Things to Look for When Evaluating a Website
Your website is the reflection of your business and brand. It is what tells users who you are, what you do, and why they should care about you. With that in mind, it’s important to invest in your site’s long-term success by creating a high-quality design for your online property. But how can you know if a website has been designed well? In fact, how do you even define good design?
While there’s no clear-cut formula for good design, there are still some key elements that can help you evaluate it effectively—and these elements have everything to do with usability—the ability for a user to find what they are looking for on your website.
So, whether you are a business owner or a user, here are six things you need to look for when evaluating a website and achieving the desired success.
6 Things You Need to Look for When Evaluating a website
Every company wants to have an online presence, whether it’s through an informational website or through an e-commerce site that sells goods and services directly to consumers. Whatever your goal, you’ll need to evaluate your options carefully if you want to create a functional and effective website. While there are many factors you should consider when evaluating your web design options, these three key points can help you choose the right website design firm to meet your needs.
1. Website Authority
Your customers, readers, and visitors want to know that they can trust you before doing business with you. Branding is one of the best ways to establish your site’s authority—whether through your company logo or an easily recognizable photo or graphic—the key is ensuring that your branding is consistent throughout all platforms where it appears (website, marketing materials, social media pages).
Though many users will look at everything from design elements to typography, credibility and trust are two of the most important things a user considers when evaluating a website. Everything about your site should show users that you are confident in what you offer them while also speaking directly to their needs.
What is your company’s style? How would you describe it to a friend or colleague? In addition to visual elements, your brand voice should be reflected throughout all content on your website. For example,
- How do you answer customer service inquiries through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter if those pages are connected with your main site?
If these interactions vary from the tone of the rest of the site, this inconsistency could reflect poorly upon you and hurt trust in your organization. On the other hand, keeping a consistent brand voice helps establish how users will expect to interact with you going forward so they know what to expect when they visit your site or use any of their services.
Most users have very little patience for errors or broken links on a website, so it’s important that your site is well-maintained and up to date. The easiest way to do this is by providing easy access to contact information to encourage user feedback.
Many users will take their business elsewhere if they are unable to easily get in touch with someone at your company who can help them resolve an issue with their experience on your site. It doesn’t matter how beautifully designed a website is if you can’t guarantee accuracy. So be sure to monitor your analytics regularly (and respond accordingly) as well as keep tabs on industry trends and competitors’ movements via social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest (this way you’ll know when something is broken).
Moreover, beyond usual business information, informational content like landing pages, blog posts, and any other form of textual content should always be accurate; no one wants to waste time reading incorrect information or sifting through inaccurate data (unless what you provide also happens to be entertaining enough to make time spent enjoyable!).
Ensuring that you are providing helpful and accurate information means that you’ll need to do your research before embarking on content creation for your website.
A user’s level of engagement with the brand is probably the most important factor in his or her decision to establish contact.
- Is the site helpful enough that users want to stay on the page and explore additional links?
- Is the site providing too much information, thereby overloading users who don’t need all of it?
- Is it easy for visitors to get in touch with customer support (whether through chat features like Live Chat or more traditional means like phone contact)?
- What are the top pages like?
- Do they match up with what prospects/customers are searching for when they’re considering doing business?
All of these questions help us dive deeper into the accuracy of the site.
Your website should represent your business in an objective way; otherwise, it could appear deceitful or confuse your users. So, when evaluating a website and its design elements—like how you use imagery and words on each page—users will look for objectivity and consistency across all areas of your site. They want to know that everything they read is factual and non-biased; if their goal is to learn about what you do and how you can help them grow their own business—they don’t want someone trying to sell them with biased opinions, hyperbole, or misleading facts.
4. Currency (Relevancy)
Newsjacking is one of my favorite buzzwords right now because it perfectly describes how users will perceive your website if it isn’t kept up to date with current information. In fact, poor currency can often make the site look outdated and irrelevant—or at least out of touch with what is going on around you and in your industry.
So, be sure to leverage key events or holidays as an opportunity to link timely content from outside sources or content that represents your business in a unique way (case studies, infographic, guest post). Doing so not only ensures that all links work correctly but also gives you an opportunity to show off industry insight and thought leadership – both things users look for when evaluating a website.
Finally, users want to know that you have covered all their bases—so be sure your website offers an experience that’s comprehensive and provides enough information for visitors at every stage of your funnel. Whether it’s through e-books, white papers, or other forms of downloadable content or rich media assets like video or audio recordings—make sure you are providing useful content that people will actually want to use.
Do not just fill up your site with fluff because it looks good; there needs to be a purpose behind everything you put on there. Users who come to your site should be able to easily learn about what you do and decide if they can trust you with their business, so make sure they can find out anything they might need to in order to feel confident in doing so.
No matter how well-written and up-to-date your website is, if it doesn’t look good, users won’t bother staying around long enough to experience what you have to offer. Today’s digital experiences are more about personal connection than hard sales—so people want websites that reflect a human touch—where they can relate to business owners as real people—not just images on a screen. That means great imagery, user-friendly content layout, and engaging videos or audio assets help create an experience where users feel like they know you before they ever talk with you over email or phone – so be sure all of those things are accounted for when evaluating a website.
One of the most popular ways people use websites is through mobile devices—and according to Statista, more than 72% of the population in the united states uses mobile devices, which accounts for nearly 2/3rds of all Americans. Not only does this statistic put a spotlight on how important it is to have a website that’s compatible with mobile devices, but it also emphasizes how crucial it is to choose website design services that can create an efficient site not just for personal computers, but also for smartphones and tablets.
Mobile Responsiveness As an online business owner, is of utmost importance in this era of web development. You likely want your site to be accessible to everyone because you understand how integral the internet has become when interacting with customers and building your brand’s image. Ensuring that your site loads efficiently on mobile devices and desktop devices is an important aspect for consideration when evaluating a website.
Site Performance and Speed
To keep it simple, users expect a website to load in three seconds or less—so if yours takes longer than that to load, chances are they’ll be gone before it even finishes. In fact, according to a Forbes article, 47 percent of people will wait only about six seconds for a page to load before abandoning the site altogether.
In order to achieve proper performance and speed with your website, you should consider these questions when evaluating a website:
· How quickly does my page load from a desktop?
· How quickly does my mobile site load?
· Is there always going to be fast connectivity for me and everyone who visits my website? For instance, is your business’s location within an area where high-speed internet is available?
UI and UX
Your website should be easily navigable for both users and search engines alike; thus, you’ll want to choose a web design firm that values user experience (UX) as much as aesthetics. If your site is difficult to use (and therefore less likely to retain new visitors or keep repeat visitors coming back), this lack of flexibility could hurt more than it would help.
So, how do you know if your website is flexible enough? For starters, make sure all site elements load properly on different types of devices (desktop PCs, mobile phones, tablets). Google’s PageSpeed Insights can provide some insight into how well your site performs in terms of speed across different browsers and devices. You should also take the time to do some field testing. Let your friends and family, employees, or coworkers access the site and get their first thoughts about it as they scroll through it.
While it might seem tedious or time-consuming to evaluate your website, keeping these six elements in mind will help you cover all your bases and ensure you are offering a great digital experience. Remember, as much as content is king today—it’s nothing without substance. So, make sure what you offer helps visitors learn about you and provides them with enough value that they want to follow through from start to finish. After all, those who stick around long enough may end up doing business with you—so be sure to cover all of your bases and give them everything they need in order to make that decision.