Mid-Winter Website Cleaning

You don’t need to overhaul your website to spruce it up a bit.  Here are three ideas, some of which might surprise you.

1. Remove those Share buttons

So sad, no shares
So sad, no shares.

It was only 5 years ago when canned social share buttons were considered a must have on every possible website page.   Privacy Policy?  People will definitely share it on Facebook.  Same goes for the board of directors page.  Share! Share! Share!  Your organization’s reach will be impossibly far.  As the years went by, the reality set in – people don’t share these types of pages. What’s worse, your organization has been effectively marketing at best for Facebook and Twitter and, at worst for Google+ or any number of now gone or flailing social networks.

This isn’t to say that encouraging people to share should never be done, because there are definitely ways it can be done effectively.  The Climate Reality Project’s use of social sharing is one of my favorites (Full disclosure: they are a client but we did not develop their website). However, those generic like/tweet buttons you see at the top or bottom of every page with no compelling call to action?  They probably aren’t helping organizations that use them.  This post sums up the move away from social media buttons well in case you aren’t convinced .  Smashing Magazine’s experience will probably surprise you too.

2.  Remove the Carousel…really

nd-feature-click-throughBig homepage carousels are so common that they must work, right? Right?! Actually no.  A study at Notre Dame which they later repeated demonstrated convincingly that the ubiquitous carousel is basically useless for any image/call-to-action not in the first spot.  Only 1% of those who visited their site actually clicked on any of the carousel slides.  Of those who clicked, almost 90% clicked on the first slide.   The results vary slightly by intent of the site, but the primary take-away is clear – a carousel will provide little benefit to your organization.    Here’s some more reading on the topic with varying levels of snarkiness:

3. Audit Your Content

Add the word “audit” to anything and you might as well add “miserable” too.  But audits are an important part of keeping your website fresh, relevant to your visitors, and SEO friendly.  So take time to run through your content, see what works and doesn’t work for the personas who visit your site(s), look for patterns, and then create a plan for pruning or adjusting you content.  You’ll be amazed at what you find.

For those of you with Drupal sites, also pay attention to Content Type customizations that you don’t use anymore or never used (e.g., fields that you always leave empty). You may find ways to simplify or improve your content authoring experience and possibly even page performance.