Picture this. I meet someone who I find has an appallingly bad website. It looks unprofessional, it’s cluttered, there’s no clear sense of purpose, the list goes on. In other words, a perfect opportunity for us as a website design studio.
We have one slight problem though. I discover that this appallingly bad website was built by the person I’m talking to. My task becomes everso slightly more difficult – to convince someone that what they’ve spent hours creating is actually, well…. rubbish.
Anyone that knows me knows that diplomacy isn’t one of my strengths (at least you know where you stand that way!) So in case that person is you, to avoid the pain, I’ve put together some pointers below against which you can analyze your current website. Hopefully it’ll help you work out whether your website is up to scratch or not. Because believe me, there are an awful lot of sites out there that are in the ‘or not’ category.
- Is it up to date? It MUST be – if you don’t want to annoy people that is.
- Is it short and snappy – broken up by well formatted headings, with lots of white space at the appropriate points?
- Is it targeted at your user? Is the language appropriate for the intended audience?
- Do you clearly state the benefits you bring to your clients, not just how many years experience you have and how many different features your product has?
- Does the content accurately reflect YOU as a business, as a person?
- How quickly can someone completely new to the site find stuff? Is it intuitive or do you have to personally point someone in the right direction?
- Is there a consistent layout across the site? There are no hard and fast rules about this, but the easier you can make it for someone, the better – don’t confuse people!
- Is there a consistent navigation menu across the site? Personally, I like to have a top level navigation menu that remains consistent right across the site.
- Can people always find their way back home easily?
Design/Look and Feel
- Does the design of the site reflect YOU? Your Company? Does it do you proud, or are you everso slightly embarrassed to give people your website address?
- Is the style right – Modern? Professional? Fun? Arty? Technical? If you turned all the words into gobbledegook, what impression would you get?
- Is it too cluttered? Are you trying to fit too much into the space available? White space is generally a good thing – give my eyes time to rest 🙂
- Fonts – what typeface are you using? Is it the right one? For example, have a look at the difference between Comic Sans, Georgia, and Verdana – they all portray a completely different image.
- Are you using images? If so, are they sending the right messages, or are they simple boring people. To give an example, a picture of a hard drive for a PC repair company – duh, I’m not really interested in what a hard drive looks like, that’s why I’m asking you to fit my computer, not doing it myself. Inspire people!
- Code – is your website standards compliant? You can check by going to validator.w3.org and typing in your website address.
- Speed – how quickly does the site take to load? Clear your browsing history and reload your website – if it takes more than a few of seconds, that’s probably too long.
- Cross Browser Performance – does your website look good in all the commonly used web browsers? Not everyone uses Internet Explorer – I use Mozilla Firefox normally, and I often review websites for clients with a completely broken page layout when it comes to anything but Explorer. You can check by going to www.browsershots.org and typing in your website address.
- Are you getting enough quality visitors? Do you know how many visitors you’re getting even? (If not, go and sign up for Google Analytics, it’s free).
- If not, is your site ranking in search engines for relevant terms, which people are actually searching for?
- If not, is your site optimised for these search terms?
- Slightly off-topic, but relevant none-the-less – are you telling people about your site, building up links, building up a social media profile to drive traffic to your site, etc?
Right, that was an extremely quick, high level run through just some of the things that run through my head when analysing a site. If you’d like more advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch. But when thinking through these things in relation to your own website, be honest with yourself – after all, if it’s not up to scratch, it’s your business that you’re letting down.