Website design best practice has moved on a long way from ten years ago, when the intention of every marketing department seemed to be “make my website look as impressive as possible by cramming as many links as possible on to every page, and overwhelming visitors with how comprehensive it is”. A “sidebar” of menu items which had 50 different choices, 48 of which weren’t relevant to the page in question, was seen to be a Good Thing. The situation got to the point where companies would think that – when it came to a specific campaign – they could no longer get any message acrosss clearly using the existing website page structure, and so “microsites” were born. These simple sites were designed purely to fulfil a dedicated function, such as show off the company’s expertise in a certain product area, or act as a landing page for a promotional campaign. But they allowed the over-complicated main website design to be thrown away, and be temporarily replaced with something that did a proper job.
It’s quite possible that your website is still in this sort of state. Many business websites remain little changed from ten years ago, and even if they have been redesigned in that time, the thinking may not have been. But every page on our websites should be like a page from a “microsite” – uncluttered, getting the information over to the visitor as efficiently as possible, and leading them to the action we want them to take. Is all that “furniture” around the main text and images more of a distraction than anything else? If blue widget buyers never buy red widgets, why are we listing all of our red ones down the side of the blue widget page? Do we really need to give them a link to our “legal information” in order to persuade them to request a brochure? I doubt it.