If you’ve ever had a mess of clutter in your home or office (c’mon, I know you have!), you probably noticed how difficult it was to find things amid the stacks and piles of junk and random items. And when you finally cleaned it up (you did eventually do that, right?), you marveled at how much easier it was for you to function, with everything neat and tidy.
Well, the same clutter problems that gum up your physical space can also occur in the digital world: specifically, on your website. Digital clutter can literally gum up the works, preventing your site visitors from finding what they need, causing them to overlook your calls-to-action, and breeding frustrations and less-than-happiness among your would-be customers.
So if you want to prime your website for increased conversions, make it easy for your visitors to find what they’re looking for, and lead to more happy (and loyal!) customers, you know what to do: DE-CLUTTER IT.
My top five clutter-busting pointers:
- Keep the information on your home page to a minimum. You don’t want to bombard new visitors with TMI; in most cases, all you need is a brief “snapshot” of your company, in the form of your tagline, mission statement, relevant images, and a call-to-action (such as a “Get 20% your first purchase when you sign up for e-mail updates!”). Leave the details for other pages (but still, don’t load down any one page with too much info; if it feels overwhelming, like if people have to scroll waaayyy down the page to get to what they’re looking for, you may want to break the content down into two pages).
- Get rid of clashing colors or busy patterns. Anything that distracts your visitors and/or prevents them from noticing the important elements of your site, should go. If it hurts to look at, chances are it’s also hurting your sales and other conversions.
- Streamline your navigation menu. Get rid of unnecessary links, and arrange the menu in a logical fashion, depending on what your visitors will most likely be looking for. If your site has a lot of pages, don’t think that you have to list everything all right there in the menu. Remember to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)! You can always give them more options once they’ve clicked on an initial page or category; that way, they’re not overwhelmed with too many options up-front.
- Display information in order of importance, priority, or relevance to your customers. In other words, don’t relegate the super-important stuff to the bottom of the page. Put your top-priority items at the top (or other prominent location) where your visitors will see them, followed by your second-priority items. And consider removing anything that you consider to be third-priority or lower; if it’s not serving a specific/still-important purpose, it may not even need to be there at all.
- Cut down on the widgets in your sidebar. In this case, less is truly more, especially since many of those items go unused. I mean, really, how many people actually click on the words in your tag cloud, or read your Twitter updates? Just keep those widgets that are most useful for your site visitors, and ditch the rest.
The bottom line: If an item is not really necessary, is distracting your visitors from the important things, or could be communicated more efficiently in less space or merged other images/words/pages, either ditch it or streamline it! Just like a physical office or store, a neat-and-tidy website ensures that new visitors and returning customers alike can find what they need, follow through on subscriptions, purchases, and so forth, and leave with a smile and a higher likelihood of coming back for more.
About Barbara Austin
As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!