The Start of a new year is always a good time to look at your busines plans and priorities, it is also a good time to check that your website is ready to be used as a tool to help you meet your aims in the coming year. There are several things you want to look at and evaluate to figure out if your website is up to scratch.
Make Mobile a Priority
Is you website mobile friendly, does the mobile functionality work well?
Us web folk will stress this to you time and time again, it is almost as if we have been set on an annoying loop! However statistics show that in 2016, 43.6% of all website traffic came from mobile phones (Statista)- this was up 35.1% from the previous year - this "trend" is not going anywhere and with Google rolling out Mobile First Index (click here if you are wondering what that is) – the mobile version of your website becomes even more important because it is going to be the first to be seen in search results.
Check your Branding
Look at your website home page, is it obvious what your business does and what the website is for? Is it for selling products, booking events or accommodation, providing information or advertising services? Maybe it is a combination of all or some of these.
Does it show what industry you belong to? Are you an architectural firm, A hotel, Home Improvements, Automotive? Can you tell this from the first view of your home page?
If a user can't tell within seconds of reaching a website what it is then they are likely to leave.
When searching for an example, I came across http://www.trutech.net a little investigation into where this company was based led to a quick google search "Roofing Services Modesto" I lucked out, this is basically a timeline of different aged websites, some of the examples that came up are shown below - all these companies operate in the same area...based on their website who would you be likely to choose?
What is Your Home Page Doing?
Does your home page offer users obvious clicking points that lead them to the main purpose/purposes of your website? Is it split into obvious sections. Say you are a website that sells beauty products but also provide beauty tips and news, the different sections should be clear to the user from the get go, they shouldn't have to search them out.
Aesthetics do Matter!
We are a fickle bunch...
Users do not just care about content, you can have the best content in the world for your business but if a website lacks visual appeal it will send a user running, it has even been shown that people believe better looking websites are faster even if they are not.
Ensure you are getting the credibility you deserve by making sure your website looks up to date... 2018 will see Grid Layouts continuing to be a popular choice especially with the introduction this year of CSS Grids allowing for more design options than before.... we forsee irregular grid layouts using simple styles in our crystal ball.
Does Your Colour Scheme Work?
You shouldn't have more than three or four colours across your website, and you should ensure that they match each other, if you aren't sure yourself ask people who you know what they think of your website colours.
What are Your Competitors Websites Like?
While you want your website to stand out from your competiors, you also want it to make sense within your industry. So checking your competitors websites can give you an idea of what is the industry norm, this way you can ensure that users are landing somewere they feel familiar when they visit you.
If you take a browse thorugh some of the websites available for say health food shops, you will be able to see some things that are similar to most of the websites and you can spot that ones that are different, how does this make you feel as a user?
Does Your Website Have the Correct Personality?
How do you want your website to come across? Imagine your website is one that provides information to pepal about caring for animals, a personality decision for this kind of website is important. You may want your website to be light hearted while also ensuring that people pay attention when reading important health information, you may want it to be a website for academics/practicing vetinarians and animal care givers, or you may want it to be a more genralised resource about animal health:
Fun yet informative website, seeks users who will find it useful when caring for their pet
Serious and Sober website, seeks users who are searching for advice about pet issues
Professional Animal Care Website, seeks users to read, question and share resources about different aspects of animal care and wellbeing
Does Your Website Require Ruby Slippers?
Don't let your website users get lost, try out some different scenarios of where a visitor might go on your website and see if you can find your way easily back to the home page without have to think or do to much to get there. Look at how your website is organised and answer these questions:
- Is everything in the right category?
- Are your important pages in the most obvious places?
- Are your menu titles clear?
- If your website is large does it need breadcrumbs, pathway pages or both?
- Do all links (both internal and external) clearly tell a user where they are going?
To Search Bar or Not to Search Bar?
If your website is bigger than 15-20 pages then the answer is probaly yes, approximately 50% of web users expect a search bar and go immediately to it on any website they visit.
How is Your Content?
Before looking at your website in terms of content, ensure you know who the audience for your website is - look at it from their point of view and not your own, once you do this:
- Does it speak to your audience?
- Does it use the correct tone?
- Is the content up to date?
- Is your content relevant - for example you may have a video on your page that looks great, but is it there to look good or does it have more purpose than that?
- Does your content state clearly what it is? (if you click a link that says "Go Here For Handbags" does the page you land on alert you by the heading that you have in fact landed on handbags)
- Is there too much or too little text? You don't want bloated content but you do want enough relevant content so that the page is a decent length for those pesky bots.
- Are you using headings to seperate your content?
- Are your images relevant to the rest of your content, are they all tagged and titled correctly and have they been optimised?
How did your website fair? Good, Bad or if you are still not sure ask us!
Talk to us about how we can help you have the website you need for your business, we offer a wide range of services that can help from training through to design and building