At the recent 2015 Healthcare Internet Conference in Orlando, several groups presented on content strategy. I sensed a clear theme: Slim is in. Everybody wants to cut content.

I’m taking a stand against this. Not because we’re a content-first company, but because cutting content without examining visitor goals makes no sense.

When to go minimal

I’m all for getting rid of ROT (redundant, outdated, or trivial) content. If a page duplicates information, cut it. If your information is wrong and you can’t make it accurate, it shouldn’t be on your site. If nobody is visiting a page, you may want to remove it—after first seeing if you don’t have an SEO issue that’s preventing people from accessing good information.

But you shouldn’t seek to slim down simply because it’s trendy. Most of these content reduction efforts seem to be focused on pure marketing goals that don’t take users into account at all. If you go down that path, you’ll be doing your visitors and your business a disservice.

How to approach deep content

The most popular reason for reducing content seems to be that most people don’t read all that content anyway. That’s true. Most visitors will skim and move on. But many other people—especially in health—want a significant amount of detail. If you remove the details completely, you’re saying that you don’t care about them.

Matt Hummell of Red Privet identified three types of visitors on a health care site during his presentation at the conference. Paraphrasing his work, those groups are:

  1. Fans: Referred to institution and will go without any convincing. All they want is to know how to make an appointment.
  2. Hesitaters: Referred but need to be convinced. They want to know why to choose your institution over another option.
  3. Doubters: These people need to be convinced to come to you. They want every detail possible before making a decision.

If you go minimal, you’ll get group 1 and likely lose 2 and 3.

Instead you need to create content that meets the needs of all three groups, and then present it in a way that doesn’t get in the way of group 1. Allow the doubters to drill down for details.

Understand your visitors

The key is that you need to understand what your users want before you can decide if you have too much content. We can, of course, help with that. Through user research, analytics, keyword research and more, we’ll provide insight into what people need from you, and match that with your business goals. We’ll deliver just the right amount of content—not too much and not too little.