With passage of time, your website collects clutter and gathers unwanted elements that result in a dissatisfactory user experience. If too many components are in the user’s face, they may miss out on the information they’re looking for or content you need them to see. If there are too many links to get to where you need them to go after clicking call to action, they may lose interest and drop out.
It’s necessary to clean up your website so that too many landing pages, verbose content, annoying ads and distracting design elements don’t hamper usability of the website. A decluttered and easy to navigate website brings higher conversion rates and generates positive user feedback. Here’s how to declutter your website in methodical ways.
Take stock of the current excess
You’d need to visit every page, link, text, content, pop-ups, redirects, other elements and every corner of the website to analyse what is it that you don’t need and doesn’t serve the purpose. Is there a page that is repeating itself? A button that doesn’t do anything when clicked? Any links that are inactive? Pop ups that are outdated? All of it must go right out of the window. You can also use analytics tools to determine what are the pages that are least visited and commands that are most infrequently clicked. Anything that doesn’t align with the goal of thr the website should be identified and removed.
Cut down on words
Sometimes, the website can already be decluttered with respect to design but may have elaborate and superfluous copy that consumes too much space. Other than that, badly written copy can present a messy image of the product. Set a ratio of text to image per page. Edit out redundant words, phrases and sentences that don’t add any value.
Additionally, it’s also a best practice to have light and direct copy so that even when the user is casually scanning through the content, he can easily understand the gist of the message as opposed to heavy and flowery words that talk a lot but don’t really say anything. Even if you want to create content to describe the product/service and features in detail, or if you want to sing praises of a particular achievement, brevity is of the essence. Readers understand when the words are inauthentic and long winded and may get tired. If the copy is truthful and crisp, it comes across as more enjoyable and impactful.
Make visual elements clean and consistent
Clutter isn’t created only through verbal or backend excess and architecture heaviness.. Survey the website to find design flaws that make the website appear disheveled. If there are too many website design elements that clash with each other and don’t have an aesthetic appeal, take them down or merge/redesign them in a way that they look cohesive and minimalistic. Make sure you have primary colors for the main design which are alternatively used on other pages to maintain consistency. Have no more than three or four design objects as the main theme which can be used throughout the website so that the users are not bombarded with visual overload. Alternatively, use bright images that have soothing color palettes and clean lines to create harmony without the noise. Make important elements like logo, call to action buttons, navigation bar, etc more prominent and provocative by getting rid of multiple colors, objects and design layers in the surroundings.
Use negative space
Once the content and copy are shortened and the design made more fluid, make right use of negative space. It means you create distance between elements using white space. Benefits of using negative space for decluttering are many. Users get the opportunity to focus on the main message and visual cues and that makes their experience smoother. You can increase the readability of the page as well as site navigation easier with negative space. It’s important that the user absorbs the information without being denied enough breathing room. The color of negative space doesn’t always have to be white. It could be black, pastel, monochrome, among others. Negative space is an effective design tool to declutter a website when you don’t need to change other components in a big way but need to increase usability and ease of navigation. Ideally navigation should follow a three-click rule for getting the user the required information on the desired page. When this approach is accompanied by use of negative space, it can enhance user experience by multifold.
Take care of linking
Another main reason why websites feel cluttered is because linking is not architected for optimum experience. Too many internal or external links creates disturbances in the website’s readability and navigation. Having a high quantity of links is not as important as having the right quality of links that add value to the overall content. Examine each link to see if it’s useful for the users.
Rethink content components
The sheer amount of content on the website can cause clutter too. Check ad to content ratio and placement of ads as too many ads in the wrong places creates a negative user experience. Revisit old posts, revisions, outdated material that is not in current use. However, do keep content that’s still relevant for users even if it’s old. The criteria is to get rid of unnecessary plugins and themes so that the website is light and decluttered. Leverage browser caching to increase speed and remove query strings. Delete comment spams, old polls, contests, promotional posts that are no longer new and fresh. Update software and current themes and plugins and delete media files that aren’t in use at present. Remove old members’ databases and user information that’s not being used. Use optimisation tools to clear the backend storage that is no longer necessary. Delete unused tags and disable the automatic loading of unwanted pages.
This approach mixed with other hacks you may stumble upon yourself are necessary to apply regularly. Spring cleaning of your website helps drive more traffic and keeps it light, smooth and effective.