In 2014, Marie Kondo wrote a book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Its premise is that asking yourself a simple question about every item you own would lead to a tidier and more organized home, and could have positive personal impacts as well. That question? Does this t-shirt/plate/book/stapler spark joy? If so, the item should be kept and put in its proper place. If not, it should be thanked for its service and given away.
Since then, the “KonMari” method of tidying has taken the interior design world by storm, featured everywhere from the New York Times to Martha Stewart to Goop, and inspiring a sequel, Spark Joy, in 2016.
So…what does a minimalist home tidying method have to do with websites?
Building a house is a common metaphor used explain the website creation process: Your site map is like the rooms, wireframes are like blueprints, showing the size and arrangement of those rooms, content is like the furniture and items you place in those rooms, and design is like the paint colors and decorative accents you use to make your home feel warm, welcoming and reflective of your style.
Websites and homes actually have more in common than you might think.
If you’re like most organizations, your “website house” is NOT tidy. Perhaps there’s too much content, or not enough, or it’s scattered across multiple places on your site. Maybe it’s too hard to find. Maybe it’s dated, or no longer accurate. Perhaps it doesn’t “spark joy.”
A crucial part of any website project, whether creating a new site or maintaining an existing one, is taking a hard look at your website and conducting a content audit. This can also be the most daunting part, because it means going through each and every page and determining its purpose and evaluating its content. Where do you start when your current website has ballooned to over 200 or 300 or 400 pages, some of which you didn’t even know were there?
It’s not an easy task, but I think we can take some cues from the KonMari method to make evaluating your existing content more manageable:
Tip 1: Go from easiest to hardest.
When tidying your house, Kondo advocates starting with clothing before moving on to other groups of items with more emotional significance, like photos or letters. Similarly, when reviewing your web content, start with the easier items, such as content you know is out of date or pages that don’t get any traffic in Google Analytics before moving on to more current pages, popular pages or content important to your leadership.
Tip 2: Evaluate all like items together.
Just like you could store shoes in several different closets in your home, your website probably has similar content on several different pages. Review similar content holistically, and you may find that you’re saying the same thing three slightly different ways on six different pages. Reviewing similar pieces of content together make it easier to spot redundancies and streamline content.
Tip 3: Ask yourself if the content sparks joy.
This is where things get a little new-agey, but we’ll use the term “joy” loosely here:
- Is the content relevant to your target audience, and can it help them do what they need to do on your site?
- Does the content engage your target audience in a measurable way, which you can see by checking pageviews, time on page and bounce rate in Google Analytics?
- Does the content communicate an important message for your brand?
- Does the content convert prospects to customers?
- Do you refer to this content all the time, and send users to this page for more information when they have questions?
All of those make me pretty joyful!
If the answer to all of those questions is no, do you know why the content is on your site? Maybe it’s no longer needed.
Tip 4: Put it back in the right place.
Tip 4 is the hardest of all. A big part of my job as a UX Designer at KW2 is determining what the right place for content is, but content maintenance and organization doesn’t end at site launch. It’s not just putting the content in the right place once, it’s keeping the content maintained, up-to-date and in the right place by following a content governance plan so you don’t end up with an untidy site again in six months or a year.
Why should you tidy your website content?
There are many reasons you might want to keep your website tidy and reduce the amount of content clutter:
- Streamlining your navigation helps your users find what they need and complete the task they came to your website to do.
- It prevents user confusion or frustration and can reduce the number of calls or emails you receive with questions because it’s too difficult to find something on your site.
- Eliminating duplicate or redundant content can have positive SEO impacts and help more users find your site in the first place.
- It improves site performance and ease of use on mobile devices.
- It simplifies the path to conversion, whether that means calling you, buying an item or enrolling in a course.
Ready to feel nothing but joy when you look at your website? Shoot us a note to talk about your content challenges.