Minimalist Marketing: 16 Tips for Website + Blog Simplicity

3243202646_b8f51ab772_bEvery day, I visit dozens and dozens of websites. And I run the gamut from great design to crap. But what I find the most frustrating about many of the sites I visit is the pure chaos that ensues when I get there. By this I mean there is so much happening on that page, that I am not sure what to do or where to go when I get there. In other words, there is too much clutter.

Now, full disclosure here. I am NOT a web designer – I rely on my design team to execute my vision. Like any vendor, there are those who are good at what they do, and there are those who are not. And there are probably lots of schools of thought here, and I welcome discussion on the subject.

As part of my exercise in studying and appreciating minimalist marketing, I want to have a conversation about what I, as a typical consumer, feel is necessary when visiting a website – and the value of applying minimalist principles to this part of your marketing arsenal.

The lens I want you to view this exercise through it NOT that you dig your own site design, but that your TARGET MARKET is able to navigate and take the intended actions you want them to. We often don’t test and see how our customers are actually going to use our site, and if they find it cluttered and complicated.

Here is my suggested list (add more in comments please) of things to think about when it comes to keeping your web presence not only simple and minimalist, but effective:

  1. Don’t clutter up each blog post with a ton of images, videos, and other graphics. Keep it simple for the RSS readers. There is a reason it is called really simple syndication…
  2. Is the description of what you do to serve and help people clear and simple?
  3. And is that description easy to find?
  4. Is your call-to-action easy to find, and is it easy to take action?
  5. Do you have way too many advertisements? Earning money from web ads is cool, but don’t let the layout and design of your paid ads distract from true purpose of your website.
  6. Do you have too many widgets, plug-ins, and other whatzits that are distracting visitors from the true mission of the site? Use only those that advance your goals…
  7. Are your blog categories, tags, topics simple and organized? Or are they a complete mess, where half of your posts are “uncategorized?”
  8. When you incorporate video, are your videos a distraction? Or are they an important supplement to the message you are trying to deliver? Think carefully before inserting a video and determine whether it helps make the point you are trying to make. Don’t add video just because it is cool…
  9. Same goes for audio and podcasts…
  10. Is it easy to find the RSS subscribe button?
  11. We all love bells and whistles, flash, and fancy schmancy graphics. But are they really necessary?
  12. Does your navigation bar make it easy for visitors to find what they need?
  13. If you incorporate e-commerce in your site, is your process simple, clean, and easy to execute?
  14. Do you use email forms? Do they ask for more information than is necessary? Keep those simple and easy to complete, and only ask for the essential data you need.
  15. You are wise to have a professional design your site. But don’t let them build you an overly complicated design full of clutter. Simple can be beautiful. And remember, the #1 website on the planet has less than 40 words on it…
  16. Less focus on bells and whistles, and more focus on SEO and keywords will serve you well…

What do you think? Am I off base here? Am I missing anything?

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[photo by _marmota]

  • Todd Youngblood

    Was just skimming this post since it felt kind of basic, then #4 hit me right between the eyes. OUCH! I’ll say, “Basic.” The call to action is about as fundamental as you can get, but nowhere to found on my own web site. …or does the “Contact Us” page count? (NOT!)

  • Todd Schnick

    Yeah, I am working to improve mine too. In fact, this is something we should ALWAYS be examining and seeking to improve and make better. This, is a never ending process… And as always, thanks for stopping by Todd.

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  • http://www/ Alicia Arenas (@AliciaSanera)

    Great post Todd! Thank you for tips. My site is ready for a content overhaul. I have lots to do!