Your website will either draw people in or turn them away - and you only have seconds before the user decides to stay or go. So how do you really know if your company site is good or not? Here’s a simple website evaluation checklist business owners can use to help ensure they’re getting the best return on their investment.
Is your business growing, stagnant, or shrinking?
I think we can all agree that a website is a big project. It takes a lot of strategic thinking and time to properly represent the value of your company online. There are many metrics that can tell you how your website is performing. However, there is one metric that matters most: are you getting more sales overall?
If the answer is yes, your website is probably giving people the information they need to make a positive decision about you. If the answer is no, there’s a good chance that your website is not doing anything for you or may actually be hurting you.
If you’re not growing, it’s time to re-evaluate your site. There could be many reasons why you’re not accomplishing your goals, but the website is a good start. It’s the hub of how you represent your company, products, and services to potential customers. When you dive into it, you're also diving in to your entire business strategy.
2. Competitive Analysis
Do you know what your competitors are doing online?
One way to know if your website is good or not is to evaluate your competition. Find out if they have dated or modern websites, how they represent their products, services, and culture. You should know what types of marketing strategies they use and who their target audience is. I also like to check out their number of employees, annual revenue and year founded.
Once you have that information, you can benchmark industry standards so you know if you fall above or below the line. If you haven’t done a competitive analysis, you won’t know if your website is good or bad.
3. Buyer Persona
Do you have a well-defined target audience in writing?
A successful online experience is created from the perspective of the target buyer. If you can’t clearly articulate who your target is, what they think, how they feel, and what information they need to make a decision about you, then there’s a good chance your sales messaging and website user experience is off.
4. Scannable & Simple Navigation
Is your website clean and simple?
This can be subjective, but I think most of us know when we're on a confusing cluttered mess of a website vs. one that makes you breathe a sigh of relief because the information you're looking for is so easy to find.
A few signs that your website could potentially use some simplification include:
- Multiple levels of navigation (lots of sub menus): Makes it difficult to know where to find information on your website
- Massive amounts of text on a page: Makes the page look too complicated or time consuming
- Self-centered copy: Website copy is vague about what benefits the prospect will get from doing business with you
- A large number of calls-to-action in a small area: Makes it difficult to know what to do next – too many choices
It’s usually best to get a few outside opinions regarding your website user experience. It can seem very easy to you, but it might be difficult for someone who doesn’t know you.
5. Appropriate Keywords for SEO
Do you have a list of core keywords for your company?
Our world is driven by Google search. That’s just the way it is. When we want to know something, we get answers based on what words we searched for. The key for businesses is to know which words are most relevant and searched for in your industry.
If you don’t have a list of core keywords, there’s a good chance that your website isn’t optimized for search engines, making it more difficult for you to be found by potential customers.
6. Modern & Mobile Design
Is your website poorly designed, dated or not mobile ready?
This is another checkpoint that can be subjective, but there is a way to accurately classify your own website: Get some third party reviews and spend a little time evaluating sites from a variety of companies. Once you start looking around, you’ll get a feel for what is modern and professional vs. dated, difficult and cheap looking. It’s really not that hard to tell.
Some signs of a bad website design include:
- Broken links
- Weird or misaligned graphics
- Cluttered and confusing
- Crazy, clashing colors
- Pages that take a long time to load
- Doesn’t look good on the phone
- You didn’t spend much time on it
- You got it done very inexpensively
If your website design is bad, it can actually be turning prospects away from doing business with you. Not good! I always say it’s better to NOT have a website than to have one that's bad or broken.
If your business is growing and you can answer yes to most of the questions listed above, keep doing what you’re doing. Otherwise, it’s time to get to work!