Forbes, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Mens Health, you name it. The big guys think that just because they entered in the game early, or because they have some popular print publication backing them up, they can get away with whatever they want.

Screw that!

They better start changing and listening more to the users, else I am sure their traffic will go down hill. Here are 5 habits from mainstream websites that make me sick.

1. Breaking stories in many different pages to increase the number of impressions

breaking pages dow

Have you ever seen those “Top 25 Web Celebrities” or “Top 20 Richest People in the World” lists on Forbes? The number of items on the list is the number of pages that they use to display the information…. Slide shows they call it. I call it “trying to get as many page views as possible from each visitor to make more advertising money, because we are some greedy folks!”

And this practice is not limited to lists. If you take a look on Wired or PC World, you will notice that even 500 word stories get broken down into two or more pages!

Come on guys, make it easy for the user and put everything in the same page.

2. Using splash pages with ads

splash pages

When I visit a website that greets me with a huge ad instead of the homepage, I always scratch my head and think: “Did I just type businessweek.com or annoythefuckoutofme.com?”

Internet users want things quick, because that is the way they think. They want to be able to scan the information. To filter it. To search for specific bits of data. If upon coming to your website they will only see a huge ad and a link where they need to click to see the “real” website, heck, they will just go somewhere else.

3. Not linking to the sources or mentioned websites

no links

Until some time ago there was an argument among webmasters stating that if you wanted visitors to stick inside your site, you should never link to external pages. This has been proved to be a myth. If visitors like your content, they can always hit the “Back” button on their browsers, or pay a visit again in the future.

It is a myth, but I guess we forgot to tell mainstream media websites about that. In fact, behemoths like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times rarely link out to other sites. What is worse, sometimes they won’t even link to the website they are covering on the article, and the reader must try to guess the URL or search for it on Google. Crazy….

4. Using pop-up ads

pop up ads annoying

It is 2008, almost 2009 for the matter of fact, and some websites are still shooting devilish pop-ups on our faces?

Picture this: you just found a link about a cool story, you click and start reading it, it seems interesting, when you are starting to understand it BANG! A pop-up appears encouraging you to take a survey or buy something.

Most of the times the thing is even moving around and you need to chase it with your mouse in order to close it.

Gosh I hate pop-ups.

5. Requiring registration to access the content

registration required

Lets put this straight, when I browse around the Internet, I want to get information, not the other way around. Do not force me to register up and leave my email address and other personal details unless it is absolutely necessary (i.e. unless what you offer is so good that I will bear with the pain of the registration).

This thing is so annoying that you even have websites around that are specialized in providing Internet users with valid usernames and passwords for those sites, so that they can skip the registration process. The most famous one is bugmenot.com.

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