Seven Tips to Becoming a DIY Website Analyst – A Think-n-Drink
Eveyone has a website, but not everyone is a website analyst. By budget necessity, there are a lot of Do it Yourself website analysts. The 3.4 million blog posts (like this one) on various website topics speak to that. Unless you’re in the business of digital marketing or web development, sometimes it’s not obvious if it’s actually working. “Working” means different things to different people, but in our office, we have a quick-guide on how we look at websites to determine talking points for improvement. It’s a simple list of seven vital considerations…
It’s gotta look cool and modern right? I suppose, if that’s your brand. Does it pass the first impression test? Does it say something immediately about your values, mission and personality? After that, think about how the design compliments your content. Is the aesthetic focus on the right place? That’s often called clutter or confusion. Neither of which is good, and both of which will make your audience jump off your site quicker than a political flip-flop.
Does it work? Contact forms have to send, links must go to the right place and Twitter feeds can’t be blank. This is an easy one at first, but how many old pages does your site have? Are those links still good? Maybe it’s time to promise your 10 year old a trip to the zoo if he goes through your site and clicks on everything. Google doesn’t like broken links much, and neither do your readers. Also, check on page load speed and mobile functionality. Guaranteed, people are looking at your site with a tablet and smartphone more than you think.
3. User Experience
This one is much more subjective. There are a lot of wealthy website analysts out there who specialize in this. After you take your boy to the zoo, buy the spouse a night out and ask them to test their experience throughout the page. Where do they click? Is it where you want them to?
- Is the navigation through the site obvious?
- Is the content layout organized in an obvious way?
- Are the important actions of the site in focus?
- Is there an ideal path you want people to take through your site?
- If you don’t know, make one.
- Are you considering content for users with different intent (searchers vs. returnees)?
- Is functionality not just working, but extremely easy to use?
- Are there as few fields as possible on your submission forms? (please say “Yes”)
4. Content and Goals
What’s the point of the site? It should be obvious. Don’t make people wander around the site before they find your awesome $37.99 glow-in-the-dark cat mittens. The text needs to be concise, related to the important action on each page and keyword-rich. The images should be value-added and high quality (unless the brand states otherwise). When I look at a site, this is of utmost importance because the goal of your website should be immediate and supported by what I’m seeing.
5. SEO and Analytics
Again, there are a number of wealthy, smart SEO people out there who can analyze your website all day long at $200/hour. And they will if you let them. Unfortunately, you probably don’t have a family member that can help here. Just use Google Adwords to find a good set of keywords that people are using to find products like yours and insert it into the Page title, URL and copy of your site. Start there. Do better by creating great content on a blog and promoting it. Do best by hiring a digital agency who is smart, affordable and can help you grow traffic organically, without the tricks and gimmicks that Google hates.
Finally, install Google Analytics and get the real data. It’s free. It’s also easy to understand with our simple e-book!
This is easy. Call back the restaurant and call back your spouse. Tell him/her to go through your site on a smartphone. If they’re pinching and poking and cursing, call a web design agency. If they’re excited enough to buy another set of glow-in-the-dark cat mittens, you can skip to the next section. Otherwise:
- Check your font size and buttons. Are they too small?
- Is the site content aligned well enough to be found?
- Is the contact info obvious?
- Is the site navigation easy to read and click?
- Are forms fillable?
- Are page load speeds ok?
- Is the design intact on all the pages?
Remember tablets are mobile too. Those hover items on your site don’t work on a tablet without a floating cursor.
7. Digital Community
Sometimes this doesn’t matter, but for people who suggest I “Follow them on Facebook” or “Sign up for my newsletter,” I want to know why. Seriously, I need a value statement here people. Is the site set up to engage visitors? Is the blog written in a way that talk to a user? I always like Social feeds that are easy on the eyes and give me a sense of the business’ community. If the blog has no comments, that’s ok, but don’t suggest I comment when I’m not likely to get a response from another reader or the author. Just turn it off and make the blog cleaner and easier to use.
We held our monthly Think-n-Drink about this topic and the presentation that details these points is below. In the Chicago area? You can come have a glass of wine yourself on the first Tuesday of every month.
Are you thinking about a redesign? Want us to analyze your site? Contact us or see our website services for more information!