These days, your website is your online storefront whether you’re selling products or services or courses.
Take a moment and imagine yourself going into a retail shop. The floor is dirty, the salesperson is completely unresponsive and the merchandise is so disorganized and messy that you can’t find what you’re looking for.
It would be a pretty awful customer experience, right?
This is a good way to envision how most web visitors experience a poorly designed website.
So it’s time to do an assessment of your website to figure out where things are at, and if your website is doing what it needs to do, or if it is poorly designed.
I know this can feel overwhelming so I want to give you a framework to support you as you work through this process.
I would suggest breaking your assessment down into five areas:
- Style & Design
Does your website have a clear strategy for success? And not just is it successful for you and your business, but also is it a success for your website visitor and potential customers?
Your Website Goals
Let’s start with whether your website is currently successful for your business.
Well, what does success look like for you? How do you measure it?
In order to know the answer to that, you need to start by figuring out what your website’s purpose and goals are.
For example, some potential general goals might include:
- To increase sales (and certainly this is one that most of you will likely think of automatically)
- To establish trust
- To become an authoritative resource
- To improve engagement with existing and potential clients
- To build your brand
Or you may have more specific goals such as:
- To book a certain number of consultations
- To sell a certain number of a certain service package or product
- To grow your email list by a certain percentage
Once you’ve determined what your website goals are, then figure out how you’re going to track them in order to assess your website success in the future.
And note that the goals for your website will very likely change as your business grows and changes.
I have been a business owner for over 20 years, and the goals for my website have definitely shifted over the years.
Most recently, my primary website goal has changed from “book website development consultation calls” to “grow my email list subscribers” (which I will then nurture towards getting a WordPress Health Checkup).
That doesn’t mean that I no longer want to book consultation calls with potential custom web development clients, but it is no longer my primary goal.
Your Ideal Client
You will also need to assess whether your website is successful for prospective customers and other visitors to your website.
But in order to understand what your visitors are looking for, you need to know who you want to attract. You must get clear on who your ideal client is in order to determine who you want your website to appeal to and whether your website is attracting the right person, so that you can serve their needs effectively.
You need to know who that ideal client is because it will impact your branding, your design, your website’s copy and messaging, your imagery, and so on.
Style & Design
You should also assess your website’s style and design. This isn’t just about having a professional, high quality looking website design. it’s also about ensuring that your style and design have been implemented through the lens of your website’s goals and ideal client.
Is your website design consistent with your ideal customer? Is the style reflective of who you want to attract and appeal to?
For example, if you are a wedding or event planner who targets a luxury, high end market, your website style and design needs to reflect that.
Also consider whether your design is clean and consistent throughout your website?
Does the style align with your overall branding, including your color palette, fonts, imagery, and overall look and feel?
Is the imagery on your website supporting your content or is it competing with your content?
In a nutshell, website usability refers to whether your website is easy to use, and it incorporates a lot of the practical considerations of what goes into creating a solid, high quality website design.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting plenty of videos that will address a lot of components of usability and how you can most effectively address them on your website, but for the purposes of your initial assessment, here are some of the factors you’ll want to review:
- How easy is it to navigate your website and find information?
- Are your contact forms easy to use and is your contact information easy to locate?
- Do all of your links work?
- Is your website mobile responsive and does it work well in different browsers?
- How long does it take for your website’s pages to load? (You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights as a tool to help you in this evaluation.)
Many business owners have a tendency to jump into building a ‘pretty’ website, but at the end of the day, the reality is that clients don’t do business with you because your website is pretty.
People aren’t looking for just pretty websites.
They’re looking for someone to solve their problems.
If visitors to your website can’t find what they’re looking for, you won’t earn their business.
Another aspect of your website to review during your assessment is your content, in particular its readability and its usefulness.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Is your content valuable for your ideal customer?
- Is it relevant to your website visitor?
- Does your content support the goals of your website?
- Is your written copy presented in chunks that are easy to scan and consume? You don’t want to have huge blocks of text that overwhelm your website visitor.
- Is your content easily readable, with enough contrast, large enough and easy to read fonts?
- Do you have clear calls to action that help your visitor take the next logical step to deepen the relationship between you and your potential clients?
All of these are crucial for an effective and successful website.
Finally, is your website a success in the eyes of Google?
In other words, if you care about search engine optimization and being found in Google (and not everyone is concerned about this), you need to be tracking things like traffic to your website and how visitors are engaging with your content.
So there you go, you have a lot of work ahead of you but it is so valuable to do and I promise that if you spend the time to work through these components, any future decisions you make related to your website will be done with more confidence, ease and effectiveness.
And that will ultimately save you a ton of time, frustration and money in the long term.
Here are your next steps.
First, spend some time figuring out what your website goals are.
Then, do your ideal customer planning. It’s so easy to skip that step but I promise that doing that work will benefit your business going forward.
Finally, grab a copy of the Website Assessment Worksheet and work through the components listed there.
When you have completed all of those steps, you will have a much more clear understanding of where your website is succeeding and where it’s missing the mark.
Plus you’ll know the steps you need to take moving forward to create a website that is more effective for you and your business; your clients, prospective customers and other website visitors; and for good ol’ Google.