Ask the Reader: What Makes You Leave a Website?

Question MarkWhat I truly love about my blog here at SPI is the unbelievable and amazing community of people that have congregated here, not only to support the blog and what I do, but also to support each other.

Some of the best and most valuable content on this site has been posted by you, the SPI reader, in the comment sections of my posts. And although I always aim to provide the best content that I can myself, I know you’ll always come back with more, and that impresses the heck out of me.

Today, I have a quick but very important question for you, which I know will help everyone who sees this in the future who is looking to improve their online properties.

I’ve asked similar questions to my Facebook Page in the past, and I always get a few responses like:

“This stuff is Gold. Big companies would pay big money for information like this!

So, let’s all help each other out, and try to make the web a better place by answering the following question:

What makes you leave a website?

In other words…at what point do you say “I’m done with this” and click on the back button? Is there something on a site in particular that triggers the idea of moving on? How much time do you give a site before you take off?

Think of this as leaving when you know the website you’re viewing isn’t ready for you to leave (like after you’ve made a purchase, or you’ve found the information you were looking for).

I look forward to reading and learning from your comments.

Cheers, and for those of you in the US – have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!

  • Janet

    Sleazy, high pressure, hype-filled sales tactics.

    • Barry | A Leader Quotes Success

      Yes! Exactly this! Upselling is especially a killer for me. Give me your options up front and let me choose. If I have to click through 10 more pages of upsells to complete the sale, you will lose the whole sale in a hurry.

      • Hasan

        1. I agree, especially if your a internet marketer who does sales pitches rather than spreading good ideas i will leave.

        2. Pressuring me to buy or opt in, rather than just telling me how i could benefit from the product then let me decide, i will leave.

        3. As far as blogs go, the big thing that really make me never want to come back is when the blog has lost it’s vibe and energy. When I feel i’m not learning something new and just reading the same theory and idea repeatedly and not learning a fresh new perceptive, i will leave.

        4. Another reason why i will leave a blog is when i realize that the authors personality is lost in the blog. When the blog feels robotic with no emotions,feelings and especially when it looses it’s personality it’s touch!

        Hasan – cheers!

      • TheInfoPreneur

        I agree. though I’m usually cool with one upsell…but one thing I find MORE annoying…I recently had the unpleasant experience of going through a series of exit-popups from a clickbank product. It was about 8 exit popups to get out of the system. Ughhhh. What on earth is that marketer thinking? I’m even ok with exit popups. Sometimes they offer a great value for a lesser price. But man…when you throw 8 in a row…it makes me want to heave.


        PS. Pat…to answer your question…boring, mundane content that I can get anywhere makes me leave. I like sites that are entertaining, informative, and inspiring.

    • Super Money

      Hey Pat,
      I really quite from your website when I’m almost done reading your complete new article you post on SPI.

      Honestly, I don’t think so there is any reason I for leaving your website. keep up the good work. this is the only one subscription I follow on my email newsletter and not on Google reader 😉

  • Thomas Strock

    A few of the major things for me is I leave if I can’t figure out:

    1) What the site is about.
    2) Where the content I saw in the description of Google is on the site within a few seconds.
    3) How to navigate the site easily within a few seconds.

  • Chris Green

    I leave a site when it looks just like everyone elses site and there is nothing to capture my attention.

  • Joel Zaslofsky

    I’ve read articles about this and I know a lot of people will say slow page load time. Personally I believe terrible design (e.g. ugly color scheme or poor formatting of images) and pop ups are a sure fire way to get me to high tail it away from a website.

    I’m looking forward to the responses from other SPI readers! I bet we’ll get a ton of website turn offs and variations on certain themes.

  • Cara

    When most everything above the fold is adsense- Usually those kinds of sites don’t have any helpful information on them.

    You have a great Memorial Day too!

  • Norma

    I leave if a video starts playing automatically.
    I leave if there’s music that starts automatically.
    I leave if there’s a pop-up that interrupts my reason for going there.
    I leave if there are too many animated ads.
    I leave if I can’t quickly scan the page to determine if the answer I’m seeking is there but instead is so text-dense that I’ll need to really read the whole thing to figure that out.
    I leave if it’s ugly.

    • Wes

      My list would be identical with the following additions:

      I leave if ANYTHING on the page is hi-lighted in yellow (even faster if the hi-lighted text is red).
      I leave if I can’t distinguish between the ads and the content.

      • Hando@How To Become

        Exactly my thoughts, anything hi-lighted yellow or red, it did not even occurred to me but as you mentioned it now then I realized that I would leave the site unconsciously for that very reason. Also if the page appears to be squeeze page at some sort then I would also leave right away.

    • StuW

      All of the above and I leave if the site is trying to sell me someting but not making the price CLEAR.

  • Marty Green

    I hate trying to read “big chunks” of Text. I need the website to make it easy for me to read. I love seeing pictures and diagrams as well. Video’s are best, but if it’s just huge 10 line paragraphs I wont even read the text up to that point. I just leave.



  • Shane Eubanks

    The biggest turn-offs for me are bad designs with no usability…there should be a clear SOMETHING on the page that gets your attention and lures you in.

    Here’s the thing…consider where your traffic comes from and MAKE SURE your content, design, usability, goals, etc is “prepared” for that traffic. If your #1 source is search engines then make sure your pages are ready for people looking for the top keywords (AT LEAST).

    Don’t make them look…cause most of them won’t.

