Katie O'Brien Website Design - Blog Fallback

How to Declutter Your Website (+ why it’s important)

We’re in a noisy world nowadays and there are a lot of should-dos and must-haves… ESPECIALLY when it comes to your website.

You have to have a pop-up.

You have to have 4 pop-ups.

You have to have animations.

You have to have flashy buttons.

You have to have bla bla bla bla bla…

Any time you hear someone say you have to… run!

The only thing you really have to do is create an inviting space and attract your ideal clients into this space.

And make them feel welcome, of course. And maybe even make them want to stay.

Too often there are these flashy sites with all these bells and whistles that take a gajillion years to load that are so messy that it’s hard to even understand what that person does…

And these sites make people turn and run. Fast.

If you think your site could use some cleaning up… (cough cough, everyone –including myself– can afford to clean up their site once in awhile)… then this post is for you.

Here’s a list of things we could all afford to review and simplify on our sites:

Simplify Your Images

Make sure every image on your site, first of all, loads! And second, ensure they’re cohesive and respective of your brand. If not, replace it. Can’t find a replacement? It’s better to have no images on a page than crappy ones.

Simplify Your Copy

Every single word on your site should have meaning. Comb through your site and challenge yourself to simplify and pare down. Challenge yourself to communicate with as few words as possible.

Simplify Your Blog Posts

Are there any posts that you published a gazillion years ago that you’d be embarrassed to put your name next to today? Remove them. Some people might argue it will hurt your SEO, but I argue it will hurt your karma and clean space to create beautiful new posts. If they’re really that important to your SEO, then rewrite them to better align with your current brand. Keep categories simple, too. Categories and tags should be used to simplify your readers’ experience reading and navigating your blog.

Clear-out Unpublished Blog Posts

No one can see these, but they’re still considered clutter. Clean ’em up. Finish them and schedule them out or delete. Clear space for more meaningful posts on their way. I like to keep a running list of all my blog post ideas in Asana rather than clutter my site with a bunch of unpublished draft blog posts.

Amplify Your White Space

Does everything seem to run together? Do people find it hard on the eyes to read your site or navigate? Add more space between images and text. Increase your line heights. Increase margins between content. Make it SUPER simple to read.

Simplify Your Fonts

It’s recommended to have 1-2 fonts on your website. At most, 3. That third could be an accent font that’s used sparingly. Using more than this isn’t considered creative, it’s considered messy and unprofessional. Not only that but it strains your readers’ eyes. Focus on one font for your headings and one for the body. Be sure they’re cohesive with your brand and easy to read.

Simplify Your Colors

This really goes along with the fonts… try and limit your site to two main colors. If you are feeling a little wild and COLOR is your thing, then go for it, but be really strategic about the colors and make it purposeful and clean rather than cluttered and overwhelming. Your brand will have a color palette but be there will be main colors and then accent colors. Colors shouldn’t compete with one another but rather flow effortlessly. Less is more.

Simplify Your Sidebars & Footers

First, ask yourself, do you really need these? And if so, how can they be simplified? Consciously create these areas rather than throwing things there just because everyone else is doin’ it. I really feel sidebars are outdated and are too distracting. Footers, however, I feel are necessary. You might have to include links to boring legal docs, but make everything nicely branded together. Less is more… yep, here, too 😉

Simplify Your Home Page

The best for last. So many people get confused as to what to put on this page, so they copy someone else’s layout or fill in a pre-designed theme’s suggestion for the home page. No. Don’t do this. It’s not you. People want you. For your home page, all you need is who you are, what you do and why you do it. The why could even be reserved for your About page. Lastly, you’ll want a call to action and then your Home page is done.

Take some time every year to do a clean sweep of your site and see if it needs any simplifying. Use the list above to walk through different aspects of your site.

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