Podcast Episode

272 – Five Things to Remove From Your Website 2016


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

Linker tracks Outbound Link Clicks Easily: Shorten & track your site links by using your own domain name. e.g. "your-domain.com/go/link"

Five Things to Remove From Your Website in 2016

I read a great article this week on SpeckyBoy about some things that should be removed from your website; especially in the year 2016.

In today's show I highlight the five ideas that the author suggests.


Annoying Pop-Ups

Pop-ups are necessarily a bad thing, but when they aren't easily dismissed or are too frequent, it can be bad for your visitors.

Take some time and figure out you pop-ups are working correctly and aren't too annoying.

I'd recommend using an incognito window to see what a brand new visitor to your site would see.

Auto-playing Audio / Video

Please stop auto playing music or videos.

It's annoying when your computer starts blasting audio at you and it's a waste of bandwidth for users on slow or mobile data connections.


Sliders don't add much value for as much room as they take up on your site. Plus someone isn't going to sit on your home page just to see all the images on your slider.

When in doubt, use the Should I Use a Carousel site as your guide on when to use a carousel.

Skeuomorphic Design

Skeuomorphism design is making the web look like real life. Think background drop shadows and wood grain on a bookshelf.

This practice was to help users adjust to things being digital. Since we've been using iPhones for 8+ years, I think most users are adapted to using the web.

Ditch the Mobile Site

Well, the secondary site you are using for your mobile users.

Make it simple on yourself and have one, well designed responsive website and it will make your life so much easier.

One Last Thing

I'm excited to share that I've started compiling tips on how to manage your time throughout the day and I'll be sharing this information soon 🙂

Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

On today’s episode, we talk about the five things we need to remove from our websites in 2016, right here on Your Website Engineer Podcast, Episode 272. Hello, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Your Website Engineer Podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler, and I decided to go with the short intro music today. We’re gonna dive right in today in a little bit to talk about five things that need to be removed from our websites.

They’re some of the things that we’ve probably kind of been overlooking over the last couple of years, and so we’re gonna dive into that. First, I’ve got a couple announcements, and I’ve got a plugin that I wanna share with you.

The first thing that I wanna share with you today is my friend Adam has a podcast called The Kitchen Sink WordPress Podcast, and he had an interview last week. This week, actually. It was episode No. 103 with David Sparks. David Sparks is a guy that’s all about Apple-type stuff. He’s a productivity person. He’s really a junkie when it comes to using your Mac for efficiently and stuff, but he’s also a lawyer by day.

This was a really great podcast episode. I have got a link to the show notes for it, but basically, David gives some advice for WordPress developers on what things should and shouldn’t be in contracts when we create contracts for our clients. It’s a really neat episode. I don’t wanna spend time going through the whole thing. It’s just a great interview. It’s about 30 minutes or so, and so go ahead and check that out. That’s The Kitchen Sink WP Podcast, Episode No. 103.

Another thing that I wanna share with you today is the WordPress iOS app has been released. It’s version 5.9. It came out on February 10th, and so you can go ahead and update your phones or your devices to have this latest version.

The coolest part now is you can actually create a WordPress.com website straight from the app. You don’t actually even need to have a computer, which is huge for using it on an iPad. iPads are probably the best place to use this type of app, but you manage all of your websites within this app, which is really, really nice.

You can change your themes, you can make modifications to your themes right inside the app as well, and there’s some bugs fixes, of course, like every new release has, and it’s got some behind the scenes improvements to make sure that the codebase for WordPress.com is even more robust, and it’s stronger than ever.

There was a handful of people that worked on it. I’ll have a link in the show notes for where you can two and update your version, or you can find out more and you can read about the WordPress.org mobile apps.

You can use these apps for both WordPress.com sites, and any site that has WordPress, any WordPress self-hosted site that’s running jet pack. Either of those options are – you can manage your sites on the go for that. It’s really great. I use mine a lot for managing comments. You can approve comments, you can spam comments right from the phone if you need to.

If you’re out on the go and you have a personal blog and you wanna update pictures or put pictures and stuff in there, you can do all of that from the mobile app. It’s really, really slick.

