Let me start by saying that, no, this article does not encourage you to annoy your users.

A lot of websites, whether on purpose or obliviously, seem to do everything they can to annoy their users. Blinded by all different methods to make money out of their website, promoting their products, or following methods that should, in theory, drive you more users, these websites end up annoying their users and making them not want to visit that site ever again.

In this article, I want you to take a step back and think if your website does any of the 4 things listed below that can annoy most, if not all users. If you do, then please take the necessary actions to undo these things to hopefully make your users like you a little more.

Overuse of Pop-ups

I'll start this with a confession: I did this previously on my blog. When I first started my blog, I wanted more people to sign up for my newsletter. So, I adopted this technique from other websites. They obviously get a lot of sign-ups through this technique, so I should too, right?

Wrong. Not only did I barely get any subscribers compared to the subscribers I get now, with only a form at the end of an article, I also got so many complaints in the comments about the pop-up whenever I posted the article on social media.

And that was just for one pop-up. Imagine how your users think if you use a pop-up on every chance you get.

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't use pop-ups on your website at all. You can and in a lot of cases should use pop-ups throughout your website, but the best way to use pop-ups is when they're triggered by a user's action.

For example, if the user clicks on the login button, it's more than ok to show them a pop-up for them to enter their credentials and log in. The overuse I talk about here is when you open a website, and pop-ups are shoved left and right in your face offering you discounts, newsletter subscriptions, or anything that basically benefits the website's owner. There's nothing wrong with benefiting from your website, we all need it. Just don't annoy the user while doing that.

Ads Exceeding The Content

As mentioned earlier, we all want to benefit from our websites and there's nothing wrong with it. Ads are one way to do it. Websites that do a good job of showing ads either show them in empty areas where they don't affect the user's experience while exploring the content, or include ads in between the content, for example, in the middle of an article, but in a way that it's clear that it's an ad and it won't confuse the user while exploring the content.

On the other hand, we have websites that abuse every space in their webpage, including spaces that should be occupied with the content that the user is looking for, with ads. Some even go to the length of deceiving the user into thinking the ad is part of the content just so that they click on it.

Ads should not be an integral part of your website. By that, I mean that it should not be the main focus of the user when they visit your website. It should be part of the background or the user's ongoing experience, but not overlap with the content or replace it.

An approach that can also make your users tolerate your ads more is by using ad services that will show your users good quality ads. Take Carbon as an example. Carbon shows ads that are catered towards developers and designers. So, if that's your website's audience, then the ads (if placed correctly) will not be an issue for your users.

Shifting Layout

How annoying is it when a website seems to load, but then suddenly as you're about to click something, the layout of the website shifts and you end up clicking on something else?

Although this is never done on purpose (I think...unless you're a psycho), it can have a negative effect on your users. No one likes being misunderstood, and no one likes being forced to do something they didn't ask for. So, when a user is trying to simply perform an action, but that action is turned into something else because your content is finally loaded and the page's layout ends up changing, it can be very annoying.

This is so annoying that it's one of the 3 core web vital metrics. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the largest number of unexpected layout changes that can occur in the span of 5 seconds while the page is loading. This does not include layout changes as a response to a user's action, hence the use of "unexpected".

For example, a user clicking on the hide icon and an item is removed from the screen, causing a layout shift: that's ok. However, the layout keeps changing as the page is loading, and not in response to the user's action: that's bad.

This doesn't just annoy users. The core web vitals metrics are used across Google analytics and insights tools for your website, including Google's Search Console. This means that a bad CLS score might affect how well your website does in search results, which will ultimately, affect your website's traffic.

If this happens on your website and you're unsure how you can resolve it, take a look at tips to improve your CLS score and try to apply them on your website.

Impossible Unsubscription

I'm not sure if it's just me, but it seems this one is becoming a thing among newsletters these days. It's becoming harder and harder to unsubscribe to newsletters these days.

For starters, some websites' newsletters go into a great deal of hiding their unsubscription link. They hide it among the very fine lines at the end of the email's footer, and you basically need a microscope to find it.

Other websites seem to have completely omitted to give the user the option to unsubscribe, or they just do a great job of hiding it that I simply cannot find it. Gmail now has an unsubscribe option now that lets you unsubscribe from any newsletter, but that doesn't work with every newsletter that you receive.

And then there are the websites that show you the subscribe button loud and clear, but when you click on it you're faced with many options, including checkboxes or reasons you want to unsubscribe, that can be confusing for the user. I recently tried to unsubscribe from a website and the unsubscription page showed me the checkboxes all checked with an unsubscribe button, but the text that they did a good job at not showing properly says "uncheck what you want to unsubscribe from". So, if a user doesn't take the time to read and just clicks the unsubscribe button, they will still be subscribed anyway.

We all don't want users to unsubscribe, that's obvious. However, that does not mean we should hold them hostage and fill their emails with our newsletters if that's not what they want. This gets especially annoying when websites consider you subscribed just by creating an account, then go to great lengths to make sure you don't unsubscribe.

If you don't want your users to unsubscribe, offer them quality content in your newsletter and make sure you don't spam them with emails. Then, if they still wish to unsubscribe, let them do it gracefully as you part ways. It's better than your newsletter being reported and ending up later on considered spam.


Regardless of what the purpose behind your website is, your main goal should be to provide the best user experience. Once you do that, you're bound to get more traffic, more loyal users, and you'll be able to monetize your content, as well.

Instead of aiming at just "how can I sell this" or "how can I make money through this," instead of thinking from the mindset of a website owner, take a moment to think as a user, which at the end of the day we all are. "Why would I as a user buy this?" "Why would I as a user visit this website?" "What would make me as a user subscribe to this website's newsletter?" Once you change your mindset, your approach will change, and you'll annoy your users less.