Is your website effective? Most business owners don’t really know if there website is designed and coded in the most effective ways to drive the best results for the company. It looks good, sales are doing just fine, and traffic is on the rise. Unfortunately, that only tells you part of the story.
If your business is dependent on its website (and how many businesses aren’t at least partly dependent on their websites today?), you need to know more than whether or not traffic is increasing to your site. You need to grade your website’s effectiveness so you can identify weaknesses (and fix them), find strengths (and exploit them), and make the right changes to get the results your business needs and deserves.
[Tweet “Making changes to your business or website for the sake of making changes is a waste of time.”]
How to Grade Your Website
Before you attempt to grade your website, you need to do some preparation. Here are three steps you need to take in order to get useful results from your analysis efforts:
1. Remove All Emotion before You Grade
The first step to grading your website effectiveness is to remove all emotion. Just because it took you a long time or cost a lot of money to develop your website doesn’t mean it’s effective. Remove all emotional attachment to your site and analyze it as a third party would. Forget the emotional history and focus on the future opportunities.
2. Get the Right Tools to Grade
Next, make sure you have the necessary tools set up to gather the metrics and information you need to analyze. The first tool you need to use is Google Analytics. There is no way to know what content resonates with visitors, how they get to your site, and where and when they leave if you don’t have a performance tracking tool like Google Analytics installed on your website. It’s free, so if you haven’t started using it yet, you need to start right now.
3. Dive Deeper to Get the Right Grade
The third step is to dive deeper and use a tool that was developed for the specific purpose of grading a website’s effectiveness. There are a variety of these tools available.
I’ve used Marketing Grader from HubSpot, which provides insights related to blogging, SEO, social media, lead generation, and mobile optimization. It’s free, but as with most free tools, once you sign up, you’re going to start getting a lot of email from HubSpot. It’s an inbound marketing and marketing automation company, so be prepared to see them in your email inbox a lot—they practice what they preach. Also, be prepared for one of the recommendations in your report to tell you that you need to use marketing automation.
Kevan Lee at Buffer put together a great list of seven free website graders and content score tools that includes great options like Quick Sprout’s Website Analyzer, Woorank, and Moz’s One Metric. Check it out to learn more about each tool and pick the one that best fits your site, your needs, and your goals.
What to Grade
Once you’ve got your tools in place, it’s time to start grading your website, but what should you grade? It’s best to start with the basics if you’re not a tech expert.
Following are some examples of things to analyze in order to grade your website’s effectiveness. You need to make sure:
- Social media sharing buttons are installed.
- All links work.
- There is an easy way for visitors to subscribe to your RSS feed and newsletter.
- All of your site’s code is valid.
- There is an easy way to print the content in a well-formatted way.
- There is a custom 404 error page.
Use the infographic from Add People below to self-analyze and grade your website. The infographic focuses primarily on the content and presentation of your site, which has a significant impact on your site’s effectiveness.
Source: Add People