Take a deep breath, click on your website URL, stand back from the screen and ask yourself the following questions about your site. Pretend you have never seen your site before ….
- How long does it take you to work out what your website is about? (Remember, you have never seen it before)
- Is your site design clean and crisp, is it cluttered, is it too colourful/too drab? Does it work in any browser?
- How descriptive is your page title? Does it include keywords?
- If you mouseover an image, does it tell you clearly what it is with some funky keywords in the alt img tag? (Hold your mouse over the image and a little box comes up with info about that image. If it says “image374.jpg” shoot your website designer or SEO company!)
- How many keywords can you see above the fold ie without scrolling down the screen?
- Is your text easy to read, short sentences, with clear messages, or is it verbose, with long sentences that means your average reader has run out of breath and keeled over on the keyboard before reaching the end?
- Is there a single clear call to action on every page of the site that directs the user to do “something” that will achieve an objective for them and for you? For instance, complete a contact form, sign up to a newsletter, download a white paper, buy the product
- How many links on the page you are looking at are external (ie lead to other websites) and internal (lead users to other pages within your site? Are they relevant to the content that surrounds them? Do they open in a new window/tab? (Or have you just thrown someone off your own website?!)
- Does your logo link to the homepage on every page? In other words, is it easy to navigate to the homepage from anywhere in the site?
- Do you have a custom 404 page? (It can even be a funny 404.) Do you have a favicon?
Now, few of these may seem related to internet marketing but every single one is.
You can drive as many people as you want to your website with paid traffic listings, directory and search engine submissions, complex SEO strategies, Web PR, article submissions, offline marketing, white and black hat techniques, bribing all your friends and family, forcing people in the street to look at your website etc. But once they arrive, you need to be clear that it will do its job in helping to achieve their and your goals.
Be critical and assess your website from a user’s perspective. Forget the search engines for a moment because they won’t call you up with an enquiry, fill out your contact form, read your email newsletter, or buy your products. Think about the individuals who end up on your website.
Does your website work for them? Because if it doesn’t work for them, it won’t be working for you either.
What problems have you faced with your website over time? How did you find out it wasn’t working? Do you encourage your website visitors to offer feedback on the site? How do you solve problems with your website? What have you changed that has really made a difference to you? Let us know.