Let’s see. Moving on, there is more than 42000 plugins in the WordPress repository, so each week, I just like a little bit of time to highlight some of those plugins that are out there. The one today that we’re gonna look at is called Linker, L-I-N-K-E-R, and it goes by that name in the WordPress repository.

It basically transaction outbound clicks easily, so you can shorten and track your site links by using your own domain name. Think about this. This is kind of like the plugin that I highly recommend called Pretty Link, but this is just a little bit different.

It’s got a little bit different interface, and it’s got more than a thousand active installs, so it’s a plugin that’s got some traction. This gives you the ability to create a custom post tag for you, and you can go in and you can take any link wherever you want to go on the web, and you can just use it as part of a custom – it’s a custom field, basically, or a custom post tag.

The only catch with this, and this is the one little sticking point with this plugin, is when you create a redirection URL, it has an extra little piece of the slug. For example, if I was to use this on yourwebsiteengineer.com, it would be yourwebsiteengineer.com/go/ and then whatever the name of the link is.

If I was trying to represent Flywheel for hosting, it would be yourwebsiteengineer.com/go/flywheel. If that’s something that’s interesting to you, I know that that’s not gonna – I don’t want to have to go back and rebrand all my podcasts to have that extra go feature in the URL, so I probably won’t be using it, but I played around with it, and you have the ability that you can see how many people click on it, you can see who’s the author of it.

You can see a lot of cool, factual information about who’s using these links. If you’re not a big fan of the Pretty Link Lite or the Pretty Link Pro, you definitely wanna check out Linker in the WordPress repository. There’s a link to it, of course, in the show notes for Episode No. 272.

Today, what we’re going to talk about is five things to remove from our WordPress website. I found this in a really great episode – I found this in a really great article over on speckyboy.com, and this is one that just has a lot of web and tech-related information. This isn’t necessarily WordPress related stuff, but this is something that I think is very important. There’s a lot of things that I wanna talk about and cover, and some of the things that I need to take my own advice for to make sure that I don’t have these things running on my own website.

These are kind of some pet peeves, if you will. These are kind of general pet peeves for the course of all web professionals, I guess, or people that are in the web space. These are mostly design elements and different things that are going on with your website.

Let’s go ahead and just run through these really, really quick. The first one is, something that we need to remove from our website is insulting pop-ups. There’s nothing wrong with having pop-ups on our website, whether that to be to collect an email address, or to have somebody buy somebody, or share somebody a coupon code, but the big thing is you don’t want to have them have to click okay or cancel multiple times while they’re on their website if they’re browsing around. We just wanna make it a better user experience, and so this is something that we can all go and kind of test and make sure that it is working properly.

If somebody clicks the X arrow, and then they move to another page, you wanna make sure that it doesn’t automatically open up another box right away. You wanna just kinda make some of the tests so that it’s not popping up on every page until you add their email address.

You wanna make sure that once an email address is added, that it’s not still popping up. That would be a problem as well because somebody just signed up, and now they’re getting another pop-up box. That would be very, very – it’s not necessarily confusing, but it’s just annoying for a visitor that’s coming to your website.

One of the things that you really need to take a look in 2016 is going through and making sure those pop-ups, are they working correctly. There’s different ones that I’ve been using and testing out, but you have the ability on some of them to say, “Don’t pop-up until I’ve scrolled 80 percent of the way down the page,” or, “Don’t pop up unless this is my second page viewed on the website, and they’ve been on that second page for more than five seconds,” or whatever that is. You wanna make sure that you’re not giving them a pop-up immediately when they come to the website because they’re coming for information. They’re coming looking for more things.

For the most part, if you do a Google search, you’re looking to buy something, you may stumble upon a website right away, but you’re gonna wanna do a little research, you’re gonna have to read around the product information, stuff like that, before you actually want to purchase. Don’t blast them with a pop-up box because there’s some people that will just hit the back arrow right away and not even look at your website because there are pop-ups, annoying pop-ups, on the site.

