Can decluttering 97% of webpages dramatically increase your site’s performance?

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Have you ever looked for your car keys when you’re in a rush but your home is in a complete mess and they’re nowhere to be found?

It’s more than frustrating, isn’t it?

And it can be the same experience when a new visitor lands on a website that’s cluttered and hard to navigate. If your site is full of content on multiple disconnected pages, it’s hard for a visitor to get what they need, and the likely outcome is that a visitor will leave.

At Yoyo, we share interesting insights that help improve our collective knowledge and bring them to our clients’ work. And one such insight happened today about how brands can declutter their site.

In a post by Gerry McGovern, we found examples of businesses who have benefited by decluttering their site and removing the majority of their pages. Gerry found that:

  • Telenor of Norway deleted almost 90% of their pages. Conversions went up by 100%. Support requests went down by 35%.
  • The Norwegian Cancer Society removed almost 90% of their content and saw extremely positive results.
  • The US Department of Health deleted 150,000 of their 200,000 pages. Nobody noticed.
  • Columbia University of Chicago deleted 97% of their pages. Student application inquiries went up by 80%.
  • Liverpool City went from 4,000 pages to 700 on their website. Support requests went down and online reporting went up.

Those numbers are quite staggering, especially for Columbia University of Chicago: they removed 97% of their pages and application inquiries went up by 80%!

So, what should you do? Should you delete 97% of your pages?

Maybe not. We’re not saying that you should be that extreme. Instead, pausing and performing an audit and finding your worst performing pages, and then removing it from your site might be a priority that you’re overlooking.

It might sound scary too, but taking time out to perform an audit will help declutter your website so visitors can get precisely what they need when they need it (just like decluttering your home so you can get your car keys when you’re in a rush).

What’s more, it’s also an opportunity to make the content that you keep even better too.

That is, it’s a new chance to give your prize pages a spring clean. It’s good to consider:

  • Is your content the optimal length (posts that are around 2,000 words long, not just 500 because that’s what Google is liking as it suggests depth)?
  • Does it have backlinks to high-quality sources?
  • Does it contain any images, videos or audio embedded to increase dwell time on the page for a reader?
  • Is the content related to a keyword (but isn’t stuffed with them)?
  • Is the content useful to customers? Have you asked them face to face about how you might improve the content and if it’s of use to them?
  • Is there an opportunity to give visitors further gated content within a page and capture email addresses from them?

However you declutter your site, make sure that the information you decide to keep is to the point, and is easy for users to navigate to.

This means creating a well-constructed site search with a search bar that is easily discoverable, and sensitive to a range of search queries to help visitors find further related content.

In short, take time to review: what needs removing, and what needs keeping and optimising.

Whether it’s 17% or 97% of pages that need changing, do this decluttering and then you’ll help visitors find what they need in quick-time.