    Give them what they are looking for without making them look. I know that sounds like a “Yogi-ism” but you know what I mean. 😉

  • Pat farren

    The first thing that would make me leave is speed and a site of fancy flash which takes ages to load .For me I would just say “I’m out of here”
    2. Pop ups do my head because it tells me no matter what content is on here they are trying to sell you something.Bill Glazier maybe one of top marketers but every single site he has he tries to sell you something and cannot stand that.
    3.You have it right pat you offer great free content if you feel you want to buy something well and good if not thats fine as well .It is not forced down you throat.
    Hope this helps Thanks Pat from pat.

  • David

    I agree with Cara’s post above. If I am looking for specific information on any given topic and all I see are adsense ads, I leave immediately, hit the back button and go to the next “legitimate” looking website.

    It’s great to have ads peppered in with decent content, but if all a website has are ads, and you can clearly tell whoever created it was just thinking about making money rather than helping people out, I’m gone.

  • Bongani

    For the lack of a better word I’ll say website zen, when things just don’t fit in or flow.

  • Patrick de Boer

    The first thing that makes we want to leave a site instantly is annoying pop-ups. Some sites I like use these as well, and I barely forgive them ;). Another reason for me to say goodbye is an unclear navigation. I want to know how to get where I want to go fast and not be slowed down by information that is either incomplete (read further on a completely different website-like) or has got nothing to do with the reason I visited the website. What makes sure I never return is a pop-up when I close the site saying: are you sure?

  • Therm

    Ok, let me get this straight, you’re asking us to answer as if we’re already invested in a site (like yours) and we decide to leave, not when we’ve just discovered a site (like through google or something) right?
    If so, it’s ONE thing for me, plain and simple, if I get bored. If the content all of a sudden gets dry, if the site isn’t being updated frequently, if there’s no excitement, i’m out. HATE being bored (’cause I can’t focus while bored, I can only focus on being bored).

  • Steve

    I can’t hit the back button fast enough if video or sound plays automatically.
    I can handle one pop up but anymore is annoying.
    An overwhelming amount of block text.
    Adsense overload above the fold.
    Ugly sites that look useless

  • Ryan@coveringtherent

    There’s always a sense of irony with these posts. Typically the things which make us money online are the things as marketers we dislike. Someone mentioned above Adsense and i agree. If i go on adsense heavy sites I’m less likely to stick around yet 90% of my niche revenue is made through Adsense.

    Furthermore when it comes to ‘passive income’ or ‘make money online’ websites the most annoying aspect of these sites is the ‘Pop up domination’ plugin which deters me immensly. Again this is ironic as apparently it has great success with sign ups yet its one of the instant turn off’s for me when i land on a website, especially one which an unestablished audience.



  • Dean Mehrkens

    I leave a site when I can’t find the content I’m looking for, or am convinced I won’t be able to find it. A lot of sites (blogs especially) give little useful content on a topic, so it takes 3-4 sites combined to give me the info I need. If more blogs would do comprehensive topics (much like you do, Pat) there wouldn’t be the need to surf over to multiple sites.

    • Ling-en Hsia

      This is because of Niche Marketing…
      So is it that bad? I don’t know. Cuz there is no way one blogger can create multiple quality sites like SPI


  • Lydia

    I agree with Janet on the sleazy sales techniques and with Norma on pop-ups.

    I used to follow a few blogs that would put up a paragraph or two of their latest entry and then include a link to another site that contained the entire post.

    As much as I liked what they had to say it was a deal-breaker. I really don’t like being interrupted or being sent elsewhere to read what someone has to say.

    Another site lost me when they began sharing some extremely ugly, prejudiced opinions about certain groups out of the blue. I still don’t know what they were thinking. :O

  • Mel @ Trailing After God

    Music. If music auto plays, I click x and try to remember never to go back. Why don’t bloggers consider WHERE their audience could be reading? The library, at work, in Starbucks, and any other place that music might be a no-no or obnoxious. I read at home and I HATE music on blogs. We all love our own music but not everyone will love it so don’t chase folks off with that!

    Jumbled sites that are full of spammy ads. Buh-bye.

    Text that isn’t broken into paragraphs or easy to scan.

    Need photos. You need good grammar. If you use slang and misspelled words, I’m gone.

    Don’t abbreviate things on your site without explaining what they mean. If I’m new to your content or the subject matter, I will have NO idea what a bunch of letters mean. It’s your job to tell me.

    And pick a niche. I know it’s not necessary but I stop following blogs that just talk about anything and everything.

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  • Mel @ Trailing After God

    Oh and one that totally bugs me! Do NOT use a black background. It is almost impossible to read the actual text. Make sure your font color isn’t so close to the background color, that you require readers to strain to actually read it.

  • Javier

    besides no good information, and extra loaded with ads and weirdness, many times it really is not the site but me.

  • Bridgett

    Music. I leave right away

  • mike

    If you browse with Firefox, just download the Adblock plugin – and all ads will be blocked. You won’t see any adsense or banner ads or popup ads, etc.

    You an also download the NoScript plugin. This blocks other scripts from running, including Flash, musics, etc.. It will prevent flash videos from starting up right away. (you can enable it on certain pages or domains manually. i enable it on all of my niche sites for example, so that I can make sure my ads are displayed correctly)

    to answer though, i’d say any site that has too much going on… or as Mel above mentioned, light text on black background hurts my eyes.

    that’s about it really.. i try to give most sites a chance.


