Leonardo Da Vinci once said ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’ That’s a good place to start this discussion of how and why we recommend keeping your site pared down to the essentials where possible. Let’s face it, the web is getting very crowded, sites are competing with themselves for bells and whistles, flashing banners, and all the signs of technological overkill. Websites excel when they’re easy on the eye, allowing the content to speak for itself.
(1) Speed matters: Essential Plugins Only
Go through you plugins and ask yourself: Do i really need all these? Too many create what the geeks call ‘code bloat‘ which means there’s chaos behind the scenes, resulting in slow time, and a confused user experience too in my many cases. So just cut it down, delete some of those suckers, and what your page load speed time improve as a result. Win, win!
(2) Headlines, Content, Images, Call to Action
These are the four most important aspects of your site from a user experience. Go through every page and ensure they’re all in line with what your brand represents and, if not, make them so! Keep your keyword in your headline for SEO purposes, use LSI content which is well written and more than 400 words, choose a great image which really sings, and then hit them with a powerful ‘ACT NOW’ button which closes the deal. If you’re got more than this going on, ask yourself why?
(3) Limited Colour Palettes Appeal to the Eye
Is your website a rainbow of flashing neon? If so, tone that 70’s disco down! Beautiful design works in harmony with the eye’s natural love of minimalism and matching colour tones. Sorry if this sounds like the kind of line a bad interior designer might say but its absolutely true. Why not split test your multicoloured page against a cleaner, softer version and let the statistics speak for themselves if you’re not sure?
(4) Font Matters
What does your font say about you? Some interesting studies have been done about this, with evidence suggesting user interaction varies tremendously as a result of what font you’re using. Helvetica, for example, conveys authority as does Baskerville. In our opinion, Google fonts are a bit limited on this front so our advice is to fork out for a custom font via Fonts.com or one of the many alternatives. It’ll set your site apart like few other decisions you can make.
(5) Global Content Saturation is upon Us: Make Every Word Count
Marc Schaefer’s post on ‘Business Grow’ coined the phrase ‘Content Shock’ which is likely to become an industry standard before too long. His article made a strong economically based argument that content is reaching a point of such excess now that it will simply cease to become a profitable consideration for businesses. Now this hasn’t happened yet but we’re getting there. Our tests show that sites with 5 articles can rank as well as sites with 50 articles (on a purely SEO basis) so that’s one thing to bear in mind. Our friend Colan Scheidenhelm over at Schure Consulting adds: “Every post has to have a very specific purpose, and a unique reason to earn its place on your site. If not, get rid of it and that goes for old editorial too. Google rewards you for a lean, crawler-friendly website so there are strong technical reasons for ensuring that any content you’re showing to Google should be getting traffic. If it doesn’t, why keep it?”