To stay on top of effective website design trends, I do a lot of visitor research. I like to know what website elements they like and which elements they despise. With an understanding of visitor preferences, I build better websites that keep a visitor’s attention. The more a visitor likes a website, the longer they stay on it (which helps increase the conversion rate of a website). Read on to discover the most annoying website elements.

Slow loading website

The top annoyance is a slow loading website. A slow loading website makes visitors wait. Studies show that a visitor will wait no more than 3-5 seconds before moving on. Some websites indicate that something is going on by displaying twirling circles. While these visual indicators provide something to visitors, they still won’t wait. Instead of showing that you have a slow loading website, take steps to remove the elements causing the website to be slow. This is especially important on the home page.

Broken links

The second annoyance is broken links.  These are either broken links within a website or broken links to an external website. More than 20% of websites have broken links. Broken links within a website are unacceptable (fix those now!). With the abundance of link checkers, there is no reason to not check your website for broken links. It is difficult to control external broken links (because you have no control over external websites). You can either remove the link or find another external link that portrays the same information.


The next annoying website element is popups. These are normally triggered upon page load, page scroll, delayed timing, or on page exit. These popups get in the way and annoy visitors trying to read the content behind the popup. Some popups have a close button that hides the popup. Others code the close button to trigger more popups. The only way to stop them is to close the browser window containing the offending popup. Most web browsers come with a popup blocker (either part of the browser or available as an extension). Don’t annoy visitors by using popups, use a link to the content you want visitors to see instead.

These are the three most annoying website elements that cause visitors to leave a website. Don’t force visitors to leave your website. They will never come back. They will remember the annoyances caused by your website. Instead, remove these elements and focus on providing content that make visitors want to stay on your website.

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