A few colleagues here at Facebook put together a product called facebook lite. It launched last week to great acclaim (so well done to them) and really set me thinking about bloat on my sites (clearly pretty irrelevant sites to compare to Facebook but bear with me).
My paper airplanes site is where I have focused so far. All the site does is show you how to make 27 paper airplanes. There are video and diagram instructions and you can vote on something as your favorite plane. That’s it. Somehow I bloated this into 90 different php scripts to run the site ignoring include files and so on. No wonder I got hacked (it happened again in February and I failed to notice) and always felt sick when it came to planning to update the site.
I dug in a bit deeper since a lot of the components had a tonne of emotional value to me as every single bit of the site was built by me from scratch and really it was this site and each of those features that helped me get into being an internet marketer.
I specifically created a section to make my users view more pages using video: for each paper airplane on the site I created a second page that contained an embedded video from YouTube rather than just including the video at the top of each paper airplane. I have reversed this decision now making it better for the users even if less page views for me. At this stage with all this burying still 3000 people a day are viewing these videos, they are better than the diagrams. This is my most compelling feature and is buried.
Together these made up <10% of my page views and yet were linked from the main pages. They initiated <5% of my visits and when I dug in it was just because from time to time they got ranked for the word “paper airplanes” instead of planes.php as the second, indented result from my site. With all the link love and real estate they get on my site if they can’t do better they are gone.
On every page on my site I link to a search product from atomz. wtf?! Initially I thought I had better install Google co-op then I thought I’d look at the data first. In the last year this page was viewed a total of 1000 times. What a waste of valuable real estate. On cocktailmaking.co.uk everyone needs to search and with a similar link 30-40% of my visitors use the feature. On paper airplanes with a total of 27 pages browse is easier and when presented with the option, no one uses it. Gone.
This had 20 links to different sections to browse paper airplanes as navigation, most of these sections are now gone. Now it has one large link to browse more planes and an embedded video to start viewing the planes on the homepage itself without going any deeper. I tried replacing it with the planes index itself and decided I didn’t like how it looked. I will ab test this in the coming weeks and share the results here.
paperairplanes.co.uk does one thing and does it well: show you how to make a paper airplane. It doesn’t take 90 php scripts to do that. It takes one page for each paper airplane and a couple of navigation pages. That is it.