  • Andrew

    The slightest bit of noise or confusion as to its purpose….sites almost need to be dumbed down

  • Anya

    I agree with a lot of the posters above.
    Music, or sound bites I can’t figure out how to turn off instantly
    Autoplay videos!!
    A design with an unmodified default template
    It looks Web 1.0
    Too many adds and bare looking content.
    Sentences are filled with fluff
    The most recent blogpost is 1 year old
    Anything signs that its a scammy affiliate site

  • Allen Foreman

    What Norma said:
    – Automatic video
    – Automatic music
    – Too many ads
    – Pop-ups
    – Pop-unders
    – Ugly

    I’ll add – A VIRUS WARNING.

  • Deborah

    Adsense ads that make me feel like I’m navigating a mine field.

  • Keri

    Popups of any kind. Even the lightbox ones. Hate ’em.

  • Faheem

    For me visual look of a website is important. Sometimes there is really nice content and useful for me but I cant grab that because a website is full of flashing ads etc.

  • Kirstin

    Boring content, pop ups or looking like a spammy landing page

  • Robert

    First, I look at load speed and if I can find where I’m going (i.e. to the content). If I get to the content, it better be good, easy to read, with some pictures or something else to break it up.

    Oh, an no music or things moving around on the screen – ever.

  • Ami

    MUSIC! I can’t stand flipping to a site and having music playing – if you MUST do that, give me a warning and a way to turn it off ASAP. Also, when then content I’m looking for in only provided via video – I’d much prefer to read and have videos be complementary.

    Also, depending on the nature of the site, the quality of the design comes into play. If I’m going to purchase something (whether digital, tangible, or service) and the site looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1996, I really don’t trust their level of security…

  • RemcoD

    Auto-starting music and vids, Flash sites and (obviously) pop ups. Another thing that makes me twitch are bloggers who are too lazy to check their spelling and grammar.

  • Cory

    When it looks like any of Yanik Silver’s sites–i.e. the site is clearly a sales pitch with no content. Frankly, if I don’t have to spend at least a minute or two reading actual content and scrolling down the screen BEFORE I see a product being offered, I just hit the back button immediately.

    • Cory

      Oh, and pop-ups. Pop-Up Domination or whatever it’s called is absolutely one of my biggest peeves. It’s probably the number one reason Yaro Starak and most internet marketers will never earn a penny from me.

  • Bobby Hagstrom

    A bunch of text on a poorly designed layout; if it looks like no effort went into the site at first glance, I’m not willing to give up more minutes to see if the content’s good. High chance it’s written with the same philosophy as the design.

    Also, if the site’s articles constantly apologize for the bad quality. Maybe if they put that apologetic effort into editing the site, they wouldn’t feel so bad!

  • Onibalusi Bamidele

    There is definitely a lot to learn in all the comments in this post.

    What makes me leave a website is if I’m consistently seeing crap content on it.

    Thanks so much and have a great day!


    • Bojan

      You are indeed calm person… I am gone at the slightest sign of crap, probably never to return… Design is crucial for me and site loading speed.

      Flash is huge turn offf… Some flash websites I dont even have opportunity to visit on my ipad. Thats just garbage…

  • Rachel

    I can’t stand spelling and grammar mistakes. I feel like if the writer put such little time into double checking something so basic, they probably didn’t take the time to research their topic and write useful information.

  • Caleb

    If it says “Smart Passive Income Blog” on the top…

    I kid, I kid. 😉

    I’d say design is the biggest thing. Unobtrusive and clean design will make me more intrigued.

  • Cheryl Pickett

    Several people have already mentioned issues I agree with, pop ups, auto-play and design. Within the design aspect though I’d like to specifically mention that using tiny font and too many colors will make me click off with barely a further glance. Once in a great while I will stay longer if someone has asked me to check out their site for example, but that’s about the only reason.

    If someone thinks everything needs to be on the home page and every topic needs a new color, they clearly haven’t put much time into learning how the web works so it also makes me wonder how they run the rest of their business.

  • steve

    I agree with Marty. I see two or three long drawn out paragraphs that blather on and on and can’t get to a point, I’m gone!

  • Nan

    Instant ‘clouded’ pop-ups…avatars….music…immediate playing vids…NO Info (video or print is fine)…too many salesy items…dated site (like no one’s home – abandoned)…flashing ads(yeah even Yahoo! does this sometimes…HATE IT!)..I also detest self-directed ONLY talk (i’ve done this…and this and this….etc!)

    Seriously – send me to the AD I clicked on for the ITEM YOU promised in a professional and fun way. Leave off all that other turn-off JUNK!

    I like streamlined – easily navigational – pretty – interesting – engaging.

  • JorlanBalbuena

    Before the ads, video and music…
    i make a quick scan of whats in the site…if there is nothing i can addition, Poor grammar….

    and oh! before i forgot!!!
    those sexy-almost-soft-porn ads, specially if i am with my little brother…

  • Adam

    Disorganization is the biggest one. If I came to the page looking for something I should be able to tell that the information is on the page in the first 30 seconds. If I can’t tell that the page is relevant, I’ll go back to google and give the 2nd or 3rd results a try.

    Also, as others have said, if it looks/feels like a myspace page I’ll leave automatically.

  • Philip Geneman

    I do not like to much adds they bug me so much or to much clutter on the home page. I noticed that is a big problem with foodie sites. That is why at my site I strive to have a clean looking site. will have adds but just a few if any. also when a site loads slow, that bugs me too.

