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Does My Website Suck? - Part 1


Dec. 11, 2012 11:34 am

It's an honest question.  Does my website need an overhaul?  Maybe just a nip and tuck?  Or, maybe triple bypass surgery?  How do I know if my website sucks?

These are the questions plaguing many website owners and marketing professionals.  At DMI Studios, we love helping people take an honest look at their site to see what. if anything, needs to be improved upon.  And we've decided to share some of the aspects we look at with you, dear reader.  Consider it an early Christmas gift!

Throughout all of these tips you'll see one common theme--the key to a great website is one that builds KLT - Know, Like and Trust.  Let us begin:

1.  Overall Design


This is the first place to start.  A website has precious few seconds to display trust and like-ability to an Internet user.  Sometimes, these qualitative aspects are difficult to put into words.  How do we know good design?  Here are a few jumping off points:
  • Is the logo and branding properly represented here?  
  • Is the color scheme pleasant to the eye?  
  • Is the important navigation above the fold (no scrolling to find it)?
  • Is the content easy to read?
  • Could the website benefit from an evolving design (seasonal, etc)?
  • Does the website use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to ensure consistent design throughout?

2.  Usability


This would seem obvious, but a website needs to be user-friendly.  If it is difficult to use it will not be effective in generating leads for your business.  Again, this is more qualitative, but we all know easy-to-use websites versus the sites we hate to use.
  • Are all pages easily accessed by navigation?
  • Is there a search function?
  • Is there an RSS or email signup?
  • Is there a mobile version of the website to ease viewing on mobile and tablet devices?
  • Do the webpages load quickly?
  • If there is a checkout process, is it quick and easy to complete?

3.  Competitive Analysis


That's a fancy way of saying, you should spy on your competitors.  Sign up for their newsletters, follow them on Facebook and Twitter and check out their website!  Then, kick the tires of their website to see if there are any gems you can gain inspiration from.
  • Note any pages/sections they have on their website that you don't.  Then, ask yourself why you don't have it on your website (it may not be necessary, but this is a worthy exercise).
  • Note how often and how they communicate with their audience/customers.
  • See where they land on Bing and Google for shared search terms.
  • Investigate which social networks they are on and note their interactions there.
  • Check out the Meta Title and Description they use for their website.*

*How do I learn about Metas?  Simply do a search on a search engine for the company's name or products they offer.  The results on the search page display their title and description.  For example, say you make apparel for zombie-loving fans, you may want to search "zombie gifts".  Then, note your competitor's listing on the search engine:




The Meta Title is the large, blue underlined text.  The Meta Description is the text in black.  Note any keywords your competitors are using that wold work for you as well.  

--

Stay tuned for more tips as we help you decide, "Does my website suck?"


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