Another thing that we wanna remove from our websites, and this one is – I don’t see this one super often anymore. I mean, I do see it quite a bit while I’m doing support for WordPress.com or even WooCommerce support, that some people will do this. Sound and video that auto-play, and this actually happened a few weeks ago in a podcast episode. One of them, I was doing some clicking around while I was interviewing somebody on his website.

The video started auto-playing, which I wasn’t able to stop in time or whatever. This is something that you just wanna make sure that you’re cognizant of the people that are viewing and using your website I mean, Safari, Chrome are getting much better that you can actually click on the tab that has the little sound icon so you can automatically mute that, or you can hit the mute button, but it’s just kind of annoying to just start playing automatically.

This is it probably the case, also, if you are mobile, and if somebody’s viewing your website and then they’re using their data to look at your site, and now you’re forcing them to use more data to play the video, or whatever. That’s something that you just wanna make sure that you’re thinking about.

Some people even have very slow load times on their website, and so, web sites are gonna load slower, and then if you’re trying to add video loading on the top of them, that could be something to think about as well.

Another thing, and this is really interesting that this comes up in this article was using sliders. There’s actually a fun website that’s out there. Let me see if I can find the URL that you can look at it. It’s kinda neat. Yeah, the website’s out there that’s called shouldiuseacarousel.com, and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well.

The interesting part about this is sliders are nice. There visually nice, but it makes it hard for somebody – it takes up a lot of real estate on a homepage for somebody to actually have a call to action connected with those sliders. If you think about that, that’s just a lot of wasted real estate that you have on your homepage before the scroll before you can actually do something.

It might be better to move that to another page, maybe a gallery page, something along those lines, but you done wanna necessarily have those right there on your homepage, especially if there filled with stock photos, and they’re just not relevant to the visitor who has come to your page in search of specific information. It seems like most people will ignore the slider, and then they try to figure out where they could find the menu item, or the option, or the things that they came, actually, to the website.

A chance of a visitor consuming all of the images in a slider is pretty low, so I don’t know a lot of people that come to a website and then will watch all four sliders go by, and then they decide, “Oh, well, I need to click on this,” or, “I need to do this.”

That’s something that you can think about. Also, this is another resource, thing, that sliders do take a while to load. They’ve got large images and things like that. Not to stay that sliders are 100 percent bad all the time, but most of the time, it’s not the best use of real estate on a website to put that slider top-right underneath your menu. That’s something to think about. Even I can say the same thing. I’ve got that big edge of myself on the top of yourwebsiteengineer.com, and that’s probably not the best use of resources, or the best use of space on that website. That’s something that I need to take a look at as well.

Another thing that we want to look at or maybe even try to remove is something called skeuomorphic design. This is basically the design style that makes digital images resemble real-life images. That means adding backgrounds and textures and things like that. I know when my very first version of yourwebsiteengineer.com had a lot of this. It had drop shadows, it had rounded corners. It just had a lot of those things that made it look like it was a real item, and so this was something that – I guess a design element that came.

Kind of when the start of the iPhone came out, they did – there was different things that made it look like books were sitting on a bookshelf, or it looked like a piece of paper was – the notes app looked like a piece of paper was being torn off or what not. I think that’s good to an extent. The reason in this article shares that the reason for this was to help people transition from a digital space to a – or from a physical space to a digital space.

I don’t think we have that concern these days because of the fact that so many people are using these devices. We’re using digital technology all the time, so I don’t think we necessarily need that skeuomorphic design on a lot of things. The flat design is in, flat, squared images, one color, these gradient-style colors, and all that good, fancy stuff that we used to use.

Again, those are some bandwidth hogging resources as well. If you have to have images for all of the different things to make it look 3D, then that’s going to obviously take longer to load on your website and what not as well. That’s another thing that we should probably take a look and see if we’re offending that and we’re having 3D-type images on our website.

Then, the last thing that this article brings up, and this probably isn’t the case too much now for WordPress developers, but the last one was separate mobile website, or have a separate mobile website.

This is something that used to be a thing, you used to build two websites, you built your desktop version, and then you had the m.yourwebsiteengineer.com as your mobile version, and then you kinda managed the two. I know that when I first started getting into web design, I made a mobile version of my site, which was basically like a landing page. If somebody came to my website, they had my contact information for my company, just really basic things that you may need on a mobile website.