  • David Damron

    -Color Palette
    -post area having a dark background
    -Ads taking up 20% or more of the “above-the-fold” section

    At least these are the ones that make me leave immediately….

    David Damron
    Life Excursion

  • Barry | A Leader Quotes Success

    -Pop-ups, especially Pop-Up Domination.
    -Bad navigation – especially if you make it hard for me to give you money.
    -Old sites – although these are surprisingly hard to get past in Google Blogs.
    -Content that is all fluff, no value.
    -If the writer is a jerk. There’s already enough negativity in the world – I don’t need to encourage it by reading it.

  • Amanda

    -Anything with a slow loading flash page or music
    -A video that starts playing automatically
    -pop up domination
    -any content farm-type site
    -the writer talks about their religious beliefs throughout posts.

  • Dave Beer

    A lightbox asking me to subscribe before I can even read anything on the site makes me press the back-button.

    There really is no excuse for it. Other than they’ve done A-B testing and found that they do actually get a few subscribers that way.

    What they don’t realise, is they’re optimising for the wrong thing. Yes, if you’re purely measuring email addresses entered, I’ve no doubt it increases that. But actual fans? I’m not so sure… I think it’s got a good enough chance of pissing off a lot of people who instantly lose any respect for your site. Regardless of the quality of content.

    I’m much more likely to subscribe to an RSS feed if I read some good content from a site that I’m starting to notice. Although I’m sure site owners would rather be able to email me directly, that’s not how I want to consume what they’ve got to offer.

    • Ling-en Hsia

      I agree. I sign in to the popups opt-in just to get the ebook with a garbage email account. And then I never go back to read the website and never open the emails they are sending.

      But many marketers seem to grow so fast with this technique…

      I don’t want to implement this on my site but I feel like I’m losing so many potential readers that leave without subscribing to anything…

  • Evan

    I leave a website when I get the feeling that im being sold hard or when the site no longer makes me feel good for reading its articles, ect.

  • Adrienne O.

    Well, aside from the obvious (like a site not being relevant to whatever I’m searching for, which happens often enough) – interstitial ads are a sure fire way to make me close the tab. Hard to read font is another huge one – I also can’t stand pages with a dark backround, as I find it difficult on the eyes. Those two are the big ones.

  • Beelissa

    I agree about the automatically-playing video or audio, those are things that make me groan but they are not always things that make me leave a site.

    What makes me leave the fastest is if I can’t immediately see what I thought I was going there for. If I searched for something and read the search results entry and it made me believe that link is a good one, but when I click on it, it doesn’t seem to really be the same. If I can’t find anything relating to what I searched for. If it’s all ads and I can hardly find the actual content. Or any ad with questionable content on the site, and I’m out of there.

    Other things that make me leave: pop-ups. There are two kinds of pop-ups. One is a separate window with an ad in it, usually an ad that is totally unrelated to the website, or at least not anything promoting the website’s content or products. Those are most annoying, and I don’t get them much since I started using Firefox. So one of those popping up is likely to drive me right away. But the other kind are annoying too. Before I’ve even read a word of content I get “subscribe to my mailing list and get a free ebook.” I hate those, though I don’t always leave the site because of them.

    Another really bad one: “landing pages” that go on and on telling me why I should buy this product, don’t have a navigation bar or even a single link to any other page on the site, and don’t even give you a price till all the way at the bottom, or, worse, after you’ve clicked on a “buy it now” link. I do not buy something from a website I just landed on and never heard of until 3 minutes ago. I need to know more about the product and, more importantly, the person and company behind the product, before I buy. This kind of hard sell makes me click away, sometimes even before I’ve seen the price. Sometimes I’ll scroll down to see the price, which is almost always much more than I’m willing to pay. Then I click that “X” at the top of the tab.

    Here’s another thing that kind of annoys me, though it doesn’t always make me close the page: when I follow a link and I think it’s to an article, but really it’s to a blog that has a very short post and then it gives you the link to the article you thought you were going to when you first clicked. Not that I don’t mind if someone recommends a good article that was written by someone else, but some sites seem to be mostly this type of post. I want to go to the actual article, not a post linking to it.

    One more: any page that looks old. If there’s a date and it’s over 5 years ago, that’s a turn-off, but it doesn’t have to have a date. The web design can date it. Sometimes you can just tell. It has the feel of a room covered with dust, with a musty smell to it, No one’s updated it in years, you can almost smell it. Why is this ranking near the top of a search when it was created when my teenager was in diapers?

  • Pat

    These are great responses, everyone! I’m beginning to see a number of the same things popup in almost every person’s response…and it’s funny because they re some of the most common things I see going on with sites.

    Have a great weekend everyone! Keep the responses coming!

  • Danny

    I think it depends on the reason I am on a specific site. There are needs and then there are wants. Searching for info to satisfy a want (like making money online) I can be as picky as anyone else here. Searching for natural cures for a stomach flu, I don’t think I am bothered as much by google ads if I have a feeling the content is great.

  • Matthew

    Wow, I guess I’m not the only one who *hates* music on sites. I leave sites for two main reasons. First, annoying or obtrusive design elements. I don’t want to have to fish through a bunch of ads and attention grabbers to mine for the content like I’m panning for gold. Second, confusing, rambling, or poor content or structure. In spite of all the marketing advice about list building and flashy ads put in prominent places, those can turn people off if used improperly. Content is still king for building faithful readers as your site continues to prove.

