I’ll make you a deal. We’ll take a tour of your website - I behind my screen and you behind yours. Together, we’ll stop and observe a few pages of your company website, make observations, analyse and draw up some conclusions. If by the end of our tour, your website is as good as the visitors like them, contact me - it’s always nice to have a great website example to show to others.
If however, there’s a room for improvement on your website, well, you owe me some repair work. So, are you ready? Let’s see if your company website is good enough for the users.
How to Evaluate Your Website
When evaluating your website it’s important to take into account four things:
1. Aesthetics: How good looking is your website?
2. Content and readability: What do you have to offer, content-wise, and can it be easily understood?
3. Usability: Prettiness aside, can your visitors easily navigate through your website?
4. Search Engine Optimisation: How good is your SEO strategy?
These four elements are the basis of any successful website. And you need all four elements if you want to see your visitors converting into customers. After all, that’s our goal.
Think about it, a great looking website, buried on the nth page of a search engine, is of no use to you, since no prospective client gets to see what you have to offer. The same holds true for usability and content. Poorly executed content and a website that is not user friendly will drive away your website visitors.
Now that we are on the same page, let’s dive into details.
1. The Power of Great Design
Never underestimate the power of a great design. Running the risk of sounding superficial, humans are attracted to beautiful things. Luckily there’s research to support our claim. Websites, as the modern version of a business card, show visitors what you as a company have to offer. I’m going on a limb here, but I imagine you want to appeal to your target audience and attract as many visitors as possible to your website in hopes of turning them to customers. Here’s where aesthetics plays an important role.
Let’s Test Your Homepage and/or Landing Page
Homepage and landing pages are usually the first interaction your potential clients have with your company. In a nutshell, these pages serve to welcome a visitor and help them navigate the website. If the first impression the visitor has of your company website is anything but positive, there’s a high chance they’ll leave the website and consult your competition. In order to be sure that your homepage and landing pages won’t drive away potential customers, here are some questions you need to ask yourself.
First question: Does your homepage or landing page portray your brand well?
Besides sending a message, your homepage and landing pages need to speak volumes of your brand. For example, make sure that the colours on your homepage reflect the colours of your brand. It’s important that your homepage and landing page demonstrate your brand values. Remember, you need to wow your audience and leave a long-lasting impression.
Tip: Be subtle, but effective.
Second question: Is your homepage clean and organised?
Every page, not just homepage and landing page, should be well organised and have a clean design. Let’s say you are selling a product. It’s important that a visitor is not overwhelmed by too many elements on the page that would essentially drive away their attention from the product. Pay attention to details, but don’t overcrowd your pages unnecessarily.
Third question: Do photos and other imagery go in line with the brand and its message?
I’ll say this once, and please take this to heart - do not use stock images for your website, especially not for the homepage. The visuals on your company website should be original and reflect the key messages and values of your brand!
So how is the overall design of your website? Does it communicate the core values of the company and help evoke the essence of the company? If yes, great - you can move onto the next step. If not, maybe it’s time to consider the redesign of your website.
2. Think About What You Want to Say, and Say it Clearly
It’s often hard to put in words what your company stands for, yet be different and original. Regardless of your website goals, you should present yourself as an expert in the field. This means that you should put some thought into what you want to say and how to attract your audience.
How’re your Projects or Blog Pages doing?
There are two or three pages that are essential to the potential client. The first one is the About page. This page tells a little bit about your company, the work ethics you practice and gives the general idea to the prospective client how well they could cooperate with you. In other words, this page indicates whether your values are in line. Pay close attention to this page. After having read through the About page, a client would like to know what you can do and how you do it. That is to say, are you able to deliver.
First question: Does your website give value or is it all sales talk?
We all need a good sales pitch that will convince a potential client we are what they are looking for. But the sales pitch alone is not enough. Your website needs to bring value to the visitors. Whatever field you are in, your aim is to position yourself as an expert in the field. A well-curated content is key to achieving this. Your Projects page should not only describe the project but aim to hand over the knowledge too. Think of the ways that you could contribute to your targeted audience. Is it through blogs, tutorials, or teaching by example through the projects you’ve already done?
Second question: Does the content on your website communicate the messages of your brand?
Make sure that the content you have on your blog page is in line with the core of your brand. The content you produce should be connected to your field. Don’t steer away too much, but don’t limit yourself to a single topic. Explore and approach the different fields of business through the perspective of your company, and how your product or service could contribute to solving problems.
Third question: Is your content readable to your targeted audience?
Adjust your tone and the writing style to the audience you are trying to reach. The content should be easily understood by an average visitor to your website. Your blog and project pages serve to convert the visitors into paying customers, so it is vital that the content on those pages is easily understood and appealing to the visitors. Think of it as an indirect sales pitch.
3. Your Company Website Must be User Friendly
Recently we’ve spoken about the importance of having a user-friendly website. We’ve listed four mistakes that you should not make on your website. So go and check it out. In the meantime, let’s see if your website is indeed user friendly.
First question: Objectively speaking, is your website easy to use?
To check this, ask someone who has never visited your website and knows very little of your company to learn about what your company does. Ask them what were the problems they encountered. What were the navigational issues, if any, and so on. Their feedback should serve you as a guiding light and help you create a user-friendly website.
Second question: Are all of your links functional?
It’s not really confidence-boosting if a client attempts to access a project and a 404 Page not found greets them back. Make sure that no links are broken, and that all of them lead the visitor to the intended content.
Third question: Can a visitor easily find a ‘request a demo’ button or a newsletter sign up button?
Whatever your website goal is, make sure that a visitor can easily find the bottom of your conversion funnel - your goal. If you want users to sign up for your newsletter, make sure it is clearly visible but not too aggressive. Perhaps you give the visitors a chance to see your product/service in action before they purchase it. Great, make sure that it is placed where the user is most likely to click on it. For example, after your project description, or a sales page.
4. Please the Search Engines
We all want to be number one in Google’s eyes. No shame placed there. In order to achieve the dream, here are some pointers on what to focus on if you want to rank high on Google, we’ve spoken about earlier this year. Before you up and change your SEO strategy, let’s take a look at your website.
Can you find your website on search engines without having to dig through Google’s graveyard?
Googling your company from incognito mode and see where you stand. It’s important to know where you stand before tweaking your strategy. Are you optimising for local or international search? What are your shortcomings? How are your social media channels behaving? Take stock of where you are at and list the areas of improvement. Your goal should be to please the search engines, of course, but more importantly and this Google takes into account, you need to please the visitors.
Evaluating your company website is no easy task. You can’t be impartial, but do your best when taking stock of where you are at. Website indeed serves a business card, so how many proverbial calls are receiving? Take a moment to analyse your website analytics and see where the shortcomings are. Observe the user's path in order to discover how your users behave. Aesthetics, content, user-friendliness and SEO strategy are intervened, meaning that the absence or poor execution of one of these four elements can have consequences on the entire performance of your company website.