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4 Things Your Website Could Do Better

A Few Things That Drive Me Crazy

Skeptical Website User
This kid knows your site could do more for him.

It’s rare that a company is awesome in every area of their targeting, design, CRO, and so on. But there are some areas where simple tweaks or just thinking about your user for a sec can lead to a better experience for everyone.  Maybe I’ve got a short-fuse or I spend too much time on the internet, but I don’t see why these things couldn’t be handled better.

1. Let Me Use My Email Address Instead of a Username

I’m not sure how usernames became the accepted way of identifying yourself online, but I’m pretty sure this decision pre-dated the explosion of online profiles and being constantly online. I find myself perplexed and pissed every time I type in what I think should be my username and then discover that it’s wrong.

Our online identities evolve/mature just like our offline identities. The nickname you used in college is not something you want associated with you in your early-30s. I can understand that Yahoo and some others are locked in to using usernames, but new sites and services should use our email addresses to identify us.

There are too many web services and too many combinations of your ([your last name] + [random integer string]) for anyone to really keep track of who they are on 1 site out of the 10-20 or so they visit over the course of the month. This becomes even more of a problem for sites that you only visit a few times per year (vacation rental sites, halloween costumes).

Let me use my email address or my first and last name. These things don’t change anywhere near as often as my address or obsession with Rajon Rondo (ninjaptguard)..

2. Get Rid of the Popups at The Start of My Visit

I know that building your house list is a priority. I even agree with using popups here. But what would possess me to sign-up for your mailing list before I’ve even see your website?

If you are pushing email sign-up without letting me click around for a bit then I’m not sure if you are arrogant or presumptuous, but it’s annoying either way. Double demerits if it slows your site down to a crawl. I may decide that you are worthy of my inbox, but it won’t happen before I’ve actually read something. Chill out and let me look around for a bit. Maybe wait until I’m clicking on another post or have gone through 3-4 pages.

I’m sure someone can tell me that pushing the sign-up early for new visitors leads to more sign-ups, but I’m doubtful that this leads to good prospecting or any type of relationship. The person who signs-up site unseen is either desperate, already committed or gullible: 2 of those should be easy to close & the last is more headaches than they are worth.

Give me a moment to get my bearings, see your work and then let me know why joining your list is the right thing for me.

3. Use My Behavioral Data for More Than Serving Me Ads

Dear Hulu,

I use your service on my phone, tablet, computer and TV (thanks Roku). I use it at least 3 days per week and some weeks I use it everyday. My viewing habits are pretty predictable: I like buddy comedies, tv shows with good fight choreography, Japanese samurai movies, Godard or Cassavetes Criterion Collection movies. Oh, and will always try a British rom-com (tv show or movie). That’s a lot of data that you could use to customize my experience.

Despite my well-documented viewing habits, you continue to show me the same carousel of “popular” shows and movies that you show everyone else. Why? Do you think I will one day become a lover of the “Carrie Diaries” or “Glee”? I know they are popular, but it should be obvious by now that I have no interest in them. Why not give me a selection of Kurosawa films or the British sitcom that you just got the rights for? Chances are that I’d click at least one of these options and then feel even more justified in my subscription to Hulu+ after viewing.

Hulu doesn't care about me
Yes Hulu, I am definitely interested in the drama of high-class escorts. Thank you for making sure this series is one of the first things I see on the site.

I know what I like. You know what I like. So, why not give me what I like and get more ad views from me?

Yours,
Chris Boulanger

4. Stop Sending Emails Promoting Things I Already Bought From You

If I’ve bought a product or service from you within the last 30 days, then I’m not likely to buy it again. The bed frame I bought last month hasn’t broken down yet so let me get some use out of it, I’ve already got the deluxe hosting plan and I haven’t added 20 domains since I signed up, and I don’t want to outsource my social media to your “partner”, etc., etc, etc.

Email is a great way to re-activate old leads/customers and nurture prospects. It might also be a way for you to add value for your sponsors/advertisers. The problem is that you are preaching to the choir — the converted — when you send me the same offers as the noobs.

Take the time to either send me offers that are relevant to me or exclude me from the intro/getting to know you series that you send to all new email subscribers.

What Drives You Crazy?

I know I’m not the only one wondering why sites don’t treat me like an individual. What are your pet peeves? Leave them in the comments. If you leave some detail, then I might update this post with your (completely justified) complaint.

Published in Rants Working Blog

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