There are certain times of year, primarily fall and spring, when it just seems natural to clean the clutter out of your desk, your office, your car, and even your home. Clutter can stress you out and make you less productive. However, there is one area of your business that is often neglected.
Most of the time when we are getting organized, we rarely think of our websites. But clutter there can be confusing to users, look ugly, and even slow it down. So what does that clutter look like and how to we remove it?
When you first purchased your domain name, you might have been advised to buy more than one, or you might have moved your site from an old one that was less than desirable. If you now have a well-established web presence and a strong brand, it may be time to get rid of those old domain names.
What harm are they doing? Well, first of all they are probably costing you money. Each domain name you own must be registered, and that registration involves an annual fee. The more sites you own, they more they are costing you, and if those sites are not doing anything for you anymore, that is money wasted.
How can you tell? Take a close look at your analytics, and you can see what domains are referring traffic to yours. Even if you have a 301 redirect in place, you may no longer need it if no one is clicking on the old site, or the other site names you may have purchased. If this is the case, clean out the clutter, and stop paying for sites you are not using.
Maybe you created an extra blog page, or the landing pages from last Christmas season are still in your database and therefore your site map. These can not only be using memory, but if users find an old link, they may arrive at a page that is rather confusing and outdated.
If you have created new about pages, changed your products, or relocated your blog, be sure you have deleted the old pages to avoid any confusion and website bloating.
Also have someone look at the coding in your website files. If you have changed hosts or moved sites, you may have leftover coding in there that is causing errors. Also, if a person has a cache of your website, they may be seeing old pages and outdated material.
Be sure your old pages have been deleted or redirected, and your site menu is clean and up to date.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be amazed at the number of businesses that have moved locations or changed phone numbers, but still have the old information in the footer of their site, or on a contact page somewhere.
Not only is this clutter, but it can be really confusing to searchers and website users. They will wonder which site is real, or may dial a number to a phone that no longer works or goes somewhere else entirely.
Another vital contact that is often outdated is email addresses. If you have gone through personnel changes or changed the primary contact email for your site, be sure it is correct everywhere, and that all of your contact forms go to that address.
While you are at it, check your business information on Google and other search engines to make sure it is correct. One wrong piece of information there can not only hurt your reputation with customers, but can also affect your Google rankings, particularly in local pages. This can have a huge impact on your organic traffic and your business.
Did you blog go off the rails at some point, where you started writing about things that were not related to your site or even what you do? Did you shift your focus, but not all of your content? This is something you need to correct, and cleaning house even of old posts on your blog can make a big difference in your site.
Also, some of those older posts might not fit into the current format or theme of your site very well. They either need to be updated or removed. This will not only make your blog look less cluttered, but it will improve performance and search engine optimization factors too.
If you have a tangent on your blog, get rid of it sooner rather than later.
Back to Basics
Over the years as we develop our sites, they tend to get more and more complicated. We may have pages we no longer need, blog posts that are no longer relevant, and contact forms regarding services we no longer even offer any more.
In addition, look at photos and video. Are they necessary, and have they been optimized for mobile devices? As we move towards responsive and AMP compliant sites being the norm, you can’t afford for your site to load slowly. Studies show users will leave a site if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.
Also, make sure product descriptions are brief, photos are relevant, and that your landing page URLs lead where you want them to. If they don’t, be sure to correct the issue as soon as possible.
We often think of clearing away clutter in our physical spaces, but rarely consider it in our virtual areas. However, we should think of removing the clutter online and making our websites both better looking, less confusing, and more efficient. By following these simple steps we can make them better.