The word holds a bit of negativity and generally arouses the dreaded thought of something along the lines of ‘Oh shit, I need to clean my room!’. There are indeed times when clutter can become too much for our headspace to handle and from an outsider’s viewpoint, it is often seen as downright chaotic.
There are times when clutter can be magical. Yep, you read that correctly. Take yourself to those moments when you’re so engaged in your work, your passion, and it’s like nothing else matters; the whole world is moving at high speed, but you’re at one with your craft. Things get messy in these moments. I liken it to a painter who has paint EVERYWHERE: on the canvas, on their hands, on furniture (unintentionally of course) and it all doesn’t matter. The masterpiece comes to life and it’s all a beautiful mess.
That’s the magic.
I’m sure you can relate, even if there isn’t paint involved.
I like this kind of clutter, of things getting messy and being so involved in the moment. Moments can easily turn into longer stretches of time though, and the magical clutter takes on a different form, that of disorder, mindlessness and a general state of confusion. Maybe it’s our desk that hasn’t revealed its surface in a long time seeing as it’s covered in papers, used tea cups begging to be washed, post-it notes that once spoke of good intentions that now are lost in amongst the mess.
Maybe it’s our email inbox that’s full to the virtual brim, with hundreds of emails either needing to be actioned, filed or deleted. Maybe it’s even the number of tabs we have open at once on our internet browser (yes, I confess to this and more often than not, it’s not at all helpful).
This kind of clutter has outlived the moment of magic. It’s taken on a life form of its own and it’s actually stressful, even if we aren’t aware of it. I always like the saying, ‘Your external environment is a reflection of your state of mind’. It really rings true for me. A hectic workspace over time is just a reflection of our chaotic headspace… so many thoughts, ideas and to-do lists that occupy our minds leave little space for magic moments. Where is the focused intention? Where is the clarity?
“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.”
– Eleanor Brown
And of course clutter can so easily creep into our websites. Our beautiful website starts off fresh, concise and perfectly clear to our audience what it is we do and why we love doing it. Over time, we amend the content as our services evolve and we add new services as our direction changes. We add more pages, more paragraphs of text and so many links that it can become challenging as a viewer to know which one to click on.
All of this editing happens quite often without revising our original content. You get the picture. Old, stale content from years passed is mixed in with the new and ultimately it’s a big mess. And the unfortunate thing is, that’s what we are presenting to the world and that’s what our potential clients are reading. All our good intentions will be no match for the mixed messages rabbit holes that our audience will experience as they journey through the website warren.
Often we aren’t even aware this has happened… Because we are so close to our website and it holds so much of our soul’s mission, we become immune to its clutter. Ultimately, the bigger picture is overlooked and we’re so detail-orientated that we think it all makes sense.
So how do we transform the clutter and make our intentions clear once again? A website audit is a good place to start. Here are some of the areas to look at:
// Get crystal clear on who your audience is
If this post is all ringing true for you, it’s time to look at the bigger picture, to sit back and try to view your website from the eyes of your desired client. And if you haven’t identified who this is, or they have changed since you first started your business, get to it!
// Revisit your styling
With your desired client in mind, how does your website feel? Is your website style consistent with who you want to attract, or does it need a revamp? Are your photos not quite professional enough? Or do they feel outdated? These elements play integral parts with how your website resonates with your desired client. You may just need to make some minor tweaks, or it may be necessary to give it a complete makeover.
// Look at your website flow
Think of your website as a journey that you want people to go on. If a client lands on your homepage, where do you want them to travel to next? Make this evident by using a stylish button or a text link. Each page on your website should have a well-defined ‘where-to-next’ link or an end-point, such as an ‘enquire now’ or ‘contact me’ link to your contact page or email address. Taking the guesswork out of the equation for your audience will mean a smoother, more enjoyable ride through your content for them. It may also result in more business coming your way.
// Read through your content
Without getting too caught up in the details, read through your content. Are there sentences, paragraphs or even pages that sound repetitive? How can your message be simplified and easy to read for the reader? Don’t be afraid to use the ‘delete’ button in order to communicate with clarity. If in doubt, it can be extremely helpful getting a copywriter to have a look at it.
It’s important to remember that your website is never finished; it’s always a work-in-progress because that’s the quality of your business. Keep an eye on any clutter that starts to build up and give your website some attention every now and then to ensure it’s on-point with your desired audience. Always be clear and concise while still engaging wholeheartedly. That’s the mission, if you choose to accept.