5 Ways to Declutter Your Website & Boost Site Conversions
In the minimalist art movement that emerged in the late 1950’s, artists like Frank Stella and later Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Sol DeWitt, Agnes Martin, and Robert Morris extended the abstract idea that art should have its own reality and not be an imitation of some other thing. It was a creative expression of simplicity. “What you see is what you see,” said Stella. Fast forward to the digital age and you’ll notice that this idea of simplicity – or minimalism – has reached the very websites people build to educate others and generate income. In fact, web usability expert Jakob Nielsen has said for years now that we need to design our websites for people that scan web content (those 79% of people that read content in chunks rather than every single word on the webpage). And that concept is still true to this day. As the owner of a website, it’s your job to get your message across to site visitors. However, one thing that consistently holds people back from achieving that is website clutter. That’s why today we’re going to take a look at what website clutter is, minimalism as a trend in web design, and the best way to boost conversions by decluttering your website. So, let’s get started.
What is Website Clutter?Your website is considered ‘cluttered’ when it has too many elements on the webpage for people to view at once. Although you placed these elements on your webpage to deliver information to site visitors, it actually does the opposite and distracts people’s attention from the most important information needed to convert. As a result, people get confused, overwhelmed, or frustrated and leave instead. A website that is cluttered will have too many images, animations, navigation menus, ads, and text. Plus, you’ll notice a serious lack of whitespace for your site’s content to breathe in. Not sure what we mean? Check out www.arngren.com: As you can see, there’s a lot going on here. And while there may be some really great deals, information, and much more, it’s nearly impossible to tell at first glance. And this is what you want to avoid at all costs.
Minimalism as a Web Design TrendMinimalism in web design is an underappreciated trend. But the truth is, minimalism goes beyond just ‘less is more’ and embodies an entire philosophy that if done right, appeals to site visitors and encourages them to convert. Here are some of the elements you can expect to see in minimal web design:
- Monochromatic colors such as black, grey, and white with splashes of color
- Retro and vintage designs (including images and font styles) are taking center stage
- Flat patterns and textures
- Restriction when it comes to features like links, graphics, captions, icons, and images
- Maximum use of negative space
- Large background videos or images
- Grid layouts
- Hidden global navigation
How to Declutter Your Website and Boost Conversions
1. Plan BackwardsThe best way to approach a minimal website is to plan backwards. In other words, decide what your end goal is and then design your site’s imagery and content around that end goal. Make sure to have a clear call to action before you set out to create your homepage and blog content, just like AYR has on their homepage. And remember, minimal doesn’t mean boring. You can include all those fancy elements that make your brand stand out. You just don’t want to overload people in the process, so be selective.
2. Create a Clear Linking StrategyYou should know by now that internally linking throughout your website is good for SEO. After all, the more you interlink on your website, the easier it is for search engine bots to crawl, understand, and index your website properly in relevant search results. That said, too much interlinking will backfire on your quest for higher conversion rates. Think about it. If you tempt your site visitors to click on too many links during their visit, they’ll quickly find themselves falling down a rabbit hole and never retaining the information you want them to have. Worse yet, they’ll forget why they arrived on your site in the first place and could leave without having ever converted. Because of this, it’s important you create a clear linking strategy on your site. Do this by interlinking only to the most important pieces of information that will add value to your user’s visit and convince them to take action.
3. Improve ReadabilityRemember what we said above about catering to those that scan rather than read web content? Well, you need to do it if you want to boost the time spent on your website and conversions. And that means focusing on your blog’s layout and making it ideal for readers of all kinds.
WordPress and ReadabilityIf you’re using the WordPress content management system, you’re in luck. The Yoast SEO plugin has a convenient feature that will tell you your blog content’s readability score. This free plugin analyzes your content and checks for:
- Transition Words: transition words such as ‘for example,’ ‘besides that,’ and ‘more importantly’ help make your content easier to read. Plus, it makes everything flow.
- Sentence Beginnings: whether you start multiple sentences in a row with the same words. If you do, you run the risk of sounding repetitive to the reader. It’s important to vary your content to keep people’s attention and help them convert.
- Flesch Reading Ease: this is the score your content receives after Yoast analyzes it all. The best web content will have a 60-70 reading ease score. This means it’s easy for all readers to understand, without it sounding childish.
- Paragraph Length: the longer your content’s paragraphs, the higher the chances you have of boring people and causing them to abandon your website. Long paragraphs can overwhelm the senses and cause people to miss the most important parts.
- Subheading Distribution: site content that lacks subheadings is hard to read, let alone scan. Yoast will recommend you add subheadings to your text and keep the content between subheadings to about 300 words to avoid creating a wall of text.
- Passive Voice: you risk losing the power of your message when you use a lot of passive voice in your site’s content. Sentences become wordy and the structure becomes harder to understand. If you have too much passive voice, Yoast will recommend you fix that.
Readability without WordPressIf you don’t use the WordPress CMS, there are other ways to analyze your site’s content for readability. For example, you can always use the free Hemingway Editor tool. It will check your content for things like:
- Passive voice
- Phrase difficulty
- Sentence difficulty
4. Simplify Your NavigationThere’s nothing worse that giving people too many options once they arrive on your website. This is especially true if someone lands on your website unsure about what they want to check out. This is where having a simple, uncluttered navigation menu helps. Not only does a streamlined navigation menu make your web design seem clean and modern, it makes exploring what you have to offer a cinch. Take for instance Intersection, a marketing agency that uses one large background image and a simple menu to encourage people to learn more about its company, view its best work, and even get in touch.
5. Find Your PurposeIt’s easy to get swept up in wanting to give your site visitors everything when they come to your website. Especially when it seems as though the competition is doing just that. But the truth is, giving your site visitors too much to think about at once is not very effective if you’re trying to increase conversions. Instead, find your purpose and stick with it. For example, decide whether you want to sell, educate, or engage your site visitors. Purposefully designing an uncluttered website with your purpose in mind will give people the impression that you know what your brand is about. It will also help guide people through your sales funnel if you’re an eCommerce site or help people find your best content and make them want to subscribe so they never miss a thing.
Final ThoughtsAnd there you have it! You now have 5 actionable ways to beat the clutter and give your site visitors the best user experience possible. When it comes to web design, less is more, but only if there’s a purpose behind it. You can’t just throw up a few design elements and hope to keep people engaged and wanting more. Instead, you have to take a proactive approach to your minimal web design and carefully think through every step a potential site visitor will follow starting from the minute they arrive on your website. If you’re in need of some website de-cluttering, get in touch with us here at Revealize. No matter the niche or industry you’re in, we can help revitalize your cluttered website and turn it into a clean, minimal, and highly converting machine that beats out even the toughest of competition.