September 30, 2014

Declutter Your Website

Whether the goal is a lead, a product sale, a coupon download or a newsletter sign up, each page of your website should fulfill that purpose.

Focusing on the Purpose of Your Website

If you don’t know the primary goal of your website or you have a variety of goals, objectives and ideals for your website than you may be suffering from what I like to call, “MPNS” or “Multi-Purpose No Success” syndrome.

Every website needs a single purpose and each page of the site must then reflect that purpose. When you go to Google you can see that the primary purpose of that site is to “Search”. When you go to Twitter you can see that the primary purpose is to “See what people are saying about ….” Even when you go to PapaJohns.com you can see that the primary purpose of the site is to get you to order a pizza online, not to call the local Papa John’s pizza restaurant.

Whether you have one user or 1 million visitors to your site, your site needs a purpose. Ecommerce sites are meant to sell a product which means the Buy Now button, Toll-free Order Line and the Free Shipping offer should be highlighted on every page of the website.

Even sites that don’t sell a product must have a specific call to action on every page of the website. A services business needs the phone number and contact form to be emphasized on every page of its site. Even the contact us page needs a call to action.

It’s popular today to overwhelm yourself or your site with the latest social media must-have buttons or the most up-to-date video technology. But if you haven’t identified the single greatest purpose of your website, these items could simply confuse the potential customer or visitor. Even high quality pictures of your product are only good if they include a call to action.

Make Your Website Searchable
One of the main reasons for emphasizing a single purpose across each individual page of your website is the fact that a search engine looks at your website as a group of pages. Search engines don’t rank sites in search results, they rank pages in search results. You may hope that every new customer goes to your homepage first but that is not usually the case.

A great example of this is a children’s DVD site I manage whose most popular page (based on most unique visitors) is the free coloring pictures download page. Luckily, each coloring picture also has a special offer next to it which sells the products and now the non-revenue generating coloring picture pages help sell a lot of DVDs.

The point is this: It’s often the simplest things in business that have the greatest impact on your success. Take a minute and walk through your site and look at your analytics to make sure every page of your website is taking advantage of emphasizing the purpose of your business, and that it’s helping guide your site and business to success. And if you have a friend that suffers from MPNS please send them this article.

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Chris Finken About the Author: Chris Finken is co-founder of OrangeSoda, a leading search engine marketing company for small businesses, and is personally an active web marketer. In addition to lead generation, affiliate marketing and ecommerce sites, Chris is a big fan of hamburgers and shares his passion on his burger blog, Burger Voice.

23 Comments ▼

Chris Finken


Chris Finken

23 Reactions

  1. While it may sound easy to come up with the one over-arching goal, many people struggle when it comes time to determine just one. It can be painful to say that a contact form submission is more valuable than a newsletter signup (or vice versa). Do you push your services or a white paper that puts someone in the sales funnel?

    However, once the site begins reflecting a singular focus, the results will come.

  2. I found this website very helpful and will be sharing it with everyone I know on Twitter who has a website..

    Thanks!

  3. Chris, I like your comment about “take a minute and walk through your site”. Is seems that some are like the shops that have all products jumbled together with no clear call to actions even if you can find what you are looking for.

    Other websites that are uncluttered remind me of the major supermarkets, with clear layuots and different calls to action such as food sampling, price specials displayed in aisles etc to ensure they maximise every opportunity to get customers to buy.

  4. Susan, That’s a great illustration of the point I was hoping to share. With a clear objective in mind (as hard as it sometimes is to identify) a simple site walk through with some notes of “issues” and the necessary fixes, most sites can realize a world of difference.

  5. “The point is this: It’s often the simplest things in business that have the greatest impact on your success.” I love that! We can correlate that to pretty much any area of business. Sometimes we just have to stop, get organized, refocus, and move forward.

    Rod Kirby

  6. Hi,

    Your site is one of my favorites seen around blog explosion. Keep up the good work.
    I wish you all the best in all years.

    With Regards,
    Karly Domonyi
    Hungary
    Aries Network

  7. Simplicity is key to any successful website or web app. The more you can simplify your website to its core purpose the better.
    If your site is too complicated, the user will have to go through too many hoops to find what they are looking for and won’t even bother trying it out.

  8. Both great and important thoughts. My favorite reminder is to KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. Before I get too caught up in adding a new feature or adding the latest social button I tell myself to KISS. The sad thing is that I have to keep reminding myself:)

  9. Chris, great reminders here. Thank you. I’m in the midst of inadvertently having to rebuild my own site (due to a server crash and a failed backup. yikes) and your points will help me recalibrate each page at this point. Appreciate the insights.

  10. Often when you have lots of stakeholders with input into the site requirements you find that the site turns into a classic ‘..and the kitchen sink’ affair.

    They often find it hard to prioritise requirements too. I find that a few enforced constraints help, e.g:

    * Pick your top 3 priorities for the site
    * Share out 8 ‘points’ between those 3 items
    * This should give a hierarchy of priorities because you can’t split 8 points equally between 3 items!
    * Some go as far assigning screen ‘real-estate’ based on the proportion of points, e.g. 5/8 of the screen for priority #1, 2/8 for #2, 1/8 for #3

  11. This is really helpful advice – I tend to want to cram everything idea onto a page hoping something will stick with the user rather than focusing on what I want them to do on the site. It seems really simple but it’s very hard to do.

  12. Chris Franken,

    Great tips. My personal blog at Lindeskog.blogspot.com has the slogan: Reason – Purpose – Self-esteem.

    I will use your post as a guideline when I am ready to work on my new site EgoSoleTrader.com

    Now I have to check out your burger site… :D

  13. Chris,
    Thank you for that reminder about making sure that a website has a “purpose.”

    If you are going to spend the time and money to put up a website, do it right!

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  14. Great information Chris. Thanks for sharing.

  15. What a well written article. I could not agree more with the two main topics here
    – It’s often the simplest things in business that have the greatest impact on your success
    – Declutter your page, to increase visitors focus and guide them to your preferred action on the site

    I have just started a few projects with online webshops and online auctions sites with a business partner, and we are working along the same philosophy – decluttering and simple ideas! We write about our thoughts on these topics on our blogg thecdd.com

  16. This is great advice! Decluttering a busy website can be very labor intensive and expensive if you pay someone else to do your web work. Going back and adding buttons (or moving them around) can also be time consuming.

    Direct mail marketers apply similar concepts to ad layouts – a call to action is essential!

    Thank you for sharing this important advice with such great specific tips. Visit any large nonprofit website and you will see an industry that understands these concepts – the “for profits” should take notice!

  17. Identifying the one single purpose of your website should serve you early on will definitely result in a website that promotes your business rather than one that just sits there and does nothing.

  18. It is unbelievable! now there is a excellent way to fix your 360 RROD I just found out last thursday. Check my link posted. If it does not work try rrod-fix-pro dot com.

  19. That`s right to remember your goals at time to time.

  20. As soon as I discovered this internet site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them. – Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch. Attributed to Tim Berners

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