  • Natalia

    Audio or video content that auto plays, video ads that auto play as well (even worse) and pop-ups, including newsletter subscription ones. I’ll have a higher tolerance if I am really interested in reading the content, but if the pop-up appears each time I navigate to a different page on the site, I won’t stay. Another big turn-off is clicking the ‘About’ page only to find “This is an example WordPress page…”

  • Marc Benda

    Great question Pat, I’d leave a website immediately;
    – When I am being asked to subscribe before I’ve read anything
    – When > 30% for the screen is filled with ads

    A video or music wouldn’t make me leave immediately as long as I can switch it off easily

  • Gerald Ball

    The message is the key. I like this blog because it’s incredibly personable. When someone puts themselves out there as much as Pat you can’t help but feel like your getting an organic meal instead of the fast food that the web usually serves up today. I love this blog and the community surrounding it.

  • Gerald Ball

    BTW, how do you get your picture in the box?

    • Pat

      Thanks for the awesome and kind words, Gerald! Regarding the picture, head on over to and connect an a picture to the email address you use in comments. (it’s free btw!). Then, anywhere you leave a comment with that email it will show your image.


  • Hector Avellaneda

    Pop-ups! I would have to say that I absolutely dislike heading over to a blog, trying to to snoop around and read some of the content and then all of a sudden – WHAAAAM – you get pop-up slapped in the face with an ebook or e-guide offer.

    I would say that equates to me walking into a store and a clerk popping out of nowhere and shoving a bag of Doritos ( :) ) in face as I am trying to make my way through the store to look for a magazine or something.

    Not cool!

  • The Herminator

    A few of the things that will make me leave:
    1) pop ups – I associate them with trying to sell me too hard and they’re annoying. So now I’m annoyed before I could even read what that person has to say. Not good.

    2) Messy design and poor formatting – if I can’t find anything and the sidebar is just a mess of random links to all of your 200 pages or you’ve written everything in a size 8 font and failed to make paragraphs… buh-bye

    3) I don’t mind adsense and banner ads, but if they overpower the content I probably won’t stay too long.

    Those would definitely be my top 3.

  • DJ Duty

    It just happened today. Google searched, found a page on the first page of google. (this page is the one I found: ) 75% of the first page is covered with google ads. I tried navigating throughout but the amount of ads made me think the website’s just a cash cow with no value to me, so I left. I can’t even access a main section of theirs without registering. Why would I do that? So they can send me more ads? They haven’t done a single thing of value for me to show me signs that registering would give me any value. I’m half expecting to only find a salespage at the other end.

    -Sales pages with long rants about how much money you make turn me off. If you’re selling a product I don’t trust your numbers are genuine.
    -Music or video playing without me giving the OK stinks. I listen to music while I surf the web, not only does your video go unheard, but it actively makes me leave your page because it’s the quickest way to make the sound stop.

    you know what’s the worst? when I leave the page and I get a popup saying “Are you sure you want to leave?” or “If you stay on the page we’ll give you the product for 25% off.” Way to confirm all you want is my money.

  • Rusty

    I really dont trust feedback sometimes as quite often the commentary is quite biased. For example people who follow this blog may have been quite exposed to the marketing and getting quite tired of it. U can only try and test.
    Also, Sales 101 dictates that we all have distinctive personalities and need to be sold differently which is a little hard given a static web page. Would be good to experiment with a page that could changed based on a persons taste. MMM. Im’ers probably just need the consise brief and a recmmend from a trusted source. We are actually the easiest people to Market to, as sales people are the easiest to sell to…

  • Big Fat Writer

    The exclamation point!!! If I see the ! I think someone is trying to sell me something, make me excited, ignite some fear or anger. The ! can carry different emotions and I never know which one I am supposed to have. I move on. Period.

  • Ron

    Since others have a list.
    1. Music is the background. This includes videos where only music is playing on a screen shot.

    2. Pop Ups. And yes this does include the subscription pop ups. If that pop up message area is bland with no content, I’m done.

    3. Bad page titles that suck you in and then don’t deliver on the content.

    4. Locked content pages. This one really upsets me. Some bloggers think their site is so good that they lock all their content in lieu of your email address. Some call this brilliant marketing and a great way to built a list. I call it a one way trip to block sites in my internet settings.

    5. Pictures of cash. Do I need to say more?

    6. I can live with bad design-if the message is clean, concise and stays on topic.

  • Paul Evans

    Hi Pat

    Website performance and speed of page delivery is still very high up there…

    It has been proved many times that your conversion rate – whatever that may be – is directly related to your site performance. Double your speed and expect to increase conversion by 10-15% (% not points)

    Bigger bandwidth and quicker internet connections have only served to bring the “wait threshold” down, even if in absolute terms sites are getting delivered much quicker now than they used to be.

    10 years ago people were prepared to wait 10+ seconds for a page to load or for a website to give them feedback that “something was happening”. Nowadays its 2-3 seconds.

    For me, if it don’t load quick, I’m off…


  • Juan

    #6 sites with photo of money on header
    #5 sites with same content as everybody else ( only rearranged)
    #4 sites where content is a camouflaged sales pitch
    #3 flash banner
    #2 automatic start videos and music
    #1 Pop ups
    BTW great blog Pat ,I’ll be back
    Here’s a question for you Pat , what’s your best advice for getting on the first page of Google

  • Benny

    Hey Pat,

    I know many say popups but I’ve gotten numb to those so I just click the X and barely bother to read what they are offering.

