Business owners, managers and website administrators underestimate the importance of the web and believe that simply publishing a pretty website on the internet will suffice.
This is a mistake. For a website to add value [saving or making you money] the look and feel, although important, is the last thing that needs consideration.
Granted, the website must be appealing and deliver the correct brand message but what’s the point of having a super looking website if nobody visits or uses it? Surely accessibility and usability should be as important as the design?
Take a moment to evaluate your website.
The internet in South Africa is experiencing exponential growth and as the Yellow Pages gets thinner, we are using Google more and more often to find and compare products and services.
To evaluate your website’s performance on the web, assess these key areas:
- Code quality
Start off by making a list of the keyword phrases that you think consumers would use to find your products and services. Like, “website company port elizabeth”. Note: don’t use your company name! We want to see if your website will attract new customers and assess if people can find your website by entering the products and services that you offer.
Visit Google and enter the keyword phrases.
So how did you feature?
Is your website listed on the first page of the search engine results pages? How many of your competitors outrank you?
The reality is – if you do not feature on those first couple of pages, the likelihood of your website generating leads is very slim.
So how do you get noticed on the web?
The search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) of your website takes more effort [and budget] than the website design and development. It is an ongoing process of evaluating and tweaking and involves; the optimization of the website’s structure & content and the optimal utilization of the utilities and tools that the search engines provide.
The popularity of smart phones and tablets and the many browser options available today makes the usability of your website a very real concern.
Our customers’ Analytics tell us that 25% of website traffic is on mobile devices (smart phones and tablets). That being said, it is critical that your website not only renders properly on these devices but navigates correctly too. An old favourite Flash is no longer supported and mouse-over and many other effects need special attention when catering for these uses.
Test your website in Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera and evaluate whether it renders correctly and that all of the website’s components behave properly.
W3C standards relate to the correct layout of web pages for readability as well making sure that the coded elements are marked up and labeled correctly. Websites that conform to W3C standards are less error prone and more- useable and search engine friendly.
Evaluate your website’s code quality by visiting http://validator.w3.org/
It is critical that you scrutinize your website’s Analytics regularly to assess your website’s successes and shortcomings. The Analytics and Webmaster Tools will highlight areas like; bounce rates, the popularity of products, pages & files, traffic sources, referrals, visitor habits and visitor flow through the site.
Good webpage layout and website design regards the users’ browser and user interface and the industries most preferred and best practices. Websites that are intuitive, informative, accessible, usable and developed properly are stickier* and perform better on the search engines. How does your website hold up?
*Stick websites entice visitors to browser through them.