Clutter is your enemy when it comes to website design. Flashing banners, ads crammed all over, buttons, menus, photos, etc. can start to crowd your site without your even realizing what’s happened. Too many distractions will frustrate visitors, and they’ll bounce quickly, going where they feel more comfortable. It’s impossible to convert visitors if they don’t stick around. That’s why decluttering is essential. When it comes to decluttering, you can go too far. The idea is to cut things that won’t affect the value offered by your website. After all, cutting into muscle, instead of just trimming back fat isn’t the goal. Proceed with caution and remember to measure results after making changes. The sidebar is where a good deal of website clutter lives. People stick all kinds of things here, from animated ads to random photos and strange widgets. Most of these items are completely unnecessary. It’s okay to have white space in your sidebar. Depending, you might not even need a sidebar at all. It’s something to take a hard look at. Pay attention to the above-the-fold area. It’s the portion of the page you see when first landing on the page. Visitors get their first impression of your website from it, so put your best foot forward with it. The purpose of your page, what it’s all about, needs to be clear at a glance. Anything that detracts from that messaging needs to be removed, or moved to another part of the page. Try redesigning your page backwards. That likely sounds weird, but it gets results. Start at the result you want to achieve, or the whole reason your site exists. It’s sad, but people usually come to this portion of the planning process last. By doing it “backwards,” you create a more streamlined design. Everything on your page that doesn’t support achieving your ultimate goal should be eliminated. Ads can be a nice source of relatively stable revenue. It’s hard to ditch that, but going overboard on ads can end up costing you in lower conversion rates. Google also monitors the ratio of ads to content, so beware. Some people might tell you there’s a special ratio you need to achieve, but the reality is there isn’t. You certainly don’t want more ads than content, or anywhere close to that. To a point, the fewer the ads relative to the content, the more premium your site will feel. Another key item if you use WordPress is to take an inventory of your site’s plugins. Yes, plugins are invaluable, if you’re using them. Ditch any that you’ve stopped putting to work, because they’re unnecessarily slowing things down. You might even be able to replace a few plugins you actively use with a single plugin that can perform all the same functions. If you have any plugins which aren’t coded well, those need to go for sure. Try out of all the links on your site. Some might lead to content that’s no longer around and should be taken down. This will help keep your website looking professional. Periodically, you should assess if your website needs some decluttering. It’s actually quite natural to accumulate clutter. Following these tips can help you trim back the fat as needed.