We have all been on a website looking for a piece of information or trying to perform an action only to find ourselves getting more frustrated with the company that is seemingly trying to prevent us from buying or using their service. When this happens to you what do you typically do? Probably leave the site to find one of their competitors.

One would think that the internet has been around long enough that websites and web developers would learn and stop building sites with these features. Unfortunately not a week goes by where I don’t personally find these mistakes. Check your site and make sure you are not losing business from these common errors.

1. PDF files that open in the same window

When your visitor closes the pdf because that is typically what they will do, they have now closed your site and may not want to or even know how to get back to your site. All pdf documents should open in a new window.

2. External links and banners that open in the same window

This is the same as above, while it is easier for them to get back to your site, why would you force them to leave just because they got distracted by an external link. All external links should open in new windows. If the visitor doesn’t want to remain on your site any longer, they will close your window when they are done.

3. E-commerce sites that don’t tell you which countries they ship to until you’ve already gone halfway through the shopping cart

This is a very frustrating experience from shoppers from around the world. When we get to a site one of the first things we want to know is where you ship to so I don’t have to waste my time looking through your store.

4. No visible contact information

Some sites think it’s a good strategy to bury their contact information in a place that you would never think to look. This screams to the visitor that “our customer service sucks”. If you want people to contact you then make it clear and easy how they can do it. And if you don’t want to be contacted…. Well then you will probably lose some customers who have a reason or desire to contact you.

5. Enter our site pages

You would think that by 2011 you wouldn’t visit a site to find the first page a small picture with the words enter our site here. This is like putting an extra door before you can enter a store. I know that it only seems like a single click to move past it but that extra effort annoys your customers.

6. Welcome messages

The first paragraph of the website should be about what you do and not a welcome message to the visitor. Your visitor is looking for information as fast as possible and they definitely don’t want to read a message that welcomes them to the website. What would make them feel really welcome is a link to the information they are looking for.

7. Unnecessary Animation

Flash was exciting when it first came out and even today when used properly it can be very effective. For some reason some sites feel like their logo or image spinning in a circle will help increase sales. Usually what it does is slow down the load time of the website while also making it more difficult to read the content that will help a visitor make a buying decision. If the animation doesn’t add value then don’t use it because it will just distract your visitors.

Most of these mistakes are so simple to fix you have to wonder why your site was built like this in the first place. A good web design company should always guide you through the website using best practices to ensure that the site is user friendly. The success of a website is usually determined by the little details. When everything is done properly you are able to generate leads/sales online.