10 Website Features That Are Scaring Your Customers Away

A customer recently warned me that he was scared away by something on my website. What are some other website features I should eliminate / modify to avoid scaring away potential buyers?



The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Pop-Up Ads

By far, the biggest turn off (and a bad scare tactic) on any business website is being too pushy way too soon. Let your potential buyers first get to know what your business and products are about. Don’t blast them with a sales pop-up immediately upon their arrival and before you raise their interest. Don’t come across as desperate. Earn their trust first.
Juha Liikala, Stripped Bare Media

2. Offensive Additions

Trying to sell to everyone often means you’re not selling to anyone. Something offensive should go — as should any annoying processes — but don’t worry about making everyone happy because you’ll never win.
Alexis Wolfer, The Beauty Bean

3. Bad Photography

Customers want to feel that they’re making a wise investment when they use your product or service. Bad photography, whether it is of products, staff or your office, screams, “Don’t trust me.” If you don’t care enough to invest in your own business, how can you be trusted to take care of your customers?
Dustin Lee, Playbook

4. Unclear Return Policies

Your return policy is one of the first things savvy consumers will want to know about, and if yours is confusing or missing, you could lose out on potential sales.
Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

5. Outdated Information

I always cringe when I see copy on a company’s homepage about forthcoming endeavors in 2009. If your text isn’t evergreen, make sure it’s up to date. If it’s not, you’re broadcasting a portrait of oversight and obsolescence.
Sam Saxton, Salter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs

6. Hidden Contact Information

Make contact information easy to find on every page. You don’t want customers to think you’re hiding behind your product, but instead that you’re readily available and legitimate.
Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent

7. Intrusive Questions

Trust is at an all-time low, according to recent studies. People are very cautious on the Internet, especially when dealing with the unknown. The best way to get people comfortable with your business is to slowly ease them into it. To do this, you should only ask for the information you need during customer requests, and clearly explain why you need it and what you’ll do with it.
Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee

8. Price Tiers

It’s become fashionable to list a lot of price tiers on websites to show buyers there will be a feature set that is ideal for them. Be careful not to have too many pricing tiers because it may overwhelm a prospective buyer. Too many choices can paralyze a potential buyer in making a decision, so make sure to streamline your pricing options shown online.
Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

9. Long Loading-Times

Page load time directly affects page abandonment rate, so when it comes to loading time, every second counts! Consumers have come to expect increasingly faster load times on both desktop and mobile, and meeting those expectations is extremely important as it ultimately affects your bottom line.
Katie Finnegan, Hukkster

10. Stock Photos

Stock photos make you look cheesy, outdated, and unrealistic. It makes people think that you couldn’t get any “real” people to stand behind your product and smile. When landing on a page, the user wants to think they belong there. I don’t know a single person who sees a model in a stock photo and says, “that person is just like me!”
Heidi Allstop, Spill

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Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

7 thoughts on “10 Website Features That Are Scaring Your Customers Away

  1. JoeCascio

    I’m hoping it’s a sign of progress that you didn’t feel it necessary to put “autoplay music and video” on your list. Perhaps most people have finally gotten the message that those are category 1 no-noes. Restaurant web sites are still consistent offenders, tho. Why them? I have no idea.

  2. Kamilah Beltran

    Is there a difference in Pop-Up Ads and Pop-Up Optins? Many website owners are interested in conversions rates and pop-up optins with offers seem to increase conversion rates drastically.

  3. Richard Santos

    Something that will scare me away immediately is spending 5 minutes browsing your site and still not knowing what you’re offering or how you’re going to help me grow my business. Stop including complicated industry specific jargons that most people won’t understand. Keep your website copy simple. I’d recommend showing it to an 8 eight years old and they understand it then you’re good to go! You want to answer 3 simple questions and form a value proposition: what you offer (product or service)? to who (target audience)? what problem does it solve? E.g. Get a professional website that will help you attract more clients to your small business. Hope this helps.


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