Seven Ways Your Website Makes Baby Jesus Cry

Baby Jesus finds your tastes questionable.As a freelance copywriter, I often look for new clients by Googling local web design firms. In doing so, I’ve seen hundreds of websites from the people who profess to do them best.

Many were good. Some weren’t so good. And a few were downright scary.

While sifting through the good, the bad and the ugly, I noticed a few bad habits kept popping up. Things that made me want to scream, “You’re a web design company! You should know better!”

Eventually it dawned on me that if web designers were making these mistakes, small business owners were, too. So I decided to create a list of my seven biggest pet peeves. Pet peeves that baby Jesus happens to share. (‘Cause we’re tight like that.)

1. No personal photos. We know you’re not a supermodel. It’s OK. But without photographic evidence, it’s easy to assume you look like this guy:

Scary guy on computer

Chances are good you’re not this scary, so make us all feel better by including a photo. And while we’re on the topic: you’re not fooling anybody with those stock photos of your “employees.”

These people don't work for you. Who are you trying to kid?

Baby Jesus just saw the same picture on a community college ad, and he knows when he’s being played.

2. No contact information. Baby Jesus is a busy guy. He doesn’t have time to spend hunting down your name and email address. Make it easy for him to contact you by putting your details at the top or bottom of each page.  After all, privacy is overrated. Sales aren’t.

3. Confusing navigation. Your web navigation is not the time to be clever. Save your wit for your blog posts, and make your page titles as obvious as possible. About Us. Services. Contact Us. Et cetera. These titles won’t win you any prizes for creativity, but they will get users where they need to go.

4. Corporate speak. Your website copywriting should speak to your users’ needs, not your need to sell. Unfortunately, most business websites do the latter. They tell you all about their experience and their years of expertise without ever telling users why they should care.

If your web copy uses the word “I” or “we” more than it uses the word “you,” it’s time to hire a copywriter … or at least revise.

5. Long splash intros. Have you ever clicked on an interesting-looking video, only to have to watch a 30-second commercial for hemorrhoid cream? Not fun, is it? Baby Jesus feels the same way when he’s forced to watch a 30-second splash introduction for your site.

Flash Splash

Most users arrive at your site with a mission. A long splash intro gets in the way of that mission. If you can’t live without the splash page, at least give users the opportunity to skip the visuals.

6. Mobile unfriendliness. Baby Jesus loves his iPhone. And nothing’s worse than loading your website on a smart phone, only to find that it’s virtually unreadable. As time goes on, more and more people will use their phones to access your site, read your blog and pull up contact information. Make it easy for them by making sure your site is mobile-friendly.

7. Clutter. Do you really need 18 navigation links? Does your blog roll really need 73 choices? After a certain point, these choices will confuse more people than they help. When designing (or redesigning) your web site, give users limited options and a generous amount of white space. Baby Jesus will thank you.

What bothers you in other people’s websites? What makes you want to cry? Let me know in the comments section below.

20 Responses to Seven Ways Your Website Makes Baby Jesus Cry

  • P.S. Jones says:

    Baby Jesus also cries when he goes to your website and you never tell him what you do. Sounds crazy but it happens all the time. It may say the name of your company but how the hell do I know what ABC Inc does? I don’t. And neither does Baby Jesus

  • Kelly Watson says:

    Great point. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stumbled across a company website with a name like “Easy Solutions.” How vague can you get?

  • Brilliant article. I must commend you for taking your time to notice all these faults and sharing them. Thanks so I’ve gained.

    I think i like baby Jesus.

  • Having too many choices, like with the eternal blogroll, is the same as no choice at all. It’s just too many to pretend to care about!

    And really, Baby Jesus just wants to get in, get the info he needs, and get out!
    Delena Silverfox recently posted…epc Belfast

  • steven papas says:

    I ‘ve read a thousand posts since I launched my blog and this was the best “killer” title I ‘ve ever seen and the featuring image is very funny too. So, Kelly, you are pointing out some great points here. Concerning annoying intros, I wanted to add that flash intros are nothing but a relic of the past and they are totally useless now. People are not impressed by this kind of things anymore cause they are looking for specific information and solution to their problem.
    steven papas recently posted…My Norton 360 5 Review

  • Kelly Watson says:

    Thanks Steven! I’m always looking for ways to break through the clutter :)

  • Efren R says:

    Excellent post! The thing that bothers me in some websites are the backgrounds. Some are just plain white, it just makes them look dead.

  • Angel Uriarte says:

    Interesting for someone like me who is building an ambitious site . However I dont agree with the personal img. issue. Something about showing a face in there that says “too commercial” a site.And we offer “something” to our users, not “ourselves”. That belongs to a different category of proffesion, a very old one btw.

  • Kelly Kautz says:

    So you’re saying putting people at the forefront of your business is an outdated notion, Angel?

  • Sara@harnesses for dogs says:

    That stock photo of company employees made me snigger! Baby Jesus does not like going to seo consultants websites and finding less than perfect seo!! Personal pics, I don’t like mine everywhere but I like to see it on say movie review sites to read a little about the person writing the review.

  • Kelly Kautz says:

    I agree, Sara. I get countless emails from SEO companies looking to “boost my ratings.”

  • “Baby Jesus just saw the same picture on a community college ad, and he knows when he’s being played.” That line was absolutely hilarious, awesome post!

  • Svetlana says:

    It also drives me nuts when websites use navigation that rotates, appears and disappears and makes clicking or whistling sounds, or when music suddenly starts playing or a cartoon person starts talking about their services, and I can’t find how to turn them off!
    Svetlana recently posted…Jan 22, Toronto Entertainment Calendar – What’s On In Toronto Today – Toronto Events and Things to Do

  • Angel Uriarte says:

    Not at all, Kelly, it´s just that I dont want to know how he or she who runs an online business looks like. Out of the web, yes sure we are gonna get hit by someone´s looks, but if the heart surgeon that is gonna replace you a valve looks like that guy….will you ask for another, more handsome maybe?

  • Great head!

    I heartily dislike any website that doesn’t include a terrific photo of the person who wants me to do business with them. Working solely in a virtual capacity, as so many of us do now, means I need the maximum amount of data and trust in you I can gather — and if you can’t even be bothered to get a great headshot and post it, you’re signaling to me you don’t get it. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who is a professional photographer, but this seems to me one of the simplest fixes possible.

  • Angel Uriarte says:

    Everybody is entitled to an opinion Caitlin, I am seeing your picture up there and it tells me nothing about what you might be offering to me.You in america like it that way, it´s all right, but in this sid eof the pond we find it just “overcommercial”

  • Kelly, I just subscribed SOLELY on the strength of this post title. I will now be asking myself, ‘What would Baby Jesus think?’ every time I post. Looking forward to checking out the rest of your site!
    Jennifer King recently posted…Subscribe to La Conexion for more coupons delivered

  • JoAnna says:

    This was a GREAT post. Thanks for the awesome insight that’s simple and fun to read. I am currently redesigning my sight so this was very helpful!

  • Kelly Kautz says:

    Thanks, JoAnna! You might also enjoy a recent review I did of “Five Second Test…” I used this particular post to review my own new site design, and the feedback was pretty interesting:

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