Spring Cleaning Checklist: Declutter Your Website & Boost Performance
March marks the beginning of spring; a season of new beginnings and fresh starts. The inspiring idea of a fresh start sends many of us into spring cleaning mode. Traditionally, spring cleaning is when we get out that checklist and give our homes a deep clean to get rid of the accumulated dirt, dust, and clutter from the past year. What do we get in return for all our hard work? A clean house that makes us feel better and a household that runs smoother.
This year, we are challenging you to extend your spring cleaning to the online home for your brand: your website. There are many benefits to giving your website a good spring cleaning, including better website performance and a faster website. Think of your website as a physical storefront. If it is cluttered and messy, it reflects poorly on your business. Removing that clutter will make it easier for site visitors to explore your content, follow your sales funnel and click your calls to action.
It can be hard to set aside time to work on your website. As a busy business owner, you may have rarely visited your own website since launching it. You already spent the time and effort to get your website up and running, it does what you need, and you don’t ever really have to think about it. However, frequently removing clutter from your site and checking for accuracy is imperative to boost website performance.
Your website should constantly be evolving with your business. An outdated website can harm your brand image and drive away potential customers. By regularly updating your website's design, content, and functionality, you can improve user experience, increase engagement, and ultimately drive more conversions.
We know that spring cleaning your website might be at the bottom of your to-do list, so we have put together a quick and easy checklist to help you remove clutter and improve the overall user experience on your site. Let’s start by giving your website the fresh start it needs to perform well this year.
The Essential Spring Cleaning Checklist to Declutter your Website:
Whether it is your garage, pantry, attic or office, decluttering any space will improve functionality and usability. View your website’s “cleanliness” just as you would your home. Our spring cleaning checklist will help you review your website and provide several tactics to improve the performance, usability and navigation of your site. Below are some actionable steps you can take to declutter your brand’s online home, creating a faster website and boosting website performance.
1. Clearly define the purpose of your website.
First things first. If you have never asked yourself this question or if it has been a while, start here: What is the purpose or goal of my website? Think about the purpose of your website and what you want visitors to do on your site. Is the goal of your website the same as when you launched it? Have your company’s goals changed?
Don’t stop there. It is important to not only evaluate your company’s internal goals for your website, but also the goals of its users. What are the needs and goals of your web visitors? What are they searching for and is it easy to find on your site? Thinking about the purpose of your website and what your website visitors are searching for will make it much easier to remove everything that does not serve these goals. Keeping this purpose in mind while working through the rest of our checklist will help guide all your further decisions on what to keep and what to add to your virtual trash can.
2. Give your website’s navigation bar a deep clean.
Content is important, but how users navigate around your website impacts every bit of content on the site. Spend some time navigating your site. Then, ask yourself: Is there a clear customer journey and a clear desired action you would like visitors to take when they visit? Make sure your navigation guides users to your end goal. Visit websites for a variety of brands and specifically look at their main navigation bar. How is it organized? Is it single-level or multi-level with drop downs? Would this structure work to organize your navigation differently? Your navigation bar should be simple. It should be a roadmap for users, allowing information to be found quickly and easily.
3. Use the “less is more” strategy to optimize your website.
Everyone has heard the saying “less is more” and this certainly applies to website design as well. A simple Google search will show that the latest website design trends are focused on open layouts with lots of blank or “negative” space. A clean, sleek, and simplified website design is favorable to website optimization, too. Does your website seem crowded or cluttered? How much “blank” space is on your pages? Is it clear where you want visitors to focus their attention? Are there any overwhelming design elements? Reorganizing or eliminating certain content can help visitors comfortably read everything on your site and quickly find the information they are looking for. For example, accordion tools allow content to be expanded or collapsed based on the user’s preference. This is a great way to tidy up some of your text-heavy content and create more negative space on your site.
4. Find and fix troublesome broken links to boost website performance.
Here is an easy one to cross off your spring cleaning checklist. It is very easy to check your website for broken links and even easier to fix them. You just have to click, click and click some more. Visit each page on your website and click every single actionable item on the page, even if you know for a fact that it works. Click it anyway and make sure. As a user, there is nothing more frustrating than a broken link. As a marketer, there is nothing more defeating than going through all the effort and planning of getting a user to click on your desired call to action just to leave them frustrated by a broken link and a dead end to their search.
5. Make sure your homepage is a grand entrance to your brand.
A foyer is typically the first room you enter when entering a home. These spaces are used to greet guests and welcome them into your home. Think of your homepage as the foyer of your website. It may be the first impression users have of your brand, making it a great place to focus some attention and effort on while spring cleaning. Add some fresh content and imagery, and make sure your call to action is clear and your contact information is easily accessible.
6. Replace outdated imagery.
A great way to freshen up any space is with new pictures. Review the images on your website and consider whether you could update a few with new or different pictures. Try swapping out older images with photos that feature new projects or new products. Schedule time to update headshots of your team members so users know who they will be working and interacting with. Nothing dates a website more than outdated imagery.
7. Consolidate content using video.
Remember checklist item #3 and the importance of building “negative” space into your website’s design? Well, videos are a great way to do just that. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth at least double that! Quality videos are a captivating way to tell a story and may literally save you thousands of words on your web pages. Could your process be better explained in a video? Would users love to learn about the history and story behind your brand? Investing in a video project to better explain your processes or share your brand’s story might be worth considering for a site improvement this year.
8. Embed your social media accounts to provide timely updates to your website.
Are you worried that this spring cleaning checklist will be the last time you edit or update your website all year? We know it can be hard to create new content for your website. By featuring and embedding your social media account content on your website, you will automatically get more exposure for the work you are already doing to post on social media. Featuring your social media content on your website is a great way to publish the latest updates from your company to your website without any extra work. You might even get a few new followers who are ready to engage with your brand!
9. Repurpose old content into a blog or resources tool.
By this point in the checklist, you might be in total purge mode. But, don’t be too quick to eliminate tons of content from your site. Before you hit delete, ask yourself if any of your older content could be restructured into a “blog” or “resources” element on your site. A blog is one of the best tools for organizing and archiving content on a website. It can be organized in chronological order and sorted into different categories, making it easy for visitors to browse. If you feel like the word “Blog” doesn’t fit your content, maybe try labeling it “Resources” or “News.” Reorganizing content into a resource area can also help build credibility on your site and present your team as an expert and educational resource within your industry for site visitors.
10. Take the time to visit every page on your website.
This may go without saying, but simply visiting and evaluating the purpose of every single page on your site will provide great insight. There may be pages that you haven’t visited in a long time. Do a quick grammar check and evaluate load times. If you find a page that is no longer relevant or outdated, then don’t be afraid to remove it, especially if it no longer supports the purpose of your website.
Need the help of a marketing maid to clean up your website?
If spring cleaning your website is still not for you even with this helpful checklist, you may need the support of a marketing maid. That is where our expertise can help! We know that some of the items on this checklist aren’t simple “DIYs” for most business owners. We also know that sometimes a simple cleaning can unearth a bigger problem. Whether your website is an outdated mess or you just need a little expert help reorganizing layout and content for better website performance and optimization, we can use our proven processes to help get your site squeaky clean for visitors.