Your website is the flagship of your online presence. You will have various business listings on professional websites like the Chamber of Commerce. You’ll have a few social media accounts that let consumers know a little about your services. You might have online reviews people can check out to vet your business and see how well respected you are in your industry.
But your website is the key that ties all of your online presence together.
When an individual lands on your homepage, you have 5 seconds to capture their attention and draw them in.
How does your website measure up? Are you capturing the interest of your visitors and answering their questions about how you can help them? If not, how do you improve the length of time a user engages with your website and your content?
Let’s explore this with a quick website audit:
I have four criteria through which I audit a website. If you can successfully check off all four of these criteria, your website is in good shape! As you go through each audit requirement, review your website to ensure that you can tick each box!
Website Audit Step Number One: Branding
The first element on your website that needs to be clear and striking from the moment a visitor lands on your page is branding. What we are talking about here are the visual elements on your page: the colors, the pictures, the “feeling” and how these relate to your website visitor.
Here are some main branding elements that will help to capture the attention of a website visitor:
- WEBSITE COLORS: Keep the color variety to 3 maximum. A primary color for CTA’s and buttons. The accent color for backgrounds of alternating sections to break up the sections as the user scrolls. And a third color to complement the other two and add a little flavor. Your colors will be typically be pulled directly from your logo. (If you have a million colors on your website but they look absolutely fantastic, keep them! This is just a standard for many websites.)
- Website background should be white
- Text should be black or a dark gray
- WEBSITE IMAGES: Photos and graphics on your website should immediately relate the service or product you sell. Website visitors will immediately be drawn to graphics first and then if they are interested, they will read the accompanying text. You should have a variety of photos and icons on the page. The photos on your website should speak to your ideal buyer and they should be represented in and relate to the photos found on the website. There are so many ways to identify who you serve and find the perfect graphics that will speak directly to them!
- CONSISTENCY: The images throughout the website should relate to each other. The best way to confirm that your graphics are all working together is to create a mood board and upload all the graphics. How do they look when they are all next to each other? Do they have a common thread that ties them all together?
Remember, the first impression your website makes on a new visitor is visual. Your website has to be visually pleasing in order to capture the attention of a new visitor and to draw them into the site content. If your site is disorganized, ugly or complicated, the user will simply click away and select the next website in their Google search.
Website Audit Step Number Two: Messaging
Imagine your ideal buyer for a moment. Imagine that they are looking for a company to provide them with XX. Let’s say you provide that. Within 5 seconds of landing on your homepage, does your messaging clearly convey that they are in the right place and that they do not need to look any further?
Now let’s dig in a little bit more to clarify the purpose of your messaging:
Visit your website homepage and do not scroll down. From this view of your homepage, is it clear what you offer and who you offer it to? Is there a main headline that identifies your main service? And is there a longer subheading that further explains your services?
Is there minimal text available here so your website visitor doesn’t become overwhelmed by the task of reading every little bit of content?
The key here is: Less is more. Pare down the identity of your company and your messaging to keep it simple.
If all is good there, scroll down and view the next section of your homepage. Does it explain your services in an easily consumable way? There shouldn’t be pages of text. Keep it short and sweet and get to the point of what you offer and who you offer it to.
Once you have clearly established your services/offering through your messaging, the website visitor will move through your website to learn more about you and decide to work with you or purchase!
Website Audit Step Number Three: User Experience
The user experience is often what separates successful websites from unsuccessful websites. If you want to check the health of your user experience, hop on your Google Analytics and see how long a visitor spends on your website and how many pages they view. If your numbers are low, you might have a problem. If your numbers are high, congratulations! You’re doing great.
One other analytic to check is your bounce rate. This number shows you the percentage of people who quickly “bounce” away from your website after viewing a page. If your bounce rate is high, you have a big problem. The average bounce rate is between 41 to 55 percent average https://www.gorocketfuel.com/the-rocket-blog/whats-the-average-bounce-rate-in-google-analytics/. If your number is between 55-100%, your website is working against you.
Let’s run through some elements to check for an optimal user experience:
- Visit your website and ensure that the first page loads quickly. If the page loads slowly, you have a bigger issue to fix.
- Visit your page on a desktop, tablet and mobile phone. Can you read everything? Is anything falling off the screen? Is text overlapping or jumbled? Does the mobile version of the website match the desktop version?
- Check your navigation menu. Is each menu item labeled correctly? Is your navigation menu too cluttered with a ton of options?
- Does your website guide the user from the homepage to their next page with ease? If you offer multiple services, ensure that each service can easily be found from the homepage.
- If you have a blog, is it easy to navigate back to your main website from the blog?
- Let’s say a website visitor wanted to connect with you via social media. Can they find you easily online?
- Do your links take the user where they want to go? Most importantly: Do all of your links work or are any of them broken?
Your website should be an easy experience for each user. They should be able to explore your site without frustration and find the answers to any and all questions quickly. Creating a pleasant user experience for each website visitor is going to a game changer when it comes to building and growing your business.
Website Audit Step Number Four: Lead Generation
Now we arrive at perhaps the most important element of any website: the ability to convert a website visitor into a lead for your business. If each website visitor is a potential buyer, we want to capture their information, offer value, and take the conversation offline.
This can be accomplished in three ways:
- Call to Action
You can employ any or all of these elements to begin to dialogue with your website visitors and demonstrate that you are the expert they are seeking with a solution to their problem.
A leadmagnet is usually a free item that a website visitor can access by giving you their email address. Perhaps a .PDF download, a quiz, video training or a free trial would make sense for your business? Once you have their email address you can reach out to them to continue the conversation and convert a lead into a sale.
Your blog can offer tons of great content and education that serves two purposes: It informs and empowers a visitor. And it demonstrates your expertise and experience to establish you as an expert in your field. A blog can increase the “know, like and trust” factor to help you generate more leads. Make sure that you have a call to action in each blog post so that you can capture the information of a new visitor who arrives to your website through that blogpost.
A Call To Action is a prompt that provides the “next step” for your website visitor. It guides them along through your website. Your call to action can be to fill out an intake form, view a services page, download a leadmagnet, visit your blog, call your office or anything else that helps drive sales in your business. The call to action should be simple. Do not ask your visitor to fill out a 20-question intake form. If your business requires a conversation in person or via phone first, try to focus on that. If your website a content machine engine, offer a leadmagnet so they are placed on your email list.
Your website should serve as more than just a digital business card. It should draw a new visitor in and guide them through the information so that they can become a buyer.
If your website failed any of these four audit items, let’s talk. I would love to offer you a website audit along with recommendations for improvements!
See what I did there? 😉
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Lisa M Gale Digital Marketing helps service professional business owners improve their online presence and visibility to attract new clients. We develop systems and processes to improve digital marketing efforts and help entrepreneurs reach their business goals. Download your Digital Marketing Made Simple for free here >>