Chelsea, I found out, has an innate understanding of how to successfully present content. In this episode, a website builder from Seattle calls in and the two go on an amazing rant about the do’s and mainly don’ts of web design. After a month of sharing website design tips on the blog and showcasing our Reinvention Month contest winners, I thought it would be fun to share Chelsea’s biggest website pet peeves with you, along with Jimdo’s spin on them. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments.
Chelsea Peretti’s Biggest Website Pet Peeves
1. Flash animation“I hate flash animation of any kind. It wastes everyone's time. No one wants to watch it. It’s 100% only in the interest of the person whose website it is.” Chelsea points out that it is not optimized for mobile, and mobile visitors to your site will likely see a blank screen. She later adds, “It’s all about accessibility.”
Jimdo’s take: You can say that again, Chelsea. It really is all about accessibility. You want to make it easy for people to find information they need, no matter what device they are on. While we encourage you to include personality and branding on your website, keep in mind that overdoing it with elements like Flash could lose you visitors. Adobe Flash is not compatible with iOS, whereas HTML5 allows you to add multimedia content without a plugin or player application. If you’re on the fence about using flash or HTML5 on your site, check out this handy guide.
2. SlideshowsLike many people, Chelsea says that she always abandons slideshows and never makes it through an entire presentation or carousel without clicking out. “Have everything open up in one screen, if possible.”
Jimdo’s take: Oh Chelsea, you speak to our hearts. We agree, the slider is out of style. Rather than using a carousel of images on your homepage, it is more effective to have large images with headlines and calls to action that are now referred to as “hero areas.” And like the structure of Jonah Peretti’s popular site, Buzzfeed, a list of ideas and images is a better way to present content than a slideshow of information that forces you to click, click, click. (Tech-savviness must run in the family—Jonah Peretti is actually Chelsea’s brother!)
3. Challenging navigation.“Don’t make it that I have to click on a cherry blossom or a cloud in the sky to get to pertinent information,” says Chelsea, who also advises that information on your website should be easily discovered. She suggests displaying the most important information right on your homepage. Comedians, for example, should have their tour dates directly on their homepage or at least easily available in an obvious place.
Jimdo’s take: First of all, I laughed the loudest at this. She perfectly describes how you can over-design your site. Chelsea says we need to bring web design back to basics, and we agree.
While we encourage you to personalize your site, it’s important to remember that most people are coming to your website with a purpose and don’t want to have to jump through a lot of hoops. The best websites have a simple and bold navigation on the top of their homepage featuring the most important pages on their website. Don’t overwhelm people with too many options.
4. Music playing automatically when you visit a website.Chelsea has a hysterical take on what it is like to visit a website that automatically starts playing music. As she explains, she doesn’t want to visit a website and feel like she’s in Miami, she just wants to know if your restaurant serves ceviche.
Jimdo’s take: Chelsea strikes again. We agree, people should not be surprised by unwanted music when they visit your site. It’s okay to feature videos—in fact, we recommend that you do. The more interactive content on your page, the more time people will spend on your website. But don’t push it on people or include media where it is not needed. Most people leave a website after fifty-nine seconds. Don’t give them a reason to leave by scaring them off with unexpected music.
Bonus Chelsea Peretti social media advice: Show off what you do best.
One last thing Chelsea suggests in her podcast is encouraging restaurants and chefs to post their food on Instagram. She points out, that like watching a cooking show, seeing visuals makes you want the food so much more. In fact, someone may see your delicious food on Instagram and be inclined to drive to your restaurant right then and there. Now that’s effective marketing.
This strategy is not limited to restaurants, it can applied to any business. Think about the best thing your business has to offer and choose a medium that best showcases that offering. If you’re a party planner, you might want to post party theme ideas to Pinterest. If you’re a masseuse, consider sharing relaxation tips to Twitter. Whatever your business may be, you can leverage a social media platform to share your expertise and help grow your business.
I loved Chelsea’s biggest website pet peeves, but I was also impressed by her natural instincts for building an effective website. Now it’s your turn. What are your biggest website pet peeves? Or do you disagree with any of the recommendations above and have an example of how it can be used well? Share with us below in the comments section.
Listen to Chelsea’s podcast discussing website pet peeves. [Heads-up, there is some explicit language used in this and other podcasts.]
Content Marketing and PR at Jimdo
Melissa joined Jimdo in August 2014 to support social media, public relations, and the blog. She has experience in marketing ranging from event management to content marketing. When Melissa isn’t drafting a blog post, you can find her watching stand-up comedy, attending a concert, or rooting for the Oregon Ducks.