It is hard for anyone to evaluate their own website. It is harder still if you don’t know what to look for. Here are few questions to ask yourself while appraising your existing website.
If you didn’t know anything about the business, can you know make out the nature of the business within 4 seconds of looking at the home page?
Calls to action
Does the website lead the visitor to the next step?
Buttons/links that say “Read more”, “Get in touch”, etc. lead visitors to take the next step on the website. Without any such help, the visitor may leave the website and you would have lost a potential lead.
Does the top half of your home page contain the most important information that you want to convey to your visitor?
“Above the fold” is to newspapers as “top half of your home page” is to a website. It is the place of highest visibility where the most important information should lie. This increases the likelihood that a visitor will interact with those features.
Design & Aesthetics
Aesthetics and design are, of course, very subjective. What one person likes may not match another person’s taste. There are aspects though that you can look for and judge to see if they will be effective.
- Do the colors used on the website match or complement the colors on the logo?
- Do the images or the website embellishments get in the way of the business’ message?
- Is there enough contrast between the background and the font colors? If not, then the text will be hard to read.
- Is the style consistent throughout the website?
- Are the buttons and links obvious?
- Is the design appropriate for the audience?
- Is the textual content placed in one long and boring block or are they broken out into easy-to-read logical chunks?
This is very obvious; it is also very easy to forget to include information about how to get in touch with you. The following information should be included in your website
- Phone number
- Contact form
- Is the website mobile-friendly?
Go to Google’s page for mobile-friendly testing that will analyze a URL and report if the page has a mobile-friendly design.
- Are all the links (internal & external) active and valid?
If you intended a part of text to be a link, but forgot to make it a link, that is an inactive link. You make it active by including the URL of the link destination. A valid link is one which actually leads you to an intended (This is where you want the link to go.) and legitimate (Clicking the link doesn’t give you errors.) URL.
- Does the website work well on different browsers?
- Are there any Flash videos/applications on the website?
Flash is an outdated technology that not all devices support.
- How long do the pages take to load?
Longer a page takes to load, the worse it is for retaining a visitor’s attention.
Conventions are very important online. They help visitors intuitively know where to look for information. This reduces the frustration of not knowing around a new website.
Does your website look and feel markedly different from a lot of other websites? If yes, you may be flouting convention. Unless you are in an edgy field or have a good reason to move away from convention, don’t.