Your business website is like an employee.
It should do a “good” job.
Your employees probably get reviews every so often (maybe even raises!), but does your website? I mean, does your website even DO its job?
Your business website is the digital front door for your business. It’s an excellent place to showcase your products and services, your best (real) testimonials, and potentially attract more customers through Google searches.
Your site is supposed to make your business look professional, but how do you know it isn’t chasing browsers straight to your competitors. It’s possible.
We’ve seen a lot of websites that business owners thought were breathtakingly beautiful. Some actually were. Some sites were beautiful but ineffective. What good is a beautiful website if no one understands what you do? There are plenty of sites out there that are just “meh”. It’s far more important for the website to be beautiful to your target market than to the business owners.
For more than 15 years, the staff at Make It Loud has been working with business owners just like you to establish a professional presence on the web. In that time, we’ve seen some real clunker websites. We’ve seen companies where the sales staff has steered people away from their website because it was so bad. This actually happens more than you think.
In fact, that’s a great way to test your website. Ask your employees for honest feedback. Of course, there’s a risk involved in that question. Who wants to tell the boss their baby is ugly? But, we do it all the time- not as a sales tactic. We’re honest with you because it’s not about your feelings- it’s your livelihood we’re talking about. If the website’s butt-ugly, that means the company is losing opportunities.
First Things First
Like any employee, to determine whether or not your website is doing its job, you have to determine what that job is. Yes, your website needs a job description.
Before you sigh and roll your eyes because that’s HR’s job, settle down. It’s not that hard.
Riddle me this, Batman. Why do you have a website in the first place? To generate leads for more business? To sell products? To promote a service? These are all good reasons, and they’re the first step in figuring out if your site is working or not.
Your website’s effectiveness depends on the original purpose of the site. If the site was built to generate leads? Make sure Google Analytics is installed and check how much traffic your site is getting.
Put a system in place so that you are tracking where your business is coming from. The most direct way is to ask your new business prospects, “How did you find us?” If they say they found you online, don’t just stop there, ask them if they recall what they searched to find you. This gives you an idea of what keywords you might be ranking for. This helps you understand how effective your SEO is.
If the site is primarily for sales, does it bring in the revenue or you’re just selling a couple of items in a long while? A good website is one that works. If it performs what it was meant for, then you can count it as a good website.
Yeah, But Is Your Website Ugly?
Clearly, a website’s design depends on its purpose, the type of business, and its intended audience. Design quality can be rated in two categories, user interface (UI) design and user experience (UX). Although every website is different in its own way, UI and UX run across the board and should give you a basic idea of what to expect from a beautiful website.
Good user interface
As the name suggests, the user interface is where your audience interacts with your website. UI is how the website looks and feels to the user. Some characteristics of good UI are:
● Consistent layout across the website
● Consistent font and color choices
● Clear and concise layout of elements
● High-quality multimedia elements
Good user experience
UX refers to how your users interact with your website based on their goals, tasks, and experiences. Good UX design enables seamless use of your website while creating a meaningful and relevant experience for your visitors. Some characteristics of good UX are:
● Clear hierarchy and flow of elements
● Accessibility for users of all abilities
● User-friendliness and responsiveness
● Simple and functional navigation
Is your website technically sound?
Aesthetic design is only half of the story-the website has to work in the first place! Here are a few technical considerations to think about for your website:
● Is the website free of bugs and errors?
● Do all the pages, buttons, and navigation elements work?
● How secure is the website?
● What are your website performance metrics? Does the website load quickly or it takes ages to start?
● Where do you host your website data? Is the server secure and have you got backup options in case of a disaster? Does it experience significant downtime?
Key factors in evaluating your website
● Loading speed
If you think a website is good as long as it works, then you’re terribly wrong. Users hate slow-loading websites, and so do search engines.
Good websites are fast loading, not just on desktops but on mobile as well. Slow loading sites have a high bounce rate and Google won’t rank them high on search results. In fact, the all-knowing gurus at Google say that your site can lose up to 53% of browsers if your site loads slower than 3 seconds or longer. Yikes!
● Platform compatibility
In the past, most users browsed websites on computer screens. As mobile devices became more powerful, so did website access on these devices increase. The reality of today is that more than 60% of all searches are done on smartphones, so if your site doesn’t look good on the phone, you’re probably losing customers. Remember, just because your site passes Google’s “mobile-friendly” test doesn’t mean it looks good on the phone.
A good website is responsive on all devices, whether laptops or desktops, smartphones or tablets. . If responsive design becomes too expensive or complex, you can run a parallel mobile version of your site.
Secure websites are no longer a nice thing to have; they are a must for every website owner. Secure hosting by way of an SSL certificate is a great place to start, but it isn’t enough to curb modern threats. A good website should constantly be scanned for security issues and have a firewall against malware.
That being said, having a non-secure site (no SSL) means you are losing out on a Google ranking factor. More and more sites are getting flagged as “non-secure” without an SSL which is effectively like telling your customers, “HEY! Don’t trust this business!” That could shut your phones off.
● Content optimization
We cannot talk about good websites without mentioning the power of good content on your websites. Google LOVES good content, and let’s face it, who doesn’t?
Optimizing for search engines increases your chances of ranking high on search engines. Aside from SEO optimization, the content should also be meaningful and valuable to the visitors, not just stuffed with keywords. In fact, stuffing a bunch of keywords in your content is now a great way to get your site penalized.
Website graders for you
There are plenty of website grading tools on the market to evaluate your website’s effectiveness. We even have one on our homepage you can try. From SEO reports to speed and clarity checkers, there’s no limit to what you can optimize.
Common website checkers include Hubspot’s Marketing Grader, Nibbler, GT Metrix, SEOtimer, and Moz’s Domain Explorer. If you’re a web designer or a website owner anxious to know how good your site is, a quick look through these tools should give you an idea.
Of course, if you need an objective opinion, call us. We’ll be glad to tell you if your website’s ugly or ineffective. We can tell you in minutes.