A Bad Web Experience? Sometimes Beyond Our Control
I’ve been running a few websites now for a number of years. Going into this, my goal has always been to provide the best experience for my website visitors. My thoughts were always that I’d do it right the first time and there wouldn’t be any problems. Boy was I wrong. Would you forgive a bad web experience? Here’s a few reasons why you might.
If you run a WordPress site, plugins and themes update on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if they’re paid or free, they mess up things from time to time. Updates can mean that code has changed significantly, which may cause conflicts with plugins or themes. I’ve had a trusted, widely used plugin like W3 Total Cache show my site as hieroglyphs to users on Firefox & Chrome. When I disabled the plugin, everything turned back to normal.
Things Break Inexplicably
I run a couple of membership sites. Both of them run on the same membership plugin, which shall remain nameless. We’ll call it Optimum Mumble, just for fun. On my big site, the plugin worked just fine. The smaller site was set up just the same way. Last time I checked, the sign up button triggered a popup form where users could register and pay. I hadn’t changed or updated anything. Just a few days ago, I received an email from a person who wanted to join, asking how to sign up. I sent an email directing him to the page. When I checked it out myself, I discovered that the popup stopped working, for no apparent reason, and simply redirected to the same page when clicked. I ended up having to create a new page, dedicated specifically to the sign up form itself.
Temporary Hosting Glitches
The greatest hosting company in the world can still have a glitch or two every now and then. Servers have to be updated, which is inevitable, and usually the main cause of issues. There’s also the issues of security, and if you’re on a shared hosting plan, the actions of others can cause trouble for you.
Uncontrollable Technical Difficulties
Have you ever visited a website and received some sort of maintenance or error page? I’m not talking about a 404 page, which means the page doesn’t exist. I’m talking about generic error message or maintenance message.
Paid Services Expire
The web is full of services and paid plugins. The only problem is that if you let those services expire, your site won’t work like it is supposed to. That’s why I am leery of paid add-ons and services. The less I have to keep up the better.
APIs are one of the biggest reasons I see things go wrong with a site. Either the API is garbage, it has changed, or the developer didn’t set it up or use it properly. I was just on a large, popular website that requires you to be a member to leave a comment. I was going to sign up, but I saw a social login that worked with LinkedIn or Twitter, so I tried it. I got an API error message (different ones) each time. I guess that site doesn’t like having comments from their readers.
I wrote this, because once I thought about it, I was amazed at how much could go wrong with a website. From Scripts and APIs to plugins and server issues, it’s enough to make you not want a website at all. It’s important to remember that things happen, sometimes beyond your control.
Would you forgive a site for a bad web experience? Have you experienced one recently? If so, share it in the comments section below.