalty in a past life, lived in castles with moats around them, with cliffs, hills, mountains and deserts that made getting their kingdom practically impossible unless you were invited and shown the secret passageway.

It’s time to let that past life go. In this present time, you want people to come to your castle. Avoid putting up barriers to entry. Remove your invitations, surveys and email subscription forms from the first time user experience. Or, you can continue to hide your stuff, keep that big box ad on top of your content that has to be clicked away first, and wonder why Google Analytics shows screaming bounce rates and you have no money left over for a McDonalds Happy Meal.

4. Choose a Responsive Design. I know that somebody said you have to do this. However, not every Responsive Design actually renders well on all mobile devices, including tablets. Every site I have tested, where it was recently switched to a Responsive Design, has failed to work on all mobile devices and has issues with passing mobile device standards.

Be aware that if you use WordPress themes, they are not perfect. Even the ones you pay money for have severe issues. Test every demo before paying for a theme. Look at the source code. You will find cases where there are 15 style sheets and bloated code needed for WYSIWG design plug-ins. This has a negative effect on load times. Chances are good your competition is not testing themes or doing mobile emulation testing either. Do you really want to be like them?

5. One of the easiest ways to help your competitors succeed is to design for search engine bots instead of humans. Bots are have no feelings. They don’t care if users are trying to find a hotel open during a holiday weekend while driving in a rainstorm where the sound of thunder is louder than the car radio and the kids in the back seat are crying from fear. Bots are ageless. They don’t wear glasses. They were not born with a handicap or injured playing baseball, making using a mouse with a cast a real pain in the neck.

6. Search engines have ears. They are emotionless, but they listen to clicks from the forest of activity out there. When link to an article is clicked on, a bot jumps up and down with joy and somewhere in your web analytics, this little click is recorded as a good thing that happened. When a rush of people come to read that article, such as when an influencer recommends it, there’s a big bot party, analytics do a happy dance and your site becomes a threat to your competitors, who are still paying for keyword stuffed page titles. Search engines are interested in providing information. They like to know what humans want to find. Nothing makes a search engine happier than money from ads. Search engine bots don’t have credit cards. They don’t have PayPal accounts. People do.Your website is not about search engines. I’m sorry. I speak on behalf of all humans when I say that websites are used by them. You can come up with an enormous variety of ways to prevent people from using your website and gobs of you are very good at it.

Gray font footer

7. Another way to give your competitors a real boost is by removing your sales funnels and hiding calls to action. You can also forget to put in payment method icons for the ways you accept payment. You can either leave out calls to action, or hide them.One of the easiest ways to hide calls to action is to make them look like static text. Remove underlined words, hover and link colors. Make your buttons flat, and choose colors that do not contrast well, making it difficult to figure out where the button is.

Invest in Your Success

They key to building a winning website is to invest in it. Look around the Internet at the sites you like to visit. What are they doing that keeps you returning? The websites that are performing well work for every person who visits it, while also being optimized for search engines. They invest in smart landing pages for PPC. If they are customer or information oriented, they are also designed to encourage conversations. This is done by inviting user feedback in the way of user stories for travel sites, product feedback and ratings, and a strong presence in social networks where talking about products and services is promoted and welcome.

Rather than borrowing ideas from other websites that may not fit your particular target audience, it is better to hire people skilled in user experience design who research and plan for your specific requirements. If you are not sure if your website has the ability to persuade visitors to purchase, sign up, subscribe, search, read or share, the logical step is to hire a company to perform conversions testing.

The majority of websites on the Internet have issues and their owners are not aware of them or they are and don’t care. You can sit quietly and let them steal your traffic, sales and rank. Or you can invest in building a successful website and listen to the sorrowful squeals of sorrow from your old competitors.


  1. Ryan Biddulph April 29, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    Kim, I do all I can to reduce barriers to entry. No pop ups, no big forms, nothing much really, other than images of me traveling all over the world, which is kinda inviting, methinks 😉 Power points! Make it easy to buy into your dream, see your content and digest it so readers can stick around instead of hopping over to your comp. I found this on kingged(dot)com. Thanks!

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