Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day – If You’re Already Ditching, Ditch Website Bulk Too!
Today is officially ‘Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day’. It comes around every year on the third Thursday in January. If you’re already ditching, why not ditch the unnecessary bulk on your website and improve its user experience?
On the dawn of a new year, people all over the world decide to set a New Year’s Resolution. Lose some weight, drink less caffeine, clear your house out, write a book, get a new job, get a pet unicorn. Sometimes the resolution is ridiculous. So much so, there is an annual New Year’s Resolution Ditch Day.
I say, if you’re going to be ditching your resolution, why not do positive ditching with your website?
Let’s turn Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day into ‘Positive Website Ditch Day’!
Instead of putting yourself on a diet, put your website on a diet to lose some of its bulk. Instead of giving your home a clear out, give your website a clear out.
Instead of getting a unicorn, get a new website. Actually, still get the unicorn!
Although it’s (disappointingly) impossible to get a unicorn, it’s not impossible to create a new website. If you think there’s too much bulk on your current site and you want a fresh start, then go ahead. But if you’re happy with your current website, then why not review it and see where it can be improved?
Just like a home, a website accumulates a lot of stuff over the years. When that stuff is not tidied or monitored, it just gets everywhere. Sometimes you can hide it, but even then, it will re-emerge at some point.
Three tips to get started on removing website bulk.
You don’t need us to tell you what’s bulk on your website. With just a few steps you will come to understand more about website bulk and decide on what should stay, go or be tweaked slightly.
Look at it. Are you happy with it?
Treat your website as though it’s your shop window, is it what you want your customers to see? Is it what your customers want to see?
Looks aren’t everything though, you’ve got to consider the website’s performance and usability too.
Removing bulk can help with all of the above. Start by looking at all the features on your website. The design, imagery, wording, call-to-actions. By looking at each segment you can see if it adds value to your website and benefits the user. If it doesn’t, remove it and throw it into your virtual skip!
Aim and fire at wordy paragraphs.
There are many websites out there that have words upon words on their website. Some websites may need it, but on the whole, they don’t. You need to be the judge of that.
Long or jargon-filled paragraphs are not the way to write your website content. Content on website’s need to be concise to meet the need of a typical user online. People always look for a quick fix, it’s not different for users online.
Start by reviewing all your wording on your website. Is all the information necessary? Is there jargon? Are there huge chunks of content?
Only include necessary information, avoid jargon and ensure paragraphs are clear, broken up and concise; try to aim for three lines per paragraph.
If there’s bulky content that you think is still important but doesn’t need to be on a specific web page, you could always turn it into a blog. A blog gives you more flexibility when it comes to writing copy for it. That way you’re not removing the content from your website. You’d even be able to go into more detail if necessary.
How’s the site architecture looking?
Either manually trawl through your website and experience a typical customer’s journey, or use a program that will crawl your site and provide you with all its urls. Something you could use is Screaming Frog, a desktop program that crawls a websites’ links, images, CSS etc. You’d be surprised what gets uncovered in something like Screaming Frog.
Unless you’ve completely removed a page, it will still be discoverable. And if you have removed a page and not put in a redirect it will become a 404 (a page that no longer exists but the url is still discoverable).
Alongside reviewing content, you might find that there are pages that you no longer need. So what do you do with them? Chuck them in the virtual skip of course!
Should a page 404, the common thing to do is to set up a permanent 301 redirect from the dead page to a live relevant page. If this is all gobbledygook, check out our 301 redirect blog to find out more.
Redirects aren’t always necessary. You can always create a nice 404 page design with a fun message to keep users engaged and guide them somewhere else on your site. This is how CNET’s 404 looks:
Make sure to test all links on your website and make sure they don’t point to any dead, empty or non-existent pages.
We’ve given you the tools for a spring clean of your website…
… now you just need to take action. Take your time when working on your website and try to be as ruthless as you can with it. Trust us, your site will look and feel better, and you will be relieved at the end of it all.