    If I’m coming to a page just from surfing around, a BAD design will make me click away fast.

    That’s the biggest thing for me. Lots of small factors though too.

  • Chalky

    Pop-ups trying to make money by flogging their eBook on how to make money. Grrr. If I wanted it, I would click on it.

  • Shari

    There a two things that make me lose interest in a site – pop-up’s of any kind and poor grammar or spelling. (I hope I spelled everything right while making this comment! How embarrassing would that be?)

  • Tamala – Live Your Purpose, Passion and Destiny

    I will IMMEDIATELY leave a page if it is a Flash splash page. I hate, hate, hate those! And they always take forever to load.

  • Mari

    I have to say that if a page takes too long to load, I usually don’t wait around for it. Or if the site has popup ads, even for something simple such as a Netflix ad or something. You never know what is going to pop up so I don’t wait to find out, even with my Firefox filter on. The biggest thing is if my AVG antivirus program with the page status toolbar does not turn green for ok (or it has a warning of an untrusted site message come up), I immediately leave the site and will never return to it again.

  • Sustainable PF

    1) pop ups for newsletters
    2) pop ups for ads
    3) never getting a response
    4) not getting a response if I do sign up for a newsletter (Pat, i’ve responded via email a number of times – gave up)

    I rarely come to this site – just read in the reader.

    All the basic stuff applies – overload on ads, looking like selling out, useless content, slow page load. They all matter. But if those top 4 don’t happen I won’t return. (today I returned to comment as it was prudent to do so).
    Best of luck :)

  • Jenny

    Design. A good design is a must. If it’s too cluttered with adds or looks out dated visually, I’ll leave. Navigation has to be easy to spot, and there shouldn’t be too many widgets or gadgets on the sidebar that aren’t useful.

  • John Haver

    Lack of transparency and flat out lies

    Like all of us whenever I am searching around in the IM niche I come across crap sites that promise instant riches, claim to be making 6 figures however the site is a PR0, has glaring formatting issues and has no profile on Compete or Alexa.

    Sites like smartpassiveincome and its transparency is the opposite of those style of sites and so I thank you for that.

    So to answer the question…if I believe the site to be honest/transparent I stay, if I doubt the story the site is telling me I am gone!

  • Juuso Palander

    I will close the page almost instantly if I feel that the writer or the site host has shady intentions. By shady I mean that desire for money / subscribers / personal gain comes before educating or entertaining the reader who just came to the site.

    Another turn-off is “ME-syndrome”. If every single article on the site is about the site owner, it feels like I’ve entered into a temple that is built for that person only. I want to see that the site owner (usually blogger) has outside relations and speaks about his or her subject on more general level also.

    Personally I try to follow this guideline to avoid the problem mentioned above:
    Try to make your site as personal as possible for each individual visitor.

  • gerry

    auto playing music, auto playing videos, and a “pushy” feel to the site.

  • Shajjad

    When I dont got any information which i found, i just left the web page :(

    So we need to be carefull to create content for our blog, right?


  • Anni

    – a popup as soon as you enter, or at any time after you enter
    – the big sell – trying every which way to grab my money or email address
    – a one page sell – with red or yellow highlighted text.’
    – ‘gurus’ boasting about how much money they make on the home page/every page (I don’t mean simply saying you’re doing well, such as on this website)
    – a request for subscription at the top of the page I’m reading (I don’t mean in the sidebar but at the top of the content.)
    – elements everywhere on the page out of alignment or text stretched across the screen.
    – A video or music playing when you enter – especially someone talking and trying to sell me on something
    – bad contrast between text and background
    – black or dark background in content area – strains your eyes after a while

  • Jackie

    Pop-ups, autoplay music and video, video with no user control, advert crammed sites, sucky navigation, crap content, poor design (can be ignored if content rocks), flashing banners, I could go on and on….but I suppose when you sum it up sites that take the control away from the user are the biggest losers in my books.

  • Brian Cormack Carr

    Great question – thanks for bringing us all in on this.

    For me, it’s: too much clutter (particularly ads); autoplay video or music; pop-ups that appear instantly before I can read anything; flashing banners.

    I actually don’t mind ropey design if I can see quickly that the content is good and produced with good intentions.

  • AricCougar

    Easy Answer, as I do it every day.

    I stay on websites like THIS one, because it is clean, easy to read, and provides value within a few seconds of viewing.

    I LEAVE a website when something automatically pops up, such as an ad, another window, or even a chat window. If I didnt click to open it, then i dont care what it is – its likely a virus and im OUTTA there!

    Also if the website is full of Ads that are intrusive, then i figure they arent there for me, they are there for themselves, to make money off me, and i take off for another search result that i can feel better about.

    Too many flashing or bright colors, with too large or small print, is another sign that its time for me to find a new page, and i take off.

    Lastly, any website that promises to send you something, and then forces you to see ads or a bubble page of Offers to select, often including your personal information, usually followed by another similar page, 20 times in a row, is a loser. Immediately when I see the first page of “Offers”, I CLOSE IT! And i unbookmark if i had previously bookmarked it, and never return! My time is more important their little games, and 99% of the time they never send the free promised item anyway. So I teach all my family to avoid those like the plague.

    I’m starting a business with an online site so i plan to use good web principles on my page when its ready.

    Hope those ideas helped.

  • Allie

    All of the above not only taught me what not to do but I agree with all of them.

    The one thing I don’t like is when the blogger seems to be hiding something.

