If you evaluate your website based strictly on design, it might appear just fine or even top-notch. While the design and layout of a site is essential, there are many more factors that contribute to your site than visual factors alone. Review the following three items that you should always check when reviewing your site and compare them to what you have to determine if your site is running at its full potential.
1. Conversion Optimization
In marketing, the definition of conversion is getting consumers to respond to your call-to-action. A call-to-action can consist of joining an email list, registering for an event, buying a product, or all of the above.
- Clear call-to-action button – Your call-to-action should be clear and obvious. There should be no confusion as to how to contact, buy, or register.
- Analytics – Google Analytics gives insight to sales, conversion rates, and how your site found and used. This in-turn allows you to understand how/if your call-to-action is being responded to.
- Links to social media – Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are frequently browsed by almost everyone. Does social media for your site exist? Is it up-to-date? Social media sites are a great way to gain new customers and build credibility among existing ones.
- Blogging – Blogs are high-traffic areas on a site. An engaging blog builds a community around your brand where users regularly visit your site for new postings and information. This increases your company’s worthiness and credibility.
Beneath the fancy designs of a site, there are many underlying technologies that allow it to run efficiently and effectively.
- Hosting – A proper hosting site ensures quick load times and server up-time. If users are bogged down by slow load times they may never make it to the site.
- Backups – Do you back up your site on a regular basis? Make sure you have this capability and you are doing it. This is your safety net– if something does go wrong, your site can be restored quickly.
- Compatibility – Is your site compatible for mobile users (both smart phones and tablets)?
- Clean coding – Are the correct HTML and proper headings being used?
- Tags – Are tags in your blog being used properly? If not, this can be a major navigation and SEO downfall.
- URL – Do visitors retrieve the same site with or without typing in “www”? If not, this could cause confusion and be detrimental to SEO.
A secure website is crucial, not only to your business and profits, but to your clients as well. Even if you’re not dealing with monetary transactions, it is still your responsibility to protect your client’s data, such as email addresses, names, and affiliation.
- SSL Certification – A website that begins with “https” is secure; if it begins with “http” it is not. To obtain SSL certification, your site must go through a validation process.
- Terms & Conditions – Terms & Conditions protect you legally should a dispute arise. They relay to the visitors of your site what they can expect from you and vice versa. They also simply serve as a disclaimer.
- Refund Policy – Do your products have a refund policy? It is very important that the refund policy is clear and easy to locate.
- Copyright Notice – The importance of a copyright goes without saying. Ensure you have one.
Here are a few free tools available online to quickly analyze the above factors on your site.
We suggest using one or more of these tools as a final check, after you’ve reviewed and feel you’ve made the necessary changes. Alternately, you can scan your site before making any adjustments, so as to get a solid idea of your “before” picture (and scan again later for the “after”).
While it can be tempting to believe your website is fine the way it is based off looks, intuition, and “gut” feelings, conducting a thorough review of your conversion optimization, technical aspects, and security capabilities will ensure that what’s going on behind the scenes is not fighting against what’s in the forefront.
Make sure you understand your brand and audience–and what they want. You have vast array of powerful tools and information at your disposal to ensure their needs (and yours) are being met. Use them.
HT to Logan, one of our recents interns, who did an awesome job putting together the core content for this post. Good luck in school next semester!