I guess I haven’t seen this a whole lot. It seems like some of the really big sites that I’ve seen, like Yahoo has m.yahoo.com, and some of the bigger sites still are kinda managing these two different property type thing, but we need to be at the point here in 2016 that we have one website so we can manage one website, so we can keep everything updated in one place instead of multiple places, and just have a responsive layout, or a website that responds to the size of the device that it’s being used on.

Also, let’s see, the other good on for doing this is Google, now, they will penalize people who aren’t having a mobile-friendly website as part of their website in search relates and what not. What that means is if they find that your website doesn’t – maybe you have a mobile site that only has a little bit of information, but if somebody Googles and finds a specific article, then that’s gonna take them to the full version when they’re on their phone. That’s gonna be a penalty in the search engine rankings for Google. That’s something else to think about.

Some of the ideas and things that we’re gonna work on in 2016 is we’re gonna make sure that our pop-ups aren’t insulting to our visitors, make sure that they aren’t super annoying and you’re not asking every single time you come to your website. One good way to test this is going into an incognito browser. You can do this with all the different browsers that are out there under the file menu.

That basically means it will load your website without remembering the cache that you have on your website, so it’s not gonna remember that you’ve already seen this browser, or you’ve already looked at your website before, is it it’s gonna do some really neat things to make sure that are seeing what the person who’s coming to your website for the very first time is actually seeing. That’s something to look at. Definitely do that. Check that out in an incognito window, your pop-ups, that sorta thing.

Make sure that you don’t have any auto-playing anything. That’s basically good for not annoying people, and to make sure that you’re not using people’s resources to try to download that information while they’re on a mobile device or on the go or slow internet.

You look through and make sure that we’re utilizing sliders properly. Is that something that we’re doing well? Are we doing it not well? You just have to think about, “Is this the best use of our real estate on our website, is using sliders?”

The fourth one is skeuomorphic design. Try to get rid of that 3D type stuff on our website, just make it more flat, make it more plain, just make it a lot of things that can be styled with CSS. That’s going to make your website that much lighter and lightweight. By that I mean it’s going to take less time to load, it’s gonna make your website much, much faster, and much, much speedier.

The last one is just make sure that we’re not using two websites. We wanna consolidate everything under one umbrella. We wanna have one website that’s running on desktop and for mobile and things like that.

It’s kinda some things to think about for removing from your website in 2016. Let’s see. Lastly, I just wanna share, like I did last week, I am putting together some tips on how I manage my time throughout the day, how I stay focused on the projects that I have at hand, and just different time saving things that I found over of the last couple years.

I have some cool experience from being a developer that had to run my own company for three and a half years, and now I’ve been at automatic for two plus years, and just all of the things that I’ve had to learn and try to figure out and manage because nobody’s telling me what I need to do when I show up to work every single day. That’s something that I’ll be sharing in upcoming episodes and in email autoresponders. That’s something to take a look at as well.

If you’re not signed up for my email newsletter, head on over to yourwebsiteengineer.com, and there’ll be millions of pop-ups that just come flying at you and you can sign up. Kidding, of course. That’s what I wanna share with you this week. I’m so excited to continue to bring WordPress education and learning things myself, and then challenge myself that I share on a podcast episode.

That’s kind of my call to action this week, is really analyze my website and see which one of these five things I’m a offender of, and then implement, reiterate, just continue that iteration process to make the best website that I can. That’s all I’ve get for you this week. Take care, and we’ll talk again next week. Cheers. Bye.

    • Sebastian Gärtner Reply

      Welcome in 2015.

      Remove the pop-up from you site – it’s annoying.

      Maybe you should use the incognito modus to check it out …

      Feb 18, 2016
    • Senff Reply

      The first thing you mention: Annoying Pop-Ups. So why is your own “Sign up to download ths FREE Ebook” popup still on the page?

      “Take some time and figure out you pop-ups are working correctly and aren’t too annoying.” You will probably argue that it has its value because it gets you subscriptions, but take it from me; they are ALWAYS annoying, and it makes me leave sites that have them.

      Feb 23, 2016

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