Earlier this week, I gave a talk at a Business Growth Summit that I titled "Beyond SEO: What to do with Your Website Visitors." It was a really fun event and I had more people attend my session than I expected, which was great. I shared a lot of information during the presentation, and had a videographer record the entire talk, but that won't be ready for a few days. So in the meantime, I wanted to post something here that I shared with the audience: a checklist to help you make sure your website doesn't suck.
My pet peeve in Internet Marketing is when I meet businesses that are only focused on getting more traffic to their website when what they really need to focus on first is fixing all the annoying or outdated things on their website that drive users crazy.
So here you go: please take some time and comb through this checklist and I guarantee that your users will be much happier because of it. Then—and only then—do I recommend building more traffic to your website.
Checklist to Make Sure Your Website Doesn’t Suck:
- Click on every single link on the entire website. Everything: navigation, menus, footer links, etc. Try to find every page on the site, and look for broken links, missing pages, and missing images. You will probably be surprised at how many broken images and links you may find.
- View your website on as many devices as you can. Try a small screen, a large screen, a Windows computer, a Mac, an iPhone, an Android, etc. Borrow a friend’s phone or computer if you need to! This is very important.
- Fill out any forms, including contact forms, download forms, and more. Make sure that all form submissions actually go through, and that you are actually receiving an email when the contact forms are submitted. If you aren't receiving the form submission, panic, and then make sure heads roll, then do everything in your power to make sure this is fixed ASAP. If you're not receiving communication from people that want to hire you, you are absolutely throwing business down the drain.
- If you have an eCommerce website, make a test purchase and go through the entire process to make sure nothing is broken or missing. You might be surprised at problems you find in the process: whether in the shopping cart, the checkout section, payment forms, or, most commonly, the final confirmation pages and emails.
- Make sure all of your contact info is complete and accurate (phone, email, address, directions to your office, maps, etc). If it's old and outdated, fix it!
- Read every single word on every single page. Look for spelling and grammar errors, outdated or inaccurate information, and more. Note: common mistakes include: “coming soon in ______ (last year),” bios of old employees that don’t work there anymore, and pages that say “under construction.” Look for boring or impersonal “placeholder” content. Are there are any stock photos? Clean that up, and start putting some real content on the site with genuine thought behind it.
- Ensure that the site has clear calls to action. If the purpose of the site is to sell products, is the store clearly visible? Are there photos of your products? Can users answer (in five seconds or fewer) “what should I do on this website?” If not, write down a list of what you think your calls to action should be, then update your website to reflect these.
- Do you as the website owner have the ability to make changes to the site if needed? If not, contact someone who can help you! NOW! You have GOT to have access to make changes as needed, or at least know who to contact if the need arises.
There you go! Follow the steps, and I'm sure you'll find at least a few things that need attention. If you do this, and get in the habit of checking on your website more often, you will be a more savvy business owner because of it. Oh, and if you start to dig into your website and find that it sucks, feel free to contact us. We'll help give you a more professional website design brand. Good luck, and go dominate the interwebs!