For many people, the start of a new year is often the time to make resolutions, to set oneself a personal goal or to change behaviour. Spring cleaning also comes to mind. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle, getting rid of unwanted stuff and decluttering are all key to a happier and more meaningful life. Exemplified by Japanese author Marie Kondo for instance whose recent best-selling book has even sparked a reality TV series for Netflix, Tidying Up is the new mantra.
Why not apply those same principles to your own website?
Photo Credit: Kevin Utting: bric-a-brac via photopin (license)
Tidy up your content
Older websites tended to be text-heavy with sometime complex drop-down menus leading to a lot of different pages. However, the advent of mobile has forced many website owners to strip-down the content for a leaner and more effective version.
- Go straight to the point with short paragraphs, clear titles and bullet points.
- Most of the relevant information should appear on the Home page.
- Prioritise a clear structure and reduce the number of pages.
Optimise your media files
Visuals are of course crucially important on a website, but always adopt a “less is more” approach. Images take up a lot of space, and too many pictures will eventually slow down your website, especially if they were not optimised.
- Avoid duplicate pictures.
- Be strategic about using sliders for instance. Do you absolutely need one, and if so, how many pictures should you include? Not all visitors have the patience to wait for the next slide.
- Beware of picture gallery overload.
Sort your social media profiles
Social media marketing can be a very time-consuming activity, and social media platforms also evolve over time. As well as that, managing too many profiles can be counter-productive too. Ask the hard questions. Do these platforms add value to your business? Do they generate valuable leads?
- Make a habit of evaluating the effectiveness of all your social media profiles.
- Always consider your website as your base from which to broadcast new content.
Re-organise your layout
In recent years, minimalism has also become a trend when it comes to website design. Modern website layouts tend to be simpler and feature plenty of white space. This is a very effective way of focusing the attention on the essential information. Once the content of a website is well structured, changing the layout is an easy task.
- Review the structure of your website or ask for a second opinion.
- There must be a clear flow of information from one section to the next.
Update your software and security
Open-source platforms like WordPress also evolve constantly over time. All the programmes that make up a website go through continual updates and revisions. These include the platform itself, the theme, the plugins which add functionality and any other tool. Many of these revisions often fix security vulnerabilities identified by the community. The required updates show up as little red dots on the WordPress dashboard.
In its latest release, WordPress 5.1 has even introduced a new feature which encourages users to update their outdated PHP version. Not keeping on top of revisions on a website will eventually pose a security risk and generate clutter. Similarly, some of the functionalities of a website will stop working if left unattended for too long.
- Log into your dashboard on a regular basis to carry out all the updates.
- Question the need for every plugin you have installed.
Treat your website like an attic space, a bedroom, a garden shed, a closet or a shelving unit. Spend time tidying it up by reviewing your content, images and layout. Keep on top of your software updates. Do away with items, functionalities or sections that no longer “spark joy”, bloat your Home page and obstruct the flow. After all, your website is your “Home”.