You were promised a KISS.
In the case of today’s topic, however, this KISS is less affectionate gesture and more “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”
Ok. Now you can pucker your lips, because the Internet is absolutely sour with in-your-face spam and busy website tactics that plague every click. Worse, the current social media climate favors the sharing of everything and anything.
Facebook has become a cesspool of artist advertising, movie and music quotes, YouTube videos, memes, and other propaganda.
I just want to talk to my friends…
Speaking of Facebook, it has officially locked its lips on WordPress via a new plugin. Released to coincide with WordPress 3.4, the new plugin ensures that all WordPress posts can be connected and shared with the social media behemoth.
Despite the new additions to the WordPress framework and despite what Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the wild internet crew would have you believe, there are many reasons to keep it simple in the world of WordPress. Here are five of them:
1. Mobile Devices are everywhere
People have access to the Internet everywhere. With WordPress (and any other site for that matter), putting too much random content on a page is dangerous.
Formatting can ruin any webpage. As the website moves from the laptop to the mobile phone to the tablet, text boxes, images, and videos become misaligned. A website with less meaningless fluff has fewer formatting issues.
Keeping a page simple and devoid of the unnecessary makes it easier for someone with a mobile device to enjoy content in a “quick-hit” atmosphere. Not everyone has 10 minutes to mess with their phone display just to read some text. Not everyone has an iPad with a 9.6″ display, some people own tablets that have larger or smaller screens.
The only way to truly keep the vision the same on all platforms is with a tool called a “responsive WordPress theme”. These are relatively new themes that automatically change the page layout to maximize the space based smartly on the resolution and size of the page.
2. The Internet is noisy (information overload)
Have you ever been to a store or other location that was so noisy and busy that you had to leave? Chances are, your brain now correlates the sight of the place with a bad time. Every venture near the space triggers that negative stimulus.
People, by nature, block out negative and intense stimuli with stimuli that are more comforting. It is all about increasing their personal utility, which means maximizing each moment to elicit the best response. Whatever personal goal was to be accomplished at said location is a wash.
When too much activity is happening, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to focus on the task at hand.
The Internet is just as noisy a place. With the advent of computers, we as humans do not have the evolutionary wherewithal to deal. Unlike a busy store, where it is possible to survive in bright and loud conditions, the Internet provides an exercise not yet honed by our brains.
But your website can be that place of solace one goes to after the chaos. Your website can be the focus. Your website can be a fun center for information and a few laughs.
If a website is too busy, much like a retail store, every item on the shelves becomes a blur and the customer loses focus on what they intended to purchase or see.
To make sure that people are actually getting the content they searched for in the first place, keep that website simple!
3. Google is being Google
Google is always on the backs of those who riddle their pages with spam content.
Two years ago, they released a feature called “Caffeine” which made it so content is now shown by relevance. Throwing content on a post that has a bunch of meta tags has become more irrelevant.
“Caffeine” also benchmarks webpages to provide the ultimate user experience. This means that websites that have more things and thus take longer to load are not as likely to show up at the top of a webpage.
If your site has the most accurate and worthwhile information, it will win.
With the release of Google’s newest optimizer, Penguin, metatagged and message-spammed websites have been mostly eliminated from the top page of search bars. In this case, it is disadvantageous to put too much repetitive filler content on a page for a search hit.
In trying to optimize the search experience, Google has consistently closed the door on black-hat SEO and ensured that the effective, quick website will reign victorious over the overstuffed page.
4. A shift in content
The Internet is a place for just about anything. There are social media sites, blogs, historical databases, shops, businesses, forums, and many other helpful tools. But the public Internet usage surveys have spoken, and more people than ever are using their smartphones for news and information.
In fact, people are found to be using personal computers as a means for gaming, and using their phones as the new source of information. What this means for you as a content curator is that the mobile phone is the target to attack.
In the first bit, I spoke about the importance of simplicity due to multiple device owners. Here, the discussion is more centered on the phone as the dominant information source.
And it makes sense. If I am about with some friends and need an answer to a question, I am not going to race home to retrieve the answer. I am going to pull the smartphone out of my pocket and give Google a quick hello.
The important thing to note about smartphones is that they have small screens and thrive on simplistic design. Every apsect of an iPhone or Android-based phone is simple, with big icons and easy to access text. To make an informational page busy is to commit digital suicide in the hands of the 46% of adults who own smartphones currently. And that number will only rise!
5. Getting the point across is the ultimate goal
American Woman by the Guess Who is a song built on one chord.
Literally, the entire song is one chord.
Yet, that song saw more success than most any super-shredding progressive metal tune will ever see.
Does that make “American Woman” any less valid a song?
No, in fact it is a work with a purpose that gets its point across more directly to the end user.
American Woman arrived in 1970 and was effective then. But today, in a society built around having all the answers at the exact moment they are needed, this mentality rings louder than ever.
People want answers. People want solutions.
Making them wade through tripe to receive a yes or a no defeats the purpose of using the Internet. It defeats the purpose of a website.
KISS and make up lost customers
In a world trying to be as connected and complex as possible, sometimes the best way to stand out is to simply stay out of the pack. Being simple reduces the stresses of the Internet, provides for quick and real answers, and honestly makes it easier for you as a content creator!
Have any tips for simplicity in todays crowded Internet space?
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