Evaluating your own website is often difficult to do, especially if you actually like your website. While it may be hard to see the forest for the trees, you can still put on your objectivity glasses and try to look at your website honestly and with the mindset of your target customer. Here are some steps you can take toward a thorough website evaluation, and then come up with reasonable solutions for any challenges you identify:
- First, have Google Analytics installed and USE THE DATA it gives you. Start by setting up your account with Google, and then installing the code. You can’t get any information without it. Collect data for at least two months. Once you have access to at least 60 days worth of data, spend some time looking at what it can do for you. You’ll not only find data like number of website visitors, but you’ll be able to see how much time was spent on each page, what the viewer’s page paths/interests were, which pages visitors landed on and left your site from, and many additional cool things that can get you thinking about ways to enhance your site.
- Look at pages on your site that have high bounce rates. This means visitors are not engaged with your content. Consider editing their content or CTAs to make them more engaging. They are experiencing slow traffic for a reason, yet they may be an important part of your site. Don’t be afraid to try a few new approaches to see if you can better engage these visitors. You can always change them if they don’t produce results.
- Website audit tools can help you discover things that hurt your website’s performance, like slow-loading pages, broken links, misspellings, accessibility issues, high-level language and sentence structures that can put off average readers, or poor mobile display. If you don’t have mobile devices to check how your website is appearing on them, use online tools to check them. (Try either BrowserShots or this tool by Matt Kersley.) For a full website audit, Moz has a great tool (a paid subscription is required), and also offers this terrific checklist of important website items to monitor. Find out what’s not up to par, and either fix it or contact a web developer to help you.
- Utilize a sample group. Find five people who have never seen your website before and give them a list of 10 things that should be relatively easy to find on your website. For example, that list might include documents to download, specific pieces of information, a specific blog post, etc. Ask these people to provide feedback on their experience. Were these things easy to find? Was the navigation intuitive? Did it take more or less time to find them than anticipated? If possible, have them do this while you are present. Listen to everything they say as they navigate your website, but do not comment or explain. Make notes of things you may want to consider changing based on this small visitor study. A $10 Starbucks gift card is usually enough to thank them for their time, and that $50 investment could prove extremely insightful.
- Be sure to look at your competitors’ websites to compare how you stack up with regard to design and navigation. Make changes to stand out in your field.
If interested, we can perform a website audit of your site for a nominal fee. Just get in touch to start the process.