Who else has watched a show about hoarders and felt compelled to clean their house? I know I have. A rough definition of a hoarder is someone who collects so much stuff/junk that it negatively interferes with their life and their relationships. This also makes me think about how some web pages have so much content included that they help users abandon the site because of distracting content, slow page loads, and unclear paths to find what the user wants. How many websites have you abandoned because of virtual clutter? It may be a little overly dramatic to compare a cluttered website to a house packed with junk but hopefully you will remember the concept next time you update your website.

If you have never tested the amount of content on a webpage, then you might be a webpage hoarder.

There are several reasons why web pages collect too much content. Most web sites simply have a lot of information to share and programs to communicate. The amount of content that ends up on a page is usually the result of a talented person’s best guess or various teams demanding their specific products or programs get more exposure. No matter the reason, the data-driven solution involves A/B/n testing the amount of content.

Hoarding Test Ideas

  • Test removing content sections to increase the user’s focus on the main objective and success metric. Content here refers to any type of text, graphics, or links. The number of ad units should also be considered because 30 ads on a page does not necessarily equate to more revenue for publishers if these ads drive down page consumption.
  • Do not be afraid to test a very simplified version of a page
  • Test reducing the size of content units/sections . For example, if the right rail of the page has a large section describing another program and/or numerous links to other content, test a version that takes up half the original real estate. In the same test run these variations — full size vs. half-size vs. content section removed.

The way you position this test to teams/groups inside your organization can be important as well. If you position this as a test to “see what we can get rid of” you will likely ruffle some marketing feathers with individuals or teams that feel their content is sacred. Instead, position this as an “importance test” that will help you understand what elements are driving success and what elements are not. You may be surprised at how much your success metric can increase with this line of testing.

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