Many SMB executives and owners experience nagging concerns about their business websites. In all of our work to perfect this website, did we miss something important? Does it have flaws or omissions that could cost us valuable leads? And does it promote our brand image?
In this post, we’ll walk you through a simple five-point website evaluation checklist, covering the critical areas and functions of your website. Once you check each box indicating that the fundamentals of your design, content, and marketing features are in order, you can progress to making incremental and continuous website improvements.
- Favicon: This is your brand logo or icon that appears on the left side of the page title in the web browser. This gives your website credibility and your brand cachet.
- Branding: Incorporate your branding elements, including logos, iconography, image styles, and brand color palette consistently throughout the website.
- Look and feel: The design of your website should be modern, professional, and appealing to your target audiences. It should also support the navigation and content.
- Navigation: The website’s organization should be intuitive to your audience, and reflective of the standards of your industry. Site users should quickly be able to locate the site features that matter to them, and be able to return to your homepage easily from other site pages. The simpler your navigation, the easier it is for the user.
- Responsive design: Your website should be optimized to provide a quality experience on a range of devices, including computer monitors, tablets, and smartphones.
- Images and video: Pixelation should be crisp on all displays, regardless of size. Quality images and video are essential for maximizing the time users spend on your site.
- Cornerstone content: The most important content on your site drives your audience in from search engines and entices them to stay and learn more about your industry, expertise, and business. It is the primary focus of your site and it defines the purpose of your business. Learn how to develop cornerstone content.
- Evergreen content: This type of content never grows stale. It is compelling content, designed to be found by search engines and to stay fresh without having to be updated.
- Timely content: This is up-to-the-minute content that demonstrates to visitors that your website is a source for the latest information they need.
- Video: 87% of online marketers use video content, and for good reason. It drives engagement, purchases, loyalty, and every other critical marketing metric. Learn more about why producing video content is worth your investment.
- Photos and images: Like video, photos, images, and infographics make your site visually dynamic and provide multiple ways for visitors to engage with your content.
- Editorial quality: If your site has errors in spelling or grammar, these can diminish the perception of your brand. Have a professional proofreader review your content to correct errors and optimize readability.
- SEO: Work with an SEO professional to optimize your website to be found when users enter relevant keywords and phrases. This includes developing content, using meta description and keyword tags, internal linking, and off-page SEO. Google Keyword Planner is an excellent, free tool to help you reach the right customers with the right keywords. Learn more about SEO from the Moz Beginners Guide.
- Homepage: A visitor to your home page should know within five seconds what your website is all about. Your home page should be clear, uncluttered, and tightly focused.
- Tagline: Your tagline or slogan should make your mission clear, and appear prominently on your home page and throughout your website.
- Calls to action (CTA): Every page on your website has a purpose of getting the user to take an action, whether it is to watch a video, fill out a form, or call your business. CTAs should be clear and compelling.
- Lead capture: Forms should have instructions that make sense and a flow that works for the user. You want to capture users’ data, but not at the risk of losing their interest, so forms should not be too long. Ensure test leads are coming through to your CRM.
- Blog: Blogging is essential to gaining return visitors, providing useful resources, and getting them to engage with your business and share your information with others.
- Social media: Social pages, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn should be set up with icon links to and from your website, and from your blog posts.
Though this checklist is far from comprehensive, a quarterly inspection of these items will often turn up significant issues to address. Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about best practices in website marketing for SMBs.