When you start optimizing a website, it’s relatively easy in terms of what needs fixing. You figure out what’s not working, then form a hypothesis on how to fix it, test it, and launch an improved version.
After some time, when you’ve done it enough times, all the low-hanging fruit is consumed. You start working on more complex things: user flow, personalization, automation etc.
Then you come to a point when you realize that removing elements can be as important and impactful as adding/changing them.
If you’ve come to this realization earlier in the process, good for you! People usually come to this conclusion later on. Some never do.
It’s easier to add a new thing and get a feeling of accomplishment.
Removing is counterintuitive. And not easy to do because you get attached to things. Especially to things that you put a lot of effort into.
Try this when you work on improving your website:
For each idea or test that changes or adds an element to your website or process, have one that removes an element. See how it works out for you.
When you see that it’s as effective as adding, you’ll realize that you have a lot more options for improvement.
PS. The comic strip above is from 2001. From 18 years (!!!) ago. In internet years it’s like a manuscript from Middle Ages. Yet, it might as well be drawn today.