Let me say that again, “Clutter is SCREWING UP YOUR WEBSITE!”
Seriously, utterly screwing it up and taking your dreams with it.
It’s one of the first things I notice when strolling around your site, carrying out work or not. When your site takes more than a couple of seconds to load. When it’s hard to see what you’re all about or where to find the information I need. When I reach the end of your article and the page can still take another four or five scrolls to reach the bottom because of all those damn widgets and essential things that seemed like a good idea at the time.
Clutter. Screws. You. Up.
How? Surely it’s not that bad?
Well, let me walk you through why its truly one of the more dreadful things you can let happen to your beloved online business.
For every extra second it takes to load your page, the chance of someone deciding they don’t want the information they clicked for that badly and leaving increases exponentially.
Google, being wise in the ways of the user, knows this and therefore gives priority to fast sites in more recent years. Fast AND Relevant is now the way to go.
Mobile traffic? Visitors using older computers? A slow site may even crash their devices. Which will obviously make them want to stick around.
What’s easier to find, an item in a pile of 3-5 things or an item in a pile of 15 things?
How do you choose what to look at or click on if nothing seems more important than the rest?
Visually confusing and cluttered websites are usually discarded as cheap or unprofessional.
As in, it can be absolutely beautiful, and still be cluttered and feel unprofessional.
So, if your site feels unprofessional, what sort of clients or customers does that attract?
Website Clutter, it’s absolutely that bad.
Without getting too technical, if you’re using WordPress there are a couple of ways to quickly cut down on some of the bloat. This alone won’t make your site super fast or super efficient, but it WILL improve on what you have already enough that you may begin to see results (and feel inspired to fix the rest).
Here’s the quick step by step;
1. Make sure all images are necessary, the right size, and have been run through Smush it (http://imgopt.com/ or the WPSmush.it plugin). By ‘right size’ I mean re-sized to be the exact height and width your theme calls for, rather than scaling it through code.
2. Go through your list of plugins and delete any that you aren’t using, don’t need any more, or whose features can be handled elsewhere. (For example, check this page out for embedding that WordPress handles automatically)
3. Have a look at your sidebar and footer widgets, decide which are the most important (keep under 3 for the best rule of thumb) and remove the rest. If nervous, park your widgets to the side for later.
BONUS: Make sure your menus make sense. Don’t be afraid of sub menus, but if it’s getting beyond two levels deep, make sure its serving your visitor. Name each item something obvious and appropriate.
Easy peasy, and the return on your time is huge. If you want specifics on how much faster your site is, test it on http://gtmetrix.com before you make any changes and then again afterwards.
Whole process shouldn’t take more than an hour.
Hop to it.