November 24, 2020
The new year is the right time to refresh your site! Maybe you’re interested in an update, but you need help determining whether a refresh or a full re-work of your website is appropriate. We’ve developed three handy checklists to show you what to look out for. This checklist is the first; site-wide triage, and it will help you stabilize your site and get it running smoothly. Next up is site content and design, and the final checklist you’ll want is all about performance and the back-end of your site. Need help running through the list? Give Rearview Advertising a call and we can get you started on the right foot with a free coaching session.
What’s outright broken – 404s, broken links, unresponsive elements, missing images, check the pages in your top navigation for visible issues like these.
Are there missing or incomplete pages/info – Again, every top navigation item needs to point somewhere. Make sure you have all of the essentials completely fleshed out.
Do you have analytics – you need to be able to track performance – full stop! Add Google Analytics and a Facebook pixel (if you’re planning to advertise with them) to start with. Analytics also provides insight into how users are using the site, what devices they’re using, etc.
How is your site speed – on load speed indexes, do pages on your site load reasonably quickly? (less than 2 seconds is the watermark here, but many large sites can’t even hit that – aim for a quick “first contentful paint” so the user knows something is coming.)
Does the site have responsivity across major devices – screen size is a big deal, does your site look good on a phone? Tablet? Desktop? How about interactivity, are all of your elements mobile-friendly? Are your mobile menus functional for all your content, because mobile is HALF the market now and cannot be left out of your performance metrics.
How is browser compatibility – check your site everywhere! Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, users of all kinds expect a consistent experience. Your favorite browser is only your favorite browser.
Do users have clear calls to action – are your CTAs clear? More importantly, do they drive contact and conversions? These are among the most basic usability elements on your site – you’ll want to get visitors over to what they’re looking for.
Is your contact info easy to find – if desired, is there a clear place where visitors can contact you? Make it apparent and consistent, so they can reach out whenever they need to.
How are your organic rankings – if I know who you are and I search for you, and I can’t find you, that’s a huge problem. Determine where you rank for your location, your company name, the basics. Sure you want to sell more widgets/services and you want to rank for those widgets/services, but if you can’t be found on your own brand, you won’t be found for competing words either. It’s your launch point.
Does your site have clarity of purpose – does your site make it easy to understand what you do? Make sure to explain as much as necessary and it could have a serious benefit for SEO, along with usability.
Have you avoided keyword loading – is your site keyword relevant? Not enough keywords and you don’t rank, but be careful. Too many keywords and you’re “stuffing” – search engines pick up on that and they hate it. Google makes billions by avoiding you gaming the system, their budget is bigger than yours, so row your boat with their stream, not against them.
Have you conducted a bounce rate assessment– bounce rates have their own industry standards – but between 25% and 50% is a general rate to aim for – any higher and you’re losing pretty much everyone, any lower and you could be missing out on business.
How is the average time on page/site – this metric illustrates just how engaging your site really is. Averages of more than a minute on site are a solid goal at first. Tweak your content, usability, and site design to get there.
Does your host have a good reputation – a shared host and shared IP can affect your reputation and rankings. Your IP neighbors – that is, the people you’re sharing the IP with – could be shady, and that will reflect poorly on your own search rankings.
How savvy is your host – with a shared host, the server your site runs on could be out of date. That will have a negative impact on your load speeds. Browsers notice and they tend not to trust hosts with outdated software.
Read on and discover what you can do now that your site is running smoothly with our checklist for site content and design!
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