    -they hide their name, even a fake on would suffice
    -deceptive links; most of the links go directly to a sales page
    -no about me or about the site
    -they lead you on a wild goose chase to get to the real content after you click 5 of their links
    -no image/graphics that show an inkling of related material
    -they repeat over and over the same message, trying to only sell me something
    -the site looks legit but as you explore you know they stole the content in order to get you to buy

    I don’t like feeling deceived. I only buy from reputation (like Pat or Problogger, etc) and I only sell what I believe in, if I sell at all.

    And I will leave if your site is ugly. It doesn’t take much to put in some effort for appearance.


  • Justin | Mazzastick

    If there is a blog post titled in the site that says top 5 or top 10 ways to do something I am clicking away as soon as I can.

    Dark background images comes in second place. It hurts my eyes to read those kind of sites.

  • Leon Aldrich

    Never throw the baby out with the bath water…

    Savvy people who READ blogs are soon inoculated to autoplay video/music, popups or any of the numerous examples listed.

    Although I do love Popup Domination and here is why. I get to see copywriting examples for FREE. My only costs is clicking the X to close the box. The challenge for marketers using PD, is fine tuning the settings. And, you don’t have to use the pop up as just a subscription sign up. You could make it a treasure map & offer prizes. Or a contest with no purchase necessary for a ONE time only drawing. I can tell you if Pat had a popup offering an autographed iPad2, I don’t think any of us would burn him alive.

  • Karo Itoje

    For me there are a few things that turn me off, and some of these things internet marketers will tell you works well.

    On top of my list of turn offs are pop ups. God how I hate them! I am always quick to close them in a hurry and read the article I came for.

    I am also quick to leave where I expected to see something different on the site but finds something very unrelated.

    The design of a site is also good. But if the content on a site offers the information I want then I really don’t always give a damn about how the site looks whether it looks bad or not.

    As for buying a product? Who ever reads all the long sales pitches. If I want to buy a product, I just want to know how effective it is without all the long stories. Tell me what it is for and try to show me in action and I’ll go straight to the buy button.

  • ScorpionGod

    Ok I’m leaving a site because some reasons. They are as follows

    If the site seems to be garbage dump with more widgets, Ads, texts.
    If the site posting very very long articles e.g(
    If the site deosn’t have a pleasant design that Made me happy.

  • subra

    the sites with pop-ups..always make a perception they trying to sell/push something.

    • Trent Dyrsmid

      Hey Subra,

      What do you think of lightboxes that fade in after you’ve been on the site for 15-20 seconds? I use one of those on my niches sites and when I did, my optin rate tripled without any other negative consequences.

      My guess is that people don’t hate a good offer….once they’ve been on the site for long enough to make a first impression, that is.

  • Rachel

    Running into errors on a website instantly makes me loose faith in a websites professionalism. If you’re going to have the extra features make sure their functioning.

    P.S. Great post its nice to get all of these tips on what not to do.

  • Maybo

    If the site is in English and the English is poor, the grammar and spelling are bad or the article has obviously been spun and does not make sense I will click back very quickly.

  • john

    I do not like a website or a page that is not direct to the point. There are so much introduction that I got tired reading the whole post.

  • Rory Mullen

    The sites that make me leave is usually ones trying to sell me items. I go to a website with the intention of learning information and when I see more ads then info I am turned off!

  • George Tee

    Hi pat, nice question, What makes me leave a website? I hate websites that uses pop ups trying to sell a product without trying to offer any free generous content. I know there are sites that been generous to their readers like giving free ebooks and fre training videos which means they provide good quality and they are real in doing right business. I hate also those site with big blinking buy now button and Earn dollars in just few minutes. It is indeed spammy and scam sites. Sites with poor content and poor web design. I leave those sites in just a matter of seconds.

  • Jp

    Since I do 80% of my leisure browsing through my phone, I immediatle drop off if the site doesn’t render well in a mobile. I’m not saying that there should be a mobile site counterpart, but at the very least, it is best practice to look at your website on a mobile device, and make sure the site is viewable. Afterall, the future is in the mobile space! My 2 cents.

  • Jacques Bezuidenhout

    People, including myself don’t like to read pages of info. Get to the point and if I’m interested I will continue

  • CM

    Hey Pat, I’m creating a blog for List Building and Email Blogging, I wanted to ask you for some advice on how to generate for traffic. If I give great content about the topic at hand, will I gain traffic to my site naturally? What are the best ways to generate traffic?


  • Jana Quinn

    A lot of my pet peeves are on my list, but the one that not only makes me leave the website but also discredits the owner/blogger is poor spelling and grammar. This is especially disheartening when the person who runs the site is involved in anything that INVOLVES written communication (public relations, copywriting, consulting, etc.).

    Your site is not only a place for customers to find out what services you offer and contact you. It’s the place that reflects your work ethic. If you can’t be bothered to use the right “its” or have poorly-written headlines, I can’t be bothered to even find out what you’re offering.

  • Paul Wright

    I have a few points where I may leave a website. The first like most people is when I open the page does the page look like it has some information that I want. Second I will read the first paragraph and if it still seem interesting I will probably read the whole page. Other reasons maybe an obvious sales pitch, boring text or something I have read before.

  • Andrew Reynolds

    Stale content or site that looks abandoned will make me leave a site. If the site looks like it hasn’t been maintained in awhile or if the last post to the blog was 2 years ago, I am gone. I also leave any site that has a “under construction” sign anywhere. I’ll also leave a site if I read too many times about what they are “going to do.” Some blogs are just two or three entries of what they plan to do and then nothing else.

