Some people are just followers. They will never be on the cutting edge of anything other than a mishap with sharp cutlery in a dirty sink. That’s ok though. Not everybody needs to be a pioneer. Most people just get on with their lives, concentrate on what they are good at, and follow others where it makes sense. The world needs people like that. What the world doesn’t really need are overzealous sheep with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) issues, but we have them anyway.
In the web design world, this translates into a client who feels that anything anyone else has on their website…they also need on theirs, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. In my 15+ years of web design experience, I’ve had the odd client like this. I’m not complaining, mind you – I’m grateful for all my clients. In terms of income, it’s never a bad thing to have a client that wants things constantly added to their site, but as an honest person, I also feel it’s my duty to speak up when I see clients wasting money.
Here’s a few examples of where money would have been better spent on buying decent coffee for the staff room…
1. Unmanned LiveChat
Some websites have contact details, and some websites have feedback forms too. Some websites go that one step extra and have a LiveChat feature like Tawk.To or LiveZilla. Essentially this is a little chatbox that customers use to speak with sales people about new products or technical people about support issues. Let’s be realistic now – if companies answered their emails as promptly as they should, this feature would be redundant, but they don’t. The fact is that most of us are surprised when we get an email response the same day, let alone instantly. In this world of instant Google answers, instant service is the pinnacle of first world efficiency, so when we see a LiveChat feature on a site, there’s a strong pull to use that instead of email. LiveChat done well can be a real pleasure for a customer. Doing LiveChat well means:
- that there is a competent staff member who responds to these chats, and
- that they…wait for it…DO IT LIVE.
Seems a no-brainer, but I’ve had several clients over the years pay to have a LiveChat feature added to their sites, but then not assign any staff member to it. So their customers see the LiveChat, get all excited, click the LiveChat link…and then…anticlimax. They are faced with “There is no agent currently available. Leave a Message and we’ll get back to you. This is not the droid you are looking for.” Confusion. Disappointment. Aggravation. Are these the emotions you wish to gift your customers with? If you aren’t going to do LiveChat justice, please take it off your site.
2. Links and Feeds of Stagnant Social Network Pages
For some people, peer pressure doesn’t stop with ciggies in the school’s toilet cubicle and doing shots with wanton abandon at the office party. In the digital world, the pressure to have accounts on all the happening social networks is probably stronger than getting a tattoo like everyone else and their cat. We all suffer from a bit of FOMO to some degree. So many of my clients have social network pages that never get updated. Twitter accounts with literally “There are zero tweets here. Move along.” type of thing. Yet, they NEED that link to Twitter in their footer, and they NEED that Facebook page feed on their homepage which shows they have a whopping 50 likes and the last time they posted anything was 2007. Why? Again if you aren’t going to do it right, just take it off…or at least…cheat…
My web design business has a Facebook page that I update on a semi regular basis, but I have a twitter account that I’m not even sure I know the login details to. #aintnobodygottimefordat. Luckily my clever partner linked our Facebook page to our Twitter account so Twitter now auto-updates when I post on Facebook. If you also want to be clever like that, then go to facebook.com/twitter whilst being logged into both. You can then link them and no longer have to worry about the hash tag world if, like me, that’s really not your thing. Also keep in mind that just because everyone else has an Instagram account, doesn’t mean you need one too. If you get one though (any social media account for that matter, not just instagram), then try and actually use it because a social media account in itself is worthless – it is the content therein that has value.
3. PopUp Subscribe Prompts
I’m a very easy going person but if there’s one thing that rubs sand in the hoochie, it’s when I click a link to an article and before I’ve even read the first sentence, a box pops up feverishly begging me to subscribe. Why should I subscribe? I don’t even know if I like the article yet, let alone the whole site enough to want to receive regular emails. Even if I really like the article and your site, I probably won’t want regular emails from you. I need another newsletter like I need a kidney stone. I’m pretty sure most people feel that way.
By all means, have a subscribe/share link at the bottom of the article, but don’t shove it in people’s faces because it reeks of desperation. Studies actually show that people trust sites less that use intrusive pop ups. Google knows it’s not good UX (User Experience) too, especially on mobile pages where space is scant to start with. As of January 2017, Google are devaluing mobile pages that have what it calls “intrusive interstitials“.
4. Hit Counters
Hard to acknowledge that it’s 2017 and I still have clients asking me to put hit counters on their websites. Those odometer style hit counters that were so common to see in website footers in the early days of the web make your website look dated. They were pointless even back then. The only people that are interested in how many hits your site gets are you and those who might want to advertise on your site. Savvy advertisers know that those hit counters are unreliable – so easy to inflate the number by spamming the F5 key (repeatedly refreshing the browser) or even falsifying the number of hits on installation of the script. For those that are honest and don’t game the system, a low traffic number on their site isn’t anything to brag about.
Rather keep your web stats private by installing free software like Google Analytics that allows you to log in and see all kinds of useful stats without the judgement of others. You can also export reports for interested advertisers.
Can you think of other things to leave off your website? If so, hit up the comments section below…
Article by Roxane Lapa of .COZA Web Design