All too often, I see websites that just aren’t quite doing the job. Regardless of the industry, the business is missing a few key things that make their site go from ok to good to great.
So, how do you get your website from good to great?
The first place to start is by understanding where you are now.
That’s why we’ve got this easy to follow, 10 step process that will enable you to check whether your website does the job.
The instructions are pretty simple.
For each of the 10 areas below, score yourself (be harsh):
- 0 points - you don’t have it, you don’t know if you have it, or you think it’s not good enough
- 1 point - you’re doing an ok job, but it could be better
- 2 points - you’re doing a good or better job
We’ll tally up at the end.
Without further ado, here’s Proposition’s 10 Step 30 Minute Web Audit:
Step one: A clear, well organised home page
The home page is the first thing that many potential customers see from your business, so getting it right is important. It needs to tell a story, explain to people what you can do to help them, and make it really clear as to what action you want them to take next.
Unless you have a great reason to do something different, it also helps if your home page is single or parallax scroll. This means that the majority of the site’s content is accessible by scrolling down on the site home page. This is especially good for mobile experience - something that more and more users are doing.
What should you be looking for in a great home page?
- Your business’ logo in the top right - when it’s clicked, it links back to the top of the home page
- Easy to understand navigation
- A banner with a powerful statement and a call to action. The text should be legible over the image (white text on a light image - no thank you)
- A logical flow, or story, to the content as a user scrolls down
- Clearly divided sections - with graphics or colour
- Well positioned calls to action - an opportunity to find out more after a section on services, or read our story after a section about the business
- A form or contact us call to action at the bottom of the page
- A footer with social links and links to key content a user might want to look at after reading your home page
Check your home page against the list, and score yourself.
Step Two: Well written about us and team profiles
A well written about us section can do wonders for your business. While the rational thinker in all of us believes that every decision we make is a logical weigh-up of costs, benefits and value created, we all know that we make decisions based on feelings.
Your about us page is your opportunity to appeal to the feels your customers are having about your business.
By telling your great story, explaining why you do what you do, and writing team profiles that aren’t boring (think - this is why I get out of bed in the morning, not I went to the University of Auckland and I like golf), you give prospects an opportunity to connect with your business.
Ask the following questions:
- Is the About Us section easy and enjoyable to read?
- Does it connect people with our purpose, or does it just rattle off some facts?
- Do we take the opportunity to reinforce the story of why we started the business?
- Are there comments about our experience and ability to deliver our promises?
- If it's appropriate to have team profiles, are they engaging?
- Do they convey the personality of the team?
- Are the photographs of our people consistent with the way they appear when they’re working with clients, and consistent with our brand?
Check your About Us and Team Profiles, and score yourself. Keep a track of your cumulative score.
Step Three: Calls to action
I’ve seen plenty of great websites that have amazing design and content, but just don’t convert.
It’s often to do with a lack of Calls to Action, or CTAs.
A good website not only has a great design and story, but it tells visitors what it wants them to do next. If you don’t do this, how can you hope to convert that valuable traffic into dollars?
Here’s what you need to check for:
- That you have CTAs (it’s a pretty good place to start, right)
- The CTAs are well positioned, and they relate to the content that they’re surrounded by
- The CTAs are clear - there’s no question about what the user should do
- The design is obvious - buttons over hyperlinks, for instance
- The CTAs keep their promises - no “learn more” followed by a pop up contact form
- The CTA links all work, and end up in the right place
Score your CTA skills, and move on to step four.
Step Four: Easily Accessible Contact Information
This one is so bloody obvious, yet it’s often done really poorly.
One of the most common reasons someone visits your website directly is to contact your business, but often contact information is buried in the site somewhere.
Look at the navigation bar above this post - you can call me without even needing to navigate anywhere! It literally needs to be that easy.
Check the following things:
- Someone can contact you with no more than two clicks to email
- Email addresses and phone numbers have “mailto:” and “tel:” references, so instead of having to copy phone numbers or email addresses, users can contact you straight from their phone
- Forms are easy to use, and don’t require too much information
- Your address is easy to find and up to date
- Extra for experts: your Google My Business listing is current
Score yourself, and move on! Keep track of the cumulative score!
Step Five: Responsive Design
Responsive design is an approach to web design that makes web pages render well on a variety of devices and window/screen sizes.
The practical meaning of this: people are going to be using your website on screens that are anything from 34 inches wide to 4 inches wide. Something that looks great on a huge screen will generally look terrible on a small one, and vice versa.
This is where Responsive Design comes in. Instead of dealing in fixed measurements, it deals in percentages and logic, causing elements of your site to drop onto new lines, columns to change and become part of a scroll, and sometimes, particular pieces of content to disappear altogether.
Sites that aren’t responsive are punished by Google, as well as being a generally crappy experience for their users.
Don’t be the business that makes your customers zoom in to read the copy on your site on their phone, or that blasts them with massive text on their computer.
Here are the things to look for:
- Look at your site on your computer - do all the elements fit and make sense?
- Now, resize your browser window - does the site follow the same logical order as it did before, or are things a bit hard to understand?
- When you resize, does the content fit properly, or does it crop funny? Does text cover images, or vice versa?
- Grab your phone and follow the same process?
- Focus on usability - can a person come to my site and do what they want to do on any device?
Score yourself and double it. Responsiveness is really important! If you scored yourself 0, minus one.
