Digital presence is now more important than ever. For the foreseeable future, brands will continue using their website and social media as their main channels for both business and communication.
A well planned digital strategy, which is executed properly, allows your digital channels to do the heavy lifting when it comes to marketing. At the same time, your website needs to be the driving force behind it all. It needs to be up-to-date, functional, visually appealing and easy to use for your customers. The aim is to direct all your online footfall to your website, from there you can provide a user journey for your audience and convert them into leads and paying customers.
Planning out a user journey is important because it will help optimise your website for conversions. You’ll be able to keep bounce rates low and retain customers on your website. If you don’t tell them where to go, more often than not – they’ll just click off the website.
So deciding whether or not it’s time for a new website, can be difficult. You’re unsure as to what you need to look out for or the signs which tell you your current website just doesn’t cut it anymore.
We’ve created a website checklist to help you ask the right questions.
We’ll start with the technical stuff, keep the jargon low and hopefully be able to get through this without you dozing off. It’s so important that websites are fast, running smoothly behind the scenes and meeting legal requirements.
Nowadays on the internet, we’re so used to loading websites in a blink of an eye. Websites need to do their best to retain the people who just landed on their site. A lot of factors can help improve this, but if your customers are sitting there waiting for your site to load for more than a few seconds…you’re off to a bad start and they’re most likely going to leave the page.
On top of this, Google factors in website loading speeds and this can affect your site’s ranking when it comes to appearing on a search. This means if your website is slow, Google will penalize you for it. You won’t be appearing far up on Google search results and may need to pay more for PPC such as Google AdWords.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Are Alt tags on all your images? Are all Meta Tags included and do they have relevant and unique content? Are the correct heading tags in place? Making sure that the pages are set up to be Google-friendly is important, but often the first bad habit to creep in for content managers.
Staying on the topic of Google and their quality score. SEO is important to ensure your website is “Google-friendly”. This includes having properly filled in Metadata for the site. Most business owners don’t regard SEO as highly as they should, it’s what helps Google rank you higher on search results. It also allows Google to activate important search features such as Sitelinks.
- Are you using correct heading tags?
- Are there Alt tags on your images?
- Are the Meta tags correctly populated with unique and relevant keywords?
It’s not currently a legal requirement for websites to be accessible unless you are the owner of a public sector website, but we think that it’s important that we’re all responsible for removing barriers to content for everyone, regardless of access ability.
Accessibility is not currently a legal requirement, but whatever features you have in place to remove barriers to content for everyone – goes a long way. You want your customers to be able to digest content equally and you don’t want text size or legibility to be the reason someone is unable to.
Accessibility options vary for the type of website you are using, but here are some examples:
- High Contrast Mode
- Text Enlarging
- Image Zoom
- Text to Speech
Internal Linking Errors/Dead Pages
One giveaway that a website has not been looked after or updated for a long time is the number of dead pages and links there is. Have you ever been on a website and clicked something only to find a blank page or ‘not found error’? We all know that feeling. Your users know that feeling as well, and it’s not one you want to be connected with your brand.
Content and Design
We challenge every business owner who has a website to take a few minutes out of your day and check your website for visual errors. These can be errors to design or content. Do you see areas of your website which are broken or don’t appear as they’re supposed to?
- Broken Components
- Use of poor tone of voice
- Off-brand imagery and design
- Does your content still appeal to your target audience?
- Does your design still appeal to your target audience?
If you’re able to spot any of the above easily. Your customers will be able to do so, as well. This could be the reason your conversions are down or your bounce rate is extremely high.
If you place yourself in your customer’s shoes. Go to your website’s homepage and see how easily you’re able to follow Call-to-Actions (CTA), navigate and complete your previously set customer journey. How easily are you able to add a featured product to your basket? How easily are you able to register for an account or checkout?
Does the website still address the needs of your customers and what it was initially designed for? As we said before, the customer experience and user journey are one of the most important features of a website. It takes planning and needs design and content to go hand-in-hand for great results.
Another thing to look out for is if your website’s forms and fields are all working as intended. Do they link back to your CRM system or Mailchimp correctly? If a user is taking the time to fill out a form, the last thing you want is for information not to be captured properly and result in potentially lost leads.
Mobile devices account for approximately half of the web’s traffic worldwide. In the fourth quarter of 2019, mobile devices generated 52.6% of global website traffic. So that means at least half of your customers are viewing your website through a mobile device. If your website isn’t mobile responsive, it means it won’t be displayed as intended.
Mobile responsiveness has now become such an important part of web design and will continue to do so. Traffic on mobile data around the world is estimated to rise by 700% by 2021. According to the Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast by Cisco.
Users are comfortable doing business with mobile responsive websites as their user journey is tailored to whatever device they may be using.
SSL has now become a legal requirement. It gives users the confidence to navigate the website and do business with a brand, knowing their information is safe and secure and being transmitted over a safe connection.
Would you purchase goods from a website without SSL? No? We thought so… So why would you expect your customers to?
Is your WordPress running the most up-to-date version? If it isn’t you might be vulnerable to hackers who can gain access through the backdoor due to out-of-date and insecure code. Problems including intrusive pop-ups can even lead to theft of both your brands and customers sensitive data.
Maintenance and round-the-clock malware protection can also help combat the possibility of any software or person trying to enter your website’s code. So it’s important to invest in an essential security and maintenance plan – any good hosting provider will be able to offer you this.
You might not think so, but websites need to be backed up regularly. Daily, if possible. You never know what might happen and you want to minimise the possibility of losing everything. If something occurs outside of your control, you’ll be able to swiftly revert your most recent fully working website backup. It will be as if nothing ever happened.
If your website ticks any of the above boxes, you should get in touch with us and see how we can help get your brand and website, on track and to where they should be. Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will get back to you shortly.