Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers through interactions and content that address the specific needs of a potential client. Your website and its landing pages are inbound marketing tools that help to convert visitors into customers. Driving traffic to your website is difficult enough in today’s noisy web environment. Keeping them there is even harder.
Why? Today’s consumers have shorter attention spans and busy lives. They seek convenience and instant gratification. When a potential client visits your website, you have about 12 seconds to attract their attention. Sadly, it’s during this 12 second window when many lose their potential customers. It’s not because the product or service was inadequate. More often than not, the culprit is website clutter.
What is website clutter?
A website is considered cluttered when it has too many page elements, and the elements distract attention from the important information on a web page. Some of these elements might include ads, navigation menus, or graphics. Typically, cluttered websites don’t have enough white space, which results in a design that is overwhelming and makes it difficult for readers to find the information they seek. Often times, the confusion caused by website clutter will cause them to abandon your site.
Why is it important to reduce website clutter?
Website clutter often affects metrics like conversion rates and bounce rates unfavorably. Let me repeat: clutter will cause visitors to abandon your site. In her blog post about white space and website design, Hubspot’s marketing blog editor, Karla Cook, asserts that “today’s website visitors are content-scanners. They scroll quickly, skim posts, and get distracted by busy layouts trying to accomplish too much.” If important calls to action are lost in a busy page or your visitor can’t find relevant information they are seeking quickly, they will exit the site. Your website clutter has just cost you money, and your conversion rate has just suffered a blow.
The good news is reducing website clutter will help increase your conversion rates. By reducing website clutter, your webpage is more aesthetically pleasing, visitors have better access to important information, and your page flow is more defined, which helps lead visitors through and to the end of your sales funnels.
How do you know if your website is cluttered?
Determining whether or not your website is cluttered can be accomplished in a few different ways. An easy method of user testing is to contact about 10 people—this could be family, friends, coworkers, professional contacts—and ask them for their honest, immediate thoughts upon entering the site.
There are options like the FiveSecondTest, which presents testers with a screenshot of your web page for five seconds, then asks them to recall details about the page. The idea behind it is: the less cluttered the page, the easier it will be for people to remember the most important details. This usability testing site offers levels of accounts ranging from free to pro.
Another tool that can be used is Chalkmark. Similar to the Five Second Test, Chalkmark shows test participants a screenshot of your web page. Before the test begins, you set typical user tasks for the screenshots, and the participants are asked to complete each task. Rather than asking questions, Chalkmark records the first click made by the test participant. Then, a heat map is generated to show you where users became distracted from the task. The site features free to enterprise level accounts.
Each of these methods is designed to not only help you determine whether or not you have site clutter, but also give you insights on where necessary changes can be made to reduce clutter.
- Prioritize. Identify your main site elements, like colors and text. Ensure that you limit the amount of colors and fonts utilized. Two to three of each should suffice. Make sure your social icons are noticeable, but don’t distract from the main page content. Look at your layout and ensure that there aren’t features like sidebars that distract from your main content. Then, determine the main message you want to get across on each page. Set page goals, and only include information and graphics necessary to help achieve those page goals.
- Organize. Make it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for with relevant drop-down menus. Keep them simple and hierarchical. Make sure your call to action links are noticeable and link to relevant pages.
- Minimize. This is the most important means of reducing clutter. The key to attracting the attention of your visitors is simplicity. Minimalism is your friend. Accentuate the main features of your page, like your calls to action and descriptions by utilizing white space. Get rid of any unnecessary graphics, audio, or ads on your webpage that don’t directly link back to the page objectives. Remove redundant links. Choose clean, simple design. Simpler designs are more aesthetically pleasing, and they are easier for mobile phones to display.
- Choose mobile responsive design. Ensure your website adjusts to different size screens. Mobile design is the future of all web based interactions. According to research on Statista.com (2017), “In 2016, 43.6 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones.” Nearly half of all website traffic comes from mobile devices. Simpler designs display more nicely on mobile than cluttered designs. Just think, if your website is cluttered on a larger desktop screen how cluttered it will appear on a teeny mobile screen. Again, minimalism is key here.
Do you need assistance cleaning up your website?