Putting away winter clothes and getting out summer things makes me think, yet again, that I must get rid of some. Everything I don’t wear makes it harder to find the thing I want.
It’s the same with a website: every extra page or bit of information means work for you to manage and makes the site harder for users to navigate. So an annual de-cluttering is well worth the effort. Users will find what they want more easily and your site will be more effective.
Organisations that audit their websites often find that many of their pages are never visited. Many other pages are visited by people who don’t want to be there at all. They’ve been attracted by material that isn’t central to what the site offers and by words and phrases that are not specific to the site’s purpose.
In an article called “The accidental website visitor”, the web consultant Gerry McGovern says that, far from being an asset, these users are a liability to a website. Part of the solution is to reverse the search engine optimisation: remove general terms that are only vaguely related to the site’s purpose and use specific terms that exclude the accidental visitor.
Some organisations have discarded as much as 80% of the content of their websites and seen them improve dramatically. Users get what they want more quickly and are more likely to return. The organisation becomes more efficient when calls to customer services or the office are drastically reduced.
We are about to discard a whole section of the Clarity website. If you think we’re losing useful material, do let us know. However, if it’s not what you’re looking for, you almost certainly won’t notice.