Decluttering your website without replacing it

Yesterday I mentioned how you might get some real returns by making a small investment with an IT professional. While you’re at it, are there any changes to the site design that person (or a designer) could do which would pay for themselves quickly? As I’ve said so many times before, a website should be improved incrementally, not just ripped up and replaced every five years.

The most obvious is ensuring it displays properly on mobile devices. This is something which – although better built-in from the start – can be retrofitted to existing sites. But assuming you’ve already done that, I would suggest a cleaning-up exercise wouldn’t go amiss. Most sites are way too cluttered for modern tastes.

Two overlapping aspects of uncluttering which can easily be addressed are the footer and social media links.

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To me, on a business website, the footer exists to provide a consistent call-to-action on every page of the website. If the reader doesn’t want to respond to the call-to-action specific to that page, then this space should contain the general alternative that you want to offer the reader. It might be “call us now on this number”, “read more about our company here”, “look at our case studies here” or any number of things along those lines. What you don’t want the call-to-action to be is “read our terms and conditions” or “see our data protection policy”. Clean up the footer, and get it working for you with important items only: things you want prospects to do. Any legal and stuff-without-a-home can go at the end of the “About Us” page or somewhere like that.

That’s one exercise which you can get the web people on to. The other is to think about getting rid of the needy “publicise this page for us please!” social media links. Sure, we’d all like lots of people tweeting about us, and giving them links to do so may make it easier – but I suspect that over the years, the grand total of tweets and Facebook posts about your product pages from visitors has been close to zero.

If you want to let people know about your own Twitter feed or Facebook presence, a couple of little icons might not do any harm, but don’t let these distract from the real calls-to-action. The right place for them really is the “About Us” or “Contact” pages.

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