  • Mike Reeves-McMillan

    I bail if I can see that I’m not going to learn anything new or interesting. That’s usually by about half-way or a third of the way through a blog post, if I’m investigating a new blog.

    No new ideas? No clear way to apply? I’m gone.

  • Jeffrey Trull

    I get really annoyed by excessive affiliate marketing. A lot of bloggers will just fill post after post with affiliate links, so much so that the content doesn’t even seem to be the purpose. Too many other ads on the site is definitely annoying, too.

    Aside from that, I’ll leave if the site doesn’t look professional. In this day and age, there’s really no excuse for a poorly-designed website.

    • Tram Tran

      Hear hear!

  • Adarsh

    Popups definitely drive me away. Other than that, I’d say blogs that post one article after the other promoting products alone

  • Starting an Online Business with nIO

    Great question! Well, the primary reason that discourages me to continue exploring the website is the complicated stuff that’s in it. Say for example, a site that’s difficult to find our way around, site’s the use deep or complicated English ( I mean, I would much appreciate if the use simple English and not indulge us with their fancy vocabulary unless of course terms use are need) or too much highly technical words, and of course, contents that practically not beneficial to life.
    That’s about it.
    A pleasant day to everyone!

  • Danny Johnson

    Websites that won’t let you leave. You try to hit the back button and here come 5 popups jumping out at you telling you to please stay. Why? To get blasted with more forms?

    You provide a ton of great content and are a success because of it. I am trying to follow by doing the same with my real estate investing blog.

    Thank you.

  • Kat

    Poor grammar and spelling. Popups. Popunders. Popovers, unless served warm, with Irish butter. Squeeze pages that go on and on and on and on ….snore. Am sick unto death of video with rambling talking heads or somebody’s idea of “this is so cool”. Believe me, it’s not. “But wait don’t order YET there’s MORE! ” “If you don’t order today you will never be able to order again!” “There are only 3 left at this price”. Yeah, you and I and everybody else all know that’s BS. And watch, somebody will tell me “but it converts!” Have you tried using fewer marketing techniques resurrected straight out of 1970s informercials? Maybe those would convert even better. On the other hand, PT Barnum probably had it right.

  • Matt

    I’d like to add an “amen” to all of the above comments! :)

    I also hate when a website is just a regurgitation of other websites. If your customer/reader is passionate about your topic, they’re going to be smart enough and familiar enough with subject matter to smell out a plagiarizer REALLY quick. It’s like Pat always says “Make the internet a better place.” You don’t do that without injecting your own flavor, your own brand.

    “Are you sure you want to leave?” Damn right, that’s why I clicked the back button.


  • Mk Akan

    1.many Google adsense adverts on the website
    2. Old information or stuff i know already

  • Paul Caparas

    A bunch of popups and google ads all over the site.

  • seohabits

    information overload; lack of simplicity

  • randy

    how good the website is like display more ppl attracted for the content in it 😀

  • priya

    i feel like some website are very huge and popular but loading is like hell in that situation i will leave that :(

  • Rban3

    The quickest way to make me leave a website is if it looks messy and there is a lot to read. Simple and elegant really is good for me. Other annoying things to make me exit a website:pop-ups, obvious sales tactics, poor content (content that is useless to me), obvious errors (grammar, functionality, etc), too many bells and whistles.

  • Kathy


    Great post! I would have to agree with much of the comments above with regard to the pop ups. I would also like to add after blogging for the past 3yrs… I have gone through many learning curves and learned what worked for me after trial and error.

    If pop ups work for you and your site you should keep them. If they don’t then take them down.Its all about asking your visitors what they “like” – I think you have done this well throughout your website!

    Thanks again for the great post.


  • Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    1) pop ups
    2) hard sales push
    3) mediocre content

  • Hugh Kimura

    – Ugly design or super busy
    – Stale content
    – Too many Adwords

    I usually give a site about 10 seconds before I click ‘back.’

  • Moncler

    if one website is helpful to me.i will be leave a relpy.

    it is easy

  • Michael Corley

    I have a very strong opinion about update schedules. 90% of the time the reason I leave a website I like it is because they continually fail to keep an update as promised.
    As you can imagine, I didn’t even start my comic strip sight until I had a month buffer for that very reason!

  • Teresa Schultz

    Great comments, and they’re the same reasons I leave a site quickly. But one of my pet peeves is a site that I don’t even get to see much of because the page loads or opens so slowly due to too much unnnecessary coding behind the scenes, flash images or large images.

    Other peeves that stand out are use of ridiculously bright colors, tiny font size, poor grammar or obviously and poorly spun content, pop ups, and a cold impersonal tone evident in the text. I want to feel welcome, or have my interest piqued, and if that doesn’t happen within a few seconds, I’m outta there.

  • floor sanding cost

    Your post was very nice,I also leave any site that has a “under construction” sign anywhere. I’ll also leave a site if I read too many times about what they are “going to do.

  • Damien Lewis

    Too much ads and pop up will make me immediately leave a website.

    Another is if it is too colorful that is not pleasing to the eye.

  • Adopting a Baby

    Nice post , thank you for sharing ………

  • master do

    I will leave sites with steeled content and also with post which are not been well formed or described.

  • Kelsey Vere

    Pagination, background ads that are clickable everywhere, freebies forcing a trade for personal information, forcing to sign up to comment, and so much more!! Lol