Is Your Website Working For You or Against You – How to Tell
by Ryan Benhase
Ryan Benhase, Director of Web Development
Nothing in the digital world stays the same for long, which means there’s no such thing as a “set it and forget it” website. You have to be actively involved in making sure that the design and usability of your website stays in lockstep with current standards and best practices, so that one of your greatest assets won’t turn into a costly liability. If you’re not sure whether your website is working for your or against you, below are some key questions for how to tell.
1. Is your website mobile-friendly?
The explosion of mobile Internet usage has turned the entire industry on its head, essentially forcing developers to adapt their website designs to accommodate WiFi-enabled handheld devices of all kinds. If your current website doesn’t feature a responsive, mobile-friendly design, you could be alienating a large portion of your audience.
Not only that, but ever since Google rolled out their “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update, mobile-friendliness is now one of the key factors to better search engine rankings in Google. This means that if your website design is only friendly to desktop displays, you may see a drop in your search engine rankings, which normally leads to a decrease in organic traffic.
If you’re not sure whether your website is configured for multiple devices or not, head over to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page to find out if it meets their criteria for responsive, mobile-friendly design.
2. Is your website easy to use?
As simple as this question sounds, you would be surprised how many businesses violate this fundamental principle of website design. It’s never a good idea to neglect basic best practices for the sake of trying to make your website appear flashy or cutting edge.
Your navigation menus should be easy to find (and use), and the overall layout of your website should be clean and intuitive. Stay away from cumbersome flash animations or other heavy scripts that take too long to execute, as they will slow down page load times, which typically increases bounce rates. Try to make the design visually interesting as well; nobody wants to meet a gigantic wall of text when they arrive at your web page. Strive for a good balance of images and text to keep things light and easy on the eyes.
3. Does everything on your website work?
Have you ever tried to fill out an online form or click on a link, only to be directed to a 404 (“File Not Found”) page? What about when you’re trying to make an online purchase, but the secure connection keeps timing out? Technical errors such as these can cost businesses untold amounts of money in lost revenue and missed lead generation opportunities. Most websites are going to require regular checkups to ensure that everything’s operating properly, so be sure to check all of the pages on your site for broken links, outdated plugins, form submission errors, etc.
4. Does your website have a way to capture lead information?
It’s great to have tons of visitors browsing your website every day, but it’s even better when you can turn those visitors into leads. Does your website feature any type of data collection tool to capture lead information, such as an online form? If not, this should be one of the first changes you make to your website.
Make sure that users can easily navigate to this form, and try to make it as easy as possible for them to submit their information by only asking for the essentials–name, email address and phone number (if appropriate). Also consider adding some type of tracking code to your website to help with any retargeting campaigns you may wish to run in the future.
5. Does your website copy have a professional appearance?
It’s hard to present yourself as a professional company if your website copy is riddled with typos. Whether your style is friendly and casual or ultra-formal, your website copy needs to be double-checked for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors so that you can maintain a solid level of professionalism in your communications.
6. Is your website integrated with other key elements of your digital marketing strategy?
If you’re running a promotion on Facebook, does your website “know” about it? Do you have clear tie-ins with all of your other marketing arms, such as your email list, display ads, social media accounts, etc.? Your website should demonstrate cohesiveness with all of the other elements of your digital marketing strategy, so that you won’t inadvertently send mixed signals to your prospects and customers.
In the ultra-competitive world of modern business, your website can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s never a waste of time to make sure that your online presence properly represents your brand, so use the ideas listed above to keep your website working for you instead of against you.