Website development – question everything!
Your website is the heart of your digital strategy and the key to meeting your digital marketing goals. So, it had better be up to the task. Whether you’re building a new site – or tweaking an existing one – the goal is to ensure that it attracts the right audience and keeps them interested enough to take a desired action (like download a whitepaper, sign up for an e-newsletter, read a blog post etc.).
How do you know if your site is set up for success? Answer these seven questions to find out.
7 questions you need to ask about your website:
- Does it attract qualified traffic? Not all traffic is created equal – you need to attract the right audience – that is, those people you actually want to consume your information. That means looking at things like where your site visitors come from (geography, Google searches vs. links from social media etc.) and what they do once they’re on your site (more on that in the next two points).
- Do they stick around or bail immediately? If your viewers take one look at your site and run the other way, you’ve got a problem. “In its simplest form, a good site is one that a visitor deems as useful,” says Steve Widen, president of E-Cubed Media Synthesis, a Canadian web design company. “When someone abandons a page, there is a disconnect between what they expect to see and what has been presented.” Help your viewers out by creating clear pathways to the content they’re looking for; a great landing page will help to accomplish this.
- Are they looking at the pages and content you want them to? “There are always going to be the dominant areas of interest, and then all the supplemental information that needs to be included on a site,” states Widen. As far as the importance of page popularity goes, “it comes down to the goal of the site.” Basically, it’s okay if your “About” page isn’t the lifeblood of your website – what matters is that your most crucial pages are getting the most views. If this isn’t the case, then it’s time to optimize the pathways that lead to those pages.
- Does it show up in Google, or is it invisible? No matter how incredible your website is, it’s not going to get the qualified traffic it deserves if no one can find it. Your site needs to appear relevant in order to show up at the top of the search engine results page – that’s why having the right SEO strategy is essential. You need to know what your audience is searching online and then make sure your site speaks to those search terms. “If you get it right, SEO can be a fantastic, relatively low-cost way to drive quality visitors who want to do business with you to your site,” explains Smart Insights, an advisor on digital marketing strategy.
- Is it well written (for humans and search engines)? Search engines look at a number of factors when deciding which pages are relevant and which ones are not. Cross links, back links, fresh content and the use of keywords are a few examples of what Google’s looking for. But at the end of the day, your human viewers need to enjoy your site, as well. Your content must resonate with them and compel them to take action. In return, your site will appear even more relevant to the search engines – really, it’s a win-win.
- Is it easy for the audience to use? If visitors are unable to navigate your site, they’re going to lose interest quickly. As Widen says, “You need to consider how a visitor will look for information and then structure content in a way that aligns with their preferences.” In addition, your site needs to be accessible across all devices – being mobile-friendly is a must have.
- Does it lead users to support the business through “conversion points”? Conversion points – think shares, likes, purchases, subscriptions and so on – provide your website with a purpose. The goal here is to get visitors to complete actions that benefit your business. Creating effective conversion points takes a little trial-and-error – running tests and making adjustments will help you figure out how to best “convert” your audience. Widen points out, “If it’s about the numbers, you want to do what works, not necessarily what looks the best.”
“Everything needs to be balanced with delivering a good user experience that aligns with the brand,” Widen concludes. “If visitors are getting what they need, then most likely we’ve also aligned with the organization’s objectives for the site.”
Ultimately, if your site is built on a solid foundation, you’ll be able to meet your digital marketing goals.
So, here’s one last question: What kind of experience do you want to provide?