What does a website review involve?


Alice

I’m doing several website reviews this week. The main brief is to find out whether each website attracts the right kind of customer, and whether the right message is being put across.

The first thing I look for is whether I understand what the main subject, niche or industry the website is representing. This may be obvious, but some businesses get so bogged down with trying to describe what their business is all about, flourishing as many jargonised words as possible in order to appear impressive, the true concept can be totally clouded and almost impossible to comprehend.

I have seen some websites that don’t even mention the actual subject, eg the word ‘marketing’ on a marketing site, within the first paragraph – in some cases not even on the front page! This is because the authors are so full of their business, they omit the keyword that matters most; it’s almost that because they have the subject in their brain, they assume the website visitors will also have it in their brains too!

The next thing I look for is what the website can offer me. Just me, an everyday, ordinary person who just happened to come across their site. This doesn’t mean banging on about how wonderful the business is, how long it has been running for, how much experience it has, bla bla bla – it’s about what the business can offer me to make my life better.

To be honest, visitors don’t give a tinker’s toot about your business, they only want what they can get out of it for themselves. Customers are notoriously selfish, self-centered and greedy, therefore you must take advantage of these traits and change the way you deliver your product or service. This means you must work out the benefits of what you are offering, and plug those in an easy-to-understand language and layout.

For example, if your business is about printing, why not work out, through marketing research, exactly what your customers want, and give it to them. Such as, offer a simple ordering system for quick and easy business cards, or for several thousand leaflets to promote a pizza bar; adapt your services to make it as easy as possible for customers to get what they want.

Then I assess the website’s call to actions. This involves how visitors respond to these three options:

1) the visitor goes further into the site to find out more (a conversion from the index page);

2) the visitor signs up to something such as a newsletter or gives their contact details for a special report or e-book (collection of data for future communications);

3) the visitor disappears (a bounce).

Of course the website owner doesn’t want the third option to happen, so how the index page is constructed should be geared towards the visitor deciding on one of the first two options. This means the main content should act like a signpost to the benefits the website is offering, how the business recognises the pain or problems the customer has, and what solutions it can provide.

The navigation should be designed so that the visitor doesn’t have to think about what to do next, he just clicks on an obvious link to find out more; and the sign up forms for the contact details need to be so compelling and accessible, combined with the necessary incentives, the visitor provides his information effortlessly, and receives his prize quickly and efficiently.

So, take a look at your website and see if it complies with these criteria, and if it doesn’t, then get in contact for a website review.

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