Step Six: Forms and CRM
Now we’re getting into the easier ones. Less judgement - more black and white.
Every small business should have a CRM they use to manage client information - and their websites’ forms should be linked to it. This stops double handling, prevents you from missing leads, and gives you full oversight of your sales process.
This one’s going to be a bit different scoring wise:
- 0 points - your forms aren’t linked to your CRM, or you don’t have a CRM
- 1 point - your forms are linked to your CRM, but nothing else happens
- 2 points - your forms are linked to your CRM, and you have an automated process that creates a task or sends an email for follow up
Keep tallying those scores!
Step Seven: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a super powerful analytics tool for your website. The amount of information it gives you about your site and what people are doing on it is immense, but it’s no good if it’s not set up properly or it’s not there in the first place.
A well set up Google Analytics filters out internal traffic (so you don’t think you’re great because your employees look at your website all the time), has event tracking enabled, and has goals that are triggered when visitors take certain actions.
How do you do on Google Analytics?
- 0 points - you don’t have Google Analytics set up, or you never look at it
- 1 point - you have Google Analytics set up and you check it at least monthly
- 2 points - you have Google Analytics set up, check it regularly and you have at least one goal set up
Step Eight: Facebook Pixel
If you don’t have a Facebook for Business account, skip this step (also, score yourself zero!).
A Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that when installed properly fires every time someone visits your website. It’s capable of checking which pages someone was on, and what actions they took.
In other words, it’s big time snooping from the closest thing we have to big brother.
And it’s your best friend.
A correctly installed Facebook Pixel allows you to re-engage (retarget) prospects who visit your site with ads on Facebook, giving you multiple bites at the conversion apple. You can also create lookalike audiences from your pixel traffic - in other words, users who are really similar to the people visiting your site.
Even if you’re not running Facebook Ad Campaigns at the moment, having your pixel on and collecting data is free and indispensable - you’ve got a steady audience of people who’ve visited your site to throw content at on a regular basis.
- 0 points - no Facebook pixel installed, or no Facebook for Business account
- 1 point - Facebook pixel installed, but no custom audiences set up or campaigns running
- 2 points - Facebook pixel installed, set up, custom audiences running, and active campaigns (well done!)
Two more to go. How are you going?
Step Nine: Terms and Conditions
It’s important that you make it clear to your users what the terms and conditions of them using your site are. You’re also collecting their data, so you need to be transparent about what you plan to do with it, and how it impacts them.
That’s where a well crafted website terms and conditions come in. Simmonds Stewart have some great resources on website Ts and Cs.
Your Terms and Conditions should be easily accessible from your footer.
Do your Ts and Cs stack up?
- 0 points - no Ts and Cs - fix this, quick!
- 1 point - templated Ts and Cs, or Ts and Cs that you’ve not reviewed for over 18 months
- 2 points - Ts and Cs that have been crafted for your business and are regularly reviewed
Right, one more. Have you got that score ready?
Step Ten: A SSL Certificate
The last point is the most nerdy, least interesting, and possibly the most important.
SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins, and more recently is becoming the norm when securing browsing of social media sites.
Basically, they’re your ticket to authenticity on the internet. Why do you need them? So Social Media, Search Engines, and your users know that your content comes from you - not from some phishing scheme in Timbuktu that is going to steal their data, their identities, their liveliehoods and their children. Well, maybe not their children…
Anyway, SSL certificates enable the “https” at the start of your domain name, giving your users confidence your site is safe. They also are required by Google Chrome, if you don’t want your visitors being shown the scary “this site is unsafe - return to safety” message.
Why is Chrome requiring them important? Over 55% of web traffic originates from Google Chrome, so you’re causing problems for half your users if you haven’t got this sorted.
Google Search also penalises sites with no SSL certificates. So it’s pretty important to have a current one!
SSL certificates are installed on your web server - check your control panel or use this tool.
Five green ticks and you’re good. Time to score:
- 0 points - no SSL certificate (seriously, sort this out. Stop reading this post and take care of it!)
- 1 point - a current SSL certificate, but this is the first time you knew you had it
- 2 points - a current SSL certificate that you’ve taken proactive action about.
This one is important, so double your points again.
The big tally up - your points, and what to do
Zero to five points: Your site is in need of some urgent work - it’s costing you money, and you’ve got some serious issues to take care of. Get to Googling how you fix the issues you’ve identified, or better yet, ask an expert.
Five to ten points: Your site is running, but it needs to be looked at - you’re probably not converting leads like you should be, and there’s a chance you have a few issues that are costing you search traffic. Pick out the low hanging fruit, make sure you’ve got some data, and start solving your problems from there. If you’re not sure where to start, ask an expert.
Ten to fifteen points: You’re doing pretty well. Keep working on the areas you scored zero or one point, and focus on how you deliver more value to your customer. Explore some new content types or strategies, and make sure you’ve got advertising delivering traffic to your site.
Fifteen or more points: Great job. Likelihood is your site is ticking a lot of boxes, and ticking over nicely. If you’re not getting the traffic you want, you might need to look at your blogs, content and advertising strategies. Get in touch with us if you want to chat about how you can do this.
At Proposition, we’re always happy to discuss your website and marketing and help you tell your story in a way that engages your customers and gets results. Let us know you’re keen to chat, book a call, and we’ll take it from there!