Your website is your most important marketing and communication tool and needs to be evaluated regularly to gauge its effectiveness. And sometimes the best solution is to rebuild the site from scratch.
There are two parts to a website. There is the Public-Facing Side, where copy, design and other content work together to create a compelling user journey. It’s these visible components that encourage visitors to learn more, access resources or become donors or customers.
The other part is the more Technical Side of things where you do things like integrating apps and functionality, increasing site performance and improving search engine optimization.
In this post, we’ll take a look at factors on the front-end. Next week, we’ll look at some of the “behind the scenes” things you should consider.
1. First things first — does your site do what you want it to do?
A website’s purpose could range from being a simple billboard on the internet, a resource hub, a sales portal, or something else entirely. But whatever that goal is, you need to prioritize it and then build your site to meet it. Let’s say you’ve set up a social media campaign to bump up sales of a product, and you can see from your analytics that you have more visitors on the site as a result. But if those visits are not translating in actual sales, then the work you’ve put into the campaign has gone for naught. You will need to see what role your website is playing in not converting those leads.
2. Your site doesn’t reflect your brand
You invest a lot in your brand –logos, taglines, colours, messages, etc., all help tell your story. If your site doesn’t mirror that, you’re at best not leveraging your brand, and at worst, making it so confusing for visitors that they don’t know who you are. Are you a people-centred social services agency? Or perhaps an organization more focussed on technology or products. Which ever it is, your site needs to reflect who you are, what you do and who you’re speaking to.
3. Your site looks old
Everyone knows technology changes at light-speed, and if your site can’t handle the functionality that visitors are expecting, they notice. But design principles also are fluid…clean, simple layouts are recognized as being much more powerful than busy spaces that pack in as much info as possible. If your site is dated, especially when compared to your competitors, that too says something about your brand.
4. Poor readability
Research shows that you have only 10 seconds to engage someone and convince them to take a closer look. As important as you think your corporate mission statement and history are, nothing triggers leaving a page like seeing a mountain of text that requires endless scrolling to get through. Do a simple site audit; if most of your pages and posts contain only text with no interesting images or graphics to keep readers engaged, it’s an indication that your website needs some work.
5. You can’t update content yourself
Search engines love fresh content, and updating your site regularly is essential to getting it to the top of a search result. But if it is a cumbersome, time-eating, challenging chore to go in and update photos and text (or even worse, you need to get your IT provider to do it for you), it’s tempting to just skip it. The content management systems (CMS) of new websites all allow you to make changes on your own, quickly and easily.
6. Confusing website navigation
The number one frustration for website visitors is not being able to find what they are looking for or not completing the task they came to accomplish. People visit a website to solve a problem – they need information or want to buy something or learn more about something. If your site is sending people all over the place, you stand a good chance of losing them before you get them to do what you want them to do.
Tackling each of these can help make your website more effective and create a better user experience keeps your visitors coming back. But addressing all of them at the same time can take a good website and turn it into a powerful, comprehensive tool for your organization. Contact us to learn more, and make sure to read next week’s post to see how the technology behind websites can complement the public side.