How To Evaluate Your Website To Make Improvements
A website is never done.
It can feel that way when you’re launching a new website or launching a redesign.
Those situations kind of have a relief feeling. You work hard. You go through difficulties. You make sacrifices and eventually you’re just ready to move on to other business.
But the reality is that your website is never done. You can’t approach it that way. It’s a living and breathing thing and a good way to approach it is to continually make tweaks while also mixing in some bigger changes that could be called redesigns.
The end of the year is a good time to assess your website and prepare changes for a new year, but you can really assess your website at anytime.
Here are some tips for evaluating your website so you can continually make improvements to get the results you want.
Tip #1. New Visitors
One quick thing to remember, especially if you continually assess your website, is that most business websites are flush with new visitors.
By that I mean that the percentage of new visitors vs. repeat visitors is skewed, usually heavily, toward new visitors. These are obviously people that are seeing your website for the first time.
The trick there is that the more you look at your website the more you become biased toward it. You see something on the site, like a button or image, and it’s easy to think that the image needs to change because it’s been on the site for awhile.
But the reality is that most visitors to your site will be seeing everything on the site for the very first time.
Do your best to look at your website through the lens of the most likely visitor, which is probably someone that is seeing everything for the first time.
That means that things are new, but it also means that you might need to change headings and content so that it makes sense to visitors (and not just to you, someone that has seen the site before).
Tip #2. Start With Your Sales Process
Your website is your online salesperson.
That’s how I like to look at it anyway. The goal for a business website is to make a sale or at least get a visitor to the point where they’re ready to talk about a sale.
With that mindset, you have to lay out your website so that it has all the right tools to make a sale for someone that is coming to the site for the first time.
But you obviously can’t do that if you don’t understand your sales process.
How you sell your service or product in person is the same way your website makes a sale online.
Each time you asses your website start by assessing your sales process. Figure out what the process is and if anything has changed. Look at the target customer and once you have a good handle on it then look at your website to make sure they’re aligned.
Tip #3. Website Flow
This tip builds on the last tip and it’s all about understanding proper flow on your website. It’s understanding how you want visitors to flow through your website until they’re ready to buy something from you.
Usually visitors come to your site through different channels and for different reasons.
One example is if you have a blog your visitors will be coming to a blog post. From there you might look to promote another blog post for them to read. You might introduce them to your homepage and your company. You might ask them to subscribe to an email newsletter so they can get more content. This person is very early in the sales process. You don’t want to push them too hard because it doesn’t really make sense at this point.
Imagine that you’re at a networking event. You hear a person, someone you’ve never met before, talking to someone and they pose a question. You know the answer so you step in and provide the answer. The person appreciates the answer.
At that point you probably introduce yourself, but you probably wouldn’t say, “Are you interested in buying (whatever service you sell) from me?”
Another example of how someone might come to your website is through natural search to your homepage. This person is further along in the sales process. You probably don’t want to distract them with something like an ebook or a blog post. They’re on your homepage and interested in your product or service.
Give an introduction of your brand and what you offer on the homepage. Then move them through the final stages of your sales process. Give details about your service. Give case studies or examples. Share information about your company and the people at the company (about page). Then ask for the sale (contact page).
Understand the flow of your sales process at all stages and transfer that flow to your website.
Tip #4. Simplify Headings, Content
One of the things that’s tricky with business websites is the content. There is a tendency with business leaders to kind of show off their knowledge. I get it. I’m guilty of it. You want to be smart because clients hire smart people.
But in the quest for showing off you can confuse website visitors. I visit a number of business websites each week and one of the big issues I find is that the main heading on the homepage is confusing. It’s really a struggle sometimes to figure out what a business actually offers to its clients.
That’s obviously not ideal. You want a new website visitor to know almost instantly what you’re offering them.
It might seem simple or dumbed down, but that’s really the key to making a sale. Think back to how you interact with potential clients in person. Use the same words that you use in that situation on your website.
You probably don’t tell people in person that you’re the premier technology company of this and that. You probably tell them that you build mobile apps for businesses.
Go through all the pages on your site and check the content and make sure it makes sense, is clear, is simple and also use this time to look for general grammar and things like that.
Tip #5. Update Content With Dates
Case studies, work examples and a few other things have dates on your website. It’s good to go through these items and look for things that should be updated. You don’t want the dates to get too old (maybe even a couple years old).
Keep things fresh. You can maybe do this about every year where you make annual updates to things with dates on your website.
You might also see that your blog or video section or podcast section or some other type of content marketing hasn’t been updated in awhile. Now is a good time to assess how you can be more consistent with what you’re doing with your content strategy.
Your website is a living and breathing thing. Treat it as something that you need to check-in on from time to time to make sure it reflects changes to your business, changes to your sales process and more.
Regular website updates keep your website working and selling for you so that your business can continue to grow. It’s a good habit to get into and it helps prevent the feeling that your website is done.