When I logged into my account this morning I literally couldn't believe my eyes. Not only have I not posted anything new for almost a week, which is usually sinful according to my schedule but I felt like I didn't do anything to deserve the traffic spike that I saw on my traffic report which showed me double the amount of page views as the day before.
So what happened?
I changed my blog template and threw out a bunch of widgets and sidebar information that I didn't need. Which simply shows you that
Less is more.
Removing all your unused widgets and code that you don't need can actually have a dramatic affect on the number of page views and traffic that is being sent to your site. Have a look at the before and after of my blog.
I must admit, my previous blog was a bit cluttered, but it had a homely feeling to it, but it probably wasn't doing much for my SEO. I removed a few social plugins, some old ads, a email opt in form that wasn't doing anything and an ALEXA website counter that I placed in for fun and a followers badge from blogger which seems to be no longer used.
Decluttering your code and widgets can actually do a few things that will improve your website.
1. Improve site speed - this is a huge factor in SEO in determining how "worthy" your site is, and the less code and clutter you have the faster your page will load. Websites with faster page loads are priorities in Google since they are less likely to send users away frustrated.
2. Improve user experience - we all love walking into a clean new home, not a cluttered mess. Your website should follow this rule. Having more call to actions on the side is actually not going to inspire any more action, it's going to confuse your users resulting in less then optimal engagement and they are less likely to do what you want them to do. You should think about having no more then 2-3 call to actions per page.
Is it time for a website clean up?
If you're like me, it might have been months and years since you last touched the design of your website and a lot of the plugins and widgets you've added may have not been used by any of your visitors and therefore should be removed. The golden rule is if no one is using it you should take it out. I'd like to refer to the design principles of Apple (yes I'm a fangirl) that the best designs is one where everything that can be taken out is taken out.
Having less options and Call to Actions means you're customers have a better sense of purpose on your website because they are there to do one thing, not a million.
Let me know in the comments box below if you have some things you can remove from your website that's not working or being used? I'm always interested to find out what others are experiencing on their websites :)