This is one of the questions we are asked most often by business owners.  Often we are asked to look at their website and give an opinion on what we think about it.  Now that is quite a general question and before we can even begin to make any appraisal we need answers to the following eight questions:

Initial questions:

  1. Are you happy with the look and feel of your website and your online presence in general?
  2. What is the purpose of your website? – What do you want to achieve from it?
  3. Who is the target audience for your website?
  4. Where do you want your traffic to originate from?
  5. What products or services are you selling?
  6. What actions do you want your visitors to take as a result of visiting your website?
  7. Does your website generate sales or leads for your business?
  8. If you had a high street presence and your website was your ‘shop window’, would you be happy?

We are very often surprised by the answers we get! Once we have a better understanding of the purpose, goals and objectives of the website, here is what we look for:

First Impressions Count

Has the website been designed to your target customers? – A website selling skateboards will be very different to a website selling legal services for instance.

Does your website give a good impression of your business, based on who your customer is?   We look at your website from the perspective of your visitor.  Most website’s are designed based on the likes and preferences of the business owner, which may not be the same likes and preferences as your customers and prospects.

Initial message

Will your visitors be able to understand what your business does within the first 3-6 seconds of landing on your website?  If not, new visitors will be gone in a click. Your visitors must have a clear indication what your website is about. First impressions last.

Always mention your services and the advantages of them ‘above the fold’ i.e. where visitors can read about them without having to scroll down the page.

Calls to action

In more than 80% of the website’s we are asked to look at there are few if any calls to action.  Many websites suffer from the ‘we-we’ factor – they tell you ‘we do this’, ‘we do that’, we are here’, ‘we are there’ etc. etc.  90% plus of the web content is about them!

Now brace yourselves for the bad news – your website visitors are not really that interested in you!  They want to know what you can do for them!  Even if you tell your site visitors what you can do for them, without a clear path to action they are unlikely to buy from you. 

You need to make the action you want your visitor to take – the next step in the buying process – clear and almost ‘natural’.  Calls to action could be: to buy online, call now, download this e-book, sign up for a newsletter or request a quote. The “call to action” should always be clear from your home page through to the last page. Each page in your website should have at least one call to action and the website navigation should always be arranged in a logical selling process.

Traffic source

If the website is heavily reliant on traffic from the search engines, we will check that the website is optimised correctly by looking at the on-page search engine influencers; page body text, link text, page headings, page titles etc. We will also check for structural problems and look to see that all the website’s pages have been indexed correctly in all the major search engines.

An effective website can be defined as a website that produces the goals and objectives it was designed to achieve.  If your business has changed recently your website should have been changed too, otherwise it cannot help you to achieve your present business goals and objectives.

If you are unsure about how effective your website is, why not ask wsiims for a opinion?

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