In 2019, your website is your online storefront, whether you’re selling products or not.

Imagine if you owned a physical store and someone came to find the floor dirty, the sales person unresponsive and the merchandise in such a jumble, you can’t find what you’re looking for.

Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

Well this is exactly how most web visitors experience poorly designed websites.

Is your website poorly designed? Here’s how to find out.

When’s the last time you gave your website a really critical look? And when I say critical, I don’t mean is it pretty enough. Because while a beautiful website is important, if other things aren’t attended to, it can drive away potential customers.

Think back to the storefront metaphor; it takes more than a pretty façade or an attractive sales rep to make money right?

Four Simple Questions Small Business Owners Should Ask

You may be thinking, “But I’m not an expert web developer!” You may be overwhelmed or intimidated by the prospect of “auditing your website.” Not to worry!

Here are four questions you should ask regularly yourself to make sure your site converts visitors into prospects and clients..

#1 – Is my website meeting my business’s needs?

Identify, or revisit, what you want your site to do for you.

The goals for your site can and likely will change as your business evolves. What you needed from your site when it was first built may be different today. Maybe not. But it’s always good to make sure the tone and messaging accurately reflects your current business goals.

When you sit down to review your site, consider if it does everything you want it to do.

  • Do you have future plans that your website will need to expand to allow for?
  • Is it generating enough business for you?
  • What do you want people to do when they come to your site?
  • What would a successful website look like for you?

#2 – Is my website attracting the right client?

Once you know what you want your site to do, you need to think of who you want it to attract. For example, are you looking for small business clients or high-level executives? Has your target audience evolved as your business has grown?

Make sure you’re VERY clear on who your ideal client is right now and make sure your content all speaks directly to them.

To build an effective website, you must know who your audience is.

If you’re serious about building your business, and you haven’t yet taken the time to do the market research for your audience, now is the time. You really need to create your ideal client avatar, understand their customer journey, and develop a brand story and brand voice.

It can be a long, rather tedious process. Trust me, I’ve just done it myself over six very intensive months of work and research, so I get it. But once you know exactly who you’re talking to and how to talk to them, all of the content creation is so much easier to do and so much more effective.

Having this step done will make you well positioned to be able to assess your current site with a keen and informed eye and empower you to effectively plan for your new site.

#3 – Is my website meeting my visitors’ needs?

Once you’ve nailed down who you’re talking to, it’s time to look at your site and see how they would go through the pages on your website.

Get into their head and walk their walk so you can speak their language.

Going through your site with your target customer in mind will help you see if there’s anything that would make them want to stop clicking or lose interest.

Ask yourself, is it easy to:

  • Navigate and find information about services, pricing and answers to any questions/obstacles?
  • Find out who you are, what makes you different, and how you’ll meet their needs?
  • Know what to do next (clear calls to action) and contact you to take next steps?

One of the best ways to know for sure if your site is meeting your visitors’ needs is to see where they are currently going and what they are currently doing on your site.

I highly recommend using Google Analytics and Heat Maps (e.g. CrazyEgg, Mouseflow and Hotjar are three popular heat map tools) to see what parts of your website are getting the most eyes.

Really, the best way to know if you’re speaking to your target audience effectively is if they’re engaged, active and interested. If they’re not, it’s time to change it up. And even if they kind of are, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth revisiting some of the content to get even more eyes on the page and through your site.

#4 – Is my website healthy under the hood?

This question is an especially important one for people who are on an existing WordPress powered website, especially if you’re planning to revamp an existing site rather than building a brand new one.

There’s a LOT to review when it comes to the health of your site, but here are a few crucial things you can and should review to make sure your site is working properly.

Backups

If you don’t have an automated backup system already in place, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Get one! Now. This is not a nice to have. This is a MUST HAVE. I typically recommend VaultPress.

Security

If there are no security plugins in place, you should consider implementing something like iThemes Security if you’re on a reliable hosting provider (e.g., something like Siteground).

If you’re on a web host with known issues or it feels more insecure (your web developer can help advise you on this), you may be better off implementing something more robust like Sucuri.

Themes

Remove any themes that are no longer used or needed, and be sure to update any outdated themes.

(IMPORTANT: Please do not do this until you do a site backup first. Which won’t be too hard because you know you need to have an automated backup system, right?)

Users

Make sure only the appropriate people have administrative capabilities on your website, and update any passwords so they are secure. I recommend Strong Password Generator if you’re looking for inspiration to choose some really secure passwords.

Plugins

Check to see if you have any deactivated plugins and delete any that are no longer needed. Also check to see if you have any outdated plugins and update them (again, make sure you have a backup first)

General

Be sure to regularly update your WordPress core software. (Again, backup first – notice a theme? BACKUP!)

What’s Next?

Once you have a good understanding of where your site is at now and where you want to go to achieve the goals and connect with the right people, then you can move onto the next step of building a great website for your business: Creating a Plan.

Get the Guide

If you’re looking for guidance on how to plan your business website, be sure to download a copy of the Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Next Website.

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