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Top 10 Ways To Irritate Your Visitors

By David Bell
Posted Sunday, November 7, 2004

Let's face it. It is really hard to come up with new ways to fully irritate visitors to your site. I thought I would share some ways that I have found to irritate visitors and drive them away, thereby saving you money on your hosting bills. These tips are not in order according to their effectiveness, however #1 is by far the most effective. For 100% effectiveness, use any three of these techniques.

1. Install a script to disable everyone's right mouse click button. When someone tries to right-click, be sure to pop up a really insulting warning that accuses them of trying to steal your secret HTML code. Disabling the right click button will allow you to:
- Keep the visitor from bookmarking your site
- Keep the visitor from using the forward and back browser functions
- Keep the visitor from opening your links in a new window
- Keep the visitor from stopping a slow loading or hung page
- Keep the visitor from using the Reload function to correct a display problem
- Keep the visitor from printing your secret content
- Keep the visitor from using such illegal tools as the Google site information tool
Admittedly the visitors can do all of these things with the buttons at the top of the browser, but maybe they won't know that and simply go away as you intended when you disabled their dangerous right-click button.

2. Create a really long page then starts playing your favorite song and put the stop and volume controls at the very bottom of the page. This will make sure they do one of the following:
- Listen to the entire song all the way through 5 times while reading your content, which proves them worthy of experiencing your site
- Try desperately to find the Stop button
- Go somewhere else to stop the song from playing.

3. Decide in advance what screen resolution your visitors must use in order to see your pages. It is absolutely a great way to drive them off when they have to scroll from side to side to read sentences of information. You can make this 100% effective by making your pages so wide that no monitor can display it.

4. The really professional irritator will not settle for just one obscure browser plug-in. Go for the gold. Use several bloated plug-ins that no one has already installed. This should drive away all newbies because they usually have no idea how to install even one plug-in, much less three. Experienced surfers will be glad to spend 20 minutes installing plug-ins to view your unique content.

5. When the visitor arrives at your site, be sure to pop up at least two ads behind their browser window and a minimum of two ads in front of their window. This will give them lots of options in where to go now that they have been sufficiently irritated to desire to leave right away. Even more important is the way you treat the occasional hard case that actually stays on your site after all of your efforts. When they leave, remind them to never return. Start popping up windows all over their monitor with windows that multiply every time they try to close them.

6. Sign up to use a really slow-loading hit counter and put the button inside of a TABLE so that nothing appears until the hit-counter responds. This is possibly the best way to keep visitors from stealing from you as it keeps them from even reading your content and possibly typing it into their site from memory. For this to work reliably, you must avoid putting the height and width into the call for the hit counter graphic. You can improve the effectiveness of this technique by inserting not only a hit counter button, but a long string of banner exchange banners.

7. For the occasional visitor that inadvertently makes their way to your ezine subscription form, fear not. All is not lost. You can still rid yourself of them by asking lots and lots of personal questions. Don't just ask for their email address. Ask for their mailing address, phone number, sex, age, hobbies, religion, race and some other things best not discussed here. This technique works equally well when applied to your order forms and minimizes your trip to the UPS office to ship products.

8. Splash page. You gotta have a Splash Page. Lots of slow loading animation. If you can combine this with the requirement to download another obscure plug-in, you'll have hit a home run. I'm especially impressed by the many sites that have upped the ante to include two splash pages before you ever get to even the first word of content. Stunning! Brilliant!

9. Reconfigure the visitor's browser window. This will drive them crazy! People hate it when you run a script on your pages that expands the user's browser window to fill the entire screen and then do away with all of the browser Toolbar features such as the Navigation Toolbar and the Location Toolbar.

10 Finally, an oldie but goodie. Make your background dark and your text just a shade or two brighter. This makes it impossible to read your text and will rid you of visitors before they have a chance to clog up you server logs. If this is not possible on your site, use the alternate technique of putting most of your content in PDF files so that the visitor has to download them and launch another application. Very effective.

Did I mention that all of these cool ways to irritate visitors work even better at driving away the people reviewing your site for places like Yahoo, LookSmart and other directories to whom you've paid large sums of money to review your site and add it to their directory?
I hope this helps in your future marketing decisions.

About the Author
David Bell is Manager, Online Marketing, at ( , a leading Search Engine Optimization services firm and Advertising Agency.


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