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.