I often get emails from my website maintenance clients that say “Can you add this thing to my website” or “Can you put this one additional piece on my home page?” I think this comes from the fact that the “real estate” on a website is pretty limitless. You can add a lot of pages and information to your site before hitting your web host’s file size limit. So, why not add everything you can think of to it?
If you keep adding to your website, then the problem that I see most often is that the website grows out of control, and you wind up with a site that has no direction. If your site turns into a big pile of information stacked on top of more information, with no clear pathway for them to follow or no clear action that you want them to take, then people will get lost inside of your website. And, lost people are never happy people.
To avoid your website getting out of control like this, keep your site’s overall strategy in mind. Then, when you’re adding to the site or to the home page, ask yourself if the new piece or the new information directly contributes to your site’s overall mission and function. If it does, then add it. If not, then weigh its’ true importance.
For example, imagine your site’s major purpose is to give information about your subject of expertise to new prospects about your business. If you’ve just written an article, then that’s a perfect fit – so add it. If you’ve won a major award, then it’s not related to your mission, but it’s an important piece of information that could give you more credibility. But, if someone’s just asked you to include a link to their website, and that site isn’t related to your subject, then that might not be a good fit for your site.
The other half of avoiding your site becoming “out of control” is to carefully police the amount of information that you include on the site. If your site is pretty densely populated with information, then you might want to take a piece of information or an old promotion off the site before adding something new. This kind of pruning is especially important for your home page – you want enough information there to assure a visitor that they’re at the right place, but not so much that they get overwhelmed.