Are you Hoarding Words in Your Website?

When I scrape together a few minutes in the evening around writing furiously and playing the part of a Jungle Gym for my kids, I try to get a little TV in.  I hate to say it, but I’m a bit of a reality TV addict, but only certain types.  I’m a psychological kind of person and I love mental health and medicine (naturally… background in emergency medicine) and one of the shows I’m growing to love is Hoarders.

It’s one of those shows where you’re glued because you really want to know what happened to these people that made them flip a switch and start hoarding -everything-.

As I caught a repeat the other night I realized that I’ve come across some of these personality types on business, and they hoard in the same fashion when it comes to their website.

Why Hoarding?

Hoarding words on a site isn’t the same as hoarding ‘stuff’ but whether you’re filling your website with content or your home with stuff you end up with the same thing – an unmanageable mess that quickly becomes impossible to navigate.  It will come to a point that the website will start swallowing visits and conversions will drop.

Business owners most often do this because they want to expand on the message that’s there but they don’t want to let go of the content that’s currently there because they don’t want to lose the people that relate to and connect with the original message.

So they add to it, expand on it, and before long you have oversaturated pages and/or a massive number of pages (and deep pages) that create a navigational nightmare.  The more content you add, the harder it becomes to let some go because you have no idea where to start.

How to Fix the Content Hoarding Issue

If you’ve got a website that is saturated in outdated content or has a gross amount of pages that serve little purpose then it’s time for some restructuring and hard decisions.

Start From Scratch

Instead of trying to revise what you have, start over with new content.  Work with an SEO copywriter to reevaluate your business.  Do a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats), revisit benefit statements, new keywords research, etc.  Approach it like it’s a new site and be prepared to scrap everything.

Work Content In

Only after you prepare to let go of everything should you and your copywriter look at the content you have to decide if anything can or should be salvaged.  Your copywriter will have a good idea of what can and what shouldn’t be used based on their research

Split Test Your Website Copy

If you still have a lot of content that you can’t let go of then create some variations of the same page and have your copywriter prepare some different versions.  Run split testing on those pages to see which converts better with your audience.  Keep what works and scrap what doesn’t.

Manage Content Appropriately

To avoid future bloating of your content, consider how you’ll add content later.  Does it all need to go into your primary pages or would it better serve you by being shared through a blog, press/news section  or internal article directory?  Consider additional resource sections that don’t detract from your main landing pages but instead support it as optional information that people can easily navigate if they so choose.