Do you truly understand the purpose of your website? It might sound a bit daft to ask this, but bear with us. Have you ever analysed whether it still delivers against its intended purpose? And when’s the last time you updated your website based on data, research or advances in technology, rather than because the boss had ‘a good idea’?
As an agency it’s our job to ask the right questions and offer a critique, because we know that it’ll be detrimental to your brand if you ignore these points. We know what the trends are, how technology is evolving and the practices you should be following.
So, to help you out, we’ve created a quick checklist of the most common mistakes we see…and how to fix them!
Your website is off-brand
No, your branding doesn’t just mean colours and logos!
Your website should have clear positioning throughout, extending to all copy and imagery. If you’ve done the groundwork on your brand this should be straightforward; ultimately your website is a channel (albeit an important one) to be aligned with the brand strategy that you’ve defined. If you don’t already have a crystal-clear understanding of your brand strategy, including brand proposition, personality, tone of voice and hierarchy of messaging, then start here first!
Your website doesn’t have the right content
Begin by taking a look at your documented user personas (don’t have those? Do some research, it’s crucial you know who your users really are). Then ask: does my website have quality content that’s right for these users? It’s easy to focus on yourself rather than your audience, so flip it round, it’s their needs that should guide the content decisions you make. Speak to your visitors, don’t let egos get in the way, and communicate a clear, easily understood message.
Your website doesn’t have a coherent structure or layout
All that great content will be lost if your website is a nightmare to navigate and the pages aren’t well-structured. Users must quickly find what they’re looking for, and once found it should make sense. Styles should be consistent, on the page and between pages; headings, fonts, buttons and images etc. should all match. And remember when considering page layouts, above the fold is old
. These days scrolling is second nature to most people, so there’s no longer a need to cram everything into the top of the page.
Your website isn’t optimised to convert
Many are failing to make the most of good web pages because they lack opportunities to convert. An absence of calls to action is a cardinal sin, however, an acute awareness of this can also cause the opposite problem. Nowadays many sites carry way too many calls to action, leaving users feeling bombarded and compromising the look and feel.
To find the right balance of #WhereBrandAndTechMeet you should examine your conversion funnel. Understand the user journey, nurture your prospects at each stage, and ensure that the corresponding calls to action are appropriate and carefully placed.
Your website looks rubbish on mobile devices
It’s 2018, most web traffic is on mobile
. Not only is poor mobile experience a huge barrier to users, you’ll also be penalised by Google, who have been taking a mobile first approach since 2015. Users should get a seamless experience no matter what device they’re on and it’s important to adapt your content to fit with their needs. A mobile visitor is likely to be more direct in their intentions, so scrutinise what content is most appropriate for your mobile view and what should be left out.
Your website isn’t using the right technologies
Still using Microsoft Silverlight? Your website is about 300 in human years. What about that snazzy Flash animation? Google Chrome is now blocking Adobe Flash Player content
and defaulting to HTML 5. How about your content management system; are you confident that it’s robust, scalable, well-supported, cost-effective and not overly reliant on plugins? As a Kentico Gold Partner we often recommend this CMS for its mix of features, performance and extensibility, but we always strive to understand your business objectives and recommend the right technology, not just the available technology.
And that’s all before you’ve even taken a good look ‘under the hood’ at your technology stack (I’m sure there’s another whole blog article for our developers to write about that).
Your website is way back on page 4 of Google
If your website is public-facing, it needs to perform well for search engines (and we mean all search engines, not just Google) and users. It’s thought that there are around 200 factors that contribute to where your site is listed on search engine results pages and they’re constantly changing. You can delve deeper into the minefield by checking out our top 5 common SEO mistakes
Your website isn’t W3C compliant
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
is the international organisation for upholding standards on the web. W3C compliance means that your site adheres to their specifications and guidelines, but many websites are developed without conforming to these standards. This is not only harmful to SEO, but also means certain users may be excluded altogether.
You aren’t measuring your website’s successes…or failures
You might know how many hits your site receives, but your traffic doesn’t always translate to customers. You can’t be sure of achieving your goals without tracking the right metrics. We’re talking things like bounce rates, time on site and page views. Keep reviewing your data over short-term and long-term periods; it’s easy to fixate on the day-to-day numbers without looking at the bigger picture. In addition to analytics, you can examine how users interact with your website using heatmaps and screen recordings. With these mechanisms, you can draw insights and make decisions on how to make improvements based on solid data rather than gut feeling.
Your website has stopped evolving
Your website should never stand still. With your tracking sorted, you can maintain a high level of continuous improvement. In addition, usability testing is a hugely valuable technique at your disposal and needn’t be expensive; there are plenty of services that will allow you to run user tests quickly and cost-effectively, such as Google Optimize and Unbounce. When making any changes, if possible run A/B or MVT tests to identify their impact. With a measured approach of continually iterating, you should be able to keep moving the needle on those all-important KPIs.
So, how did you score? Hopefully there is plenty here that you’re already doing, and if you bring it all together you can be confident that your website doesn’t just look good, it also performs like a well-oiled machine!
Didn’t score so well? Not to worry, if you do find you need some extra help on one or two of these points, we’re only a call away
Posted 10 August 2018 by Stephen Miller