How does your website score on this 10-point effectiveness checklist?

When it comes to websites, there are two pretty compelling KPIs that will quickly identify your return on investment.

Clearly ‘unique visits’ provides you with an understanding of how many individuals have visited your site, particularly when combined with a good ‘bounce rate’ – how many of them go on to more than one page, indicating a meaningful visit as distinct from a virtual window shopper.

Better still is a ‘conversion’ – a visitor who goes the full enchilada and goes on to purchase, be that via your shopping cart, an email order or even good old picking up the phone.

But there are a whole range of other factors that will both make you and save you significant funds if they have been correctly implemented.

So as to provide some tangible measure of their effectiveness, I’ve suggested a point scoring system which you can use to measure the performance of your own website.

It’s often difficult to assess your own work of any kind, so perhaps you might persuade a colleague or associate to go through the exercise with you.

1. Design

Visitors judge your website extraordinarily quickly – one study going so far to say that it’s within milliseconds of downloading. 

Being as objective as you can, go and visit the websites of at least four competitors and compare them to your own as far as visual appeal and navigation.

Then give your site a score out of 10:

2. Search prominence

Conduct a Google Search for your business name. If it is in the top five results, give yourself 5 marks for No 1 through to 1 mark for No 5:

Do the same for your line of business within your relevant suburb or city but this time with 10 marks for a No 1 position down to 1 for a number 10:

Finally, do the same without a location with a Number 1 earning you 20 points and a Number 10, 2 points:

3. Content

Again, comparing it to competitor websites, give your site a mark out of 10 for its written and graphical content. In doing so, assess how persuasive and professional the writing is and how professional and appealing the graphics and photography are.

Give your site a score out of 10 for this measure:

4. Upselling and cross-selling

How well does your website suggest related products and services with a view to gaining a bigger transaction?

Give your site a score out of 5 for this measure:

5. Calls to action

Does your website lead visitors down a dark dead end or does it lead them to decisive actions to take like ‘Order Here’, ‘Sign Up Now’, ‘Freecall us’ etc.

Give your site a score out of 5 for this measure:

6. Responsiveness

Does your website adapt its layout to suit different devices? This is an increasingly important capability as most of the population use a device to find and view your website.

Give your site a score out of 10 for this measure:

7. Ease of maintenance

The last thing a small business operator needs to do when it comes to altering or maintaining their website is return to the web designer or developer every single time.  Your website should be underpinned by a Content Management System (CMS) that allows you or your staff to make changes as easily as possible.

Give your site a score out of 10 for this measure:

8. Extensibility

This is one that perhaps is less easy to measure. It refers to the ‘future-proofing’ of your website. That is, how easy and affordable is it to add functionality like e-commerce or email broadcasts or altering the design without affecting the content or functionality. This may not be able to be ascertained without asking your web professional but it’s important to know and understand, otherwise you may face unnecessary upgrade costs.

Give your site a score out of 10 for this measure:

9. Purchase closure

Does your website take your visitors as close to the sale as possible for your line of business?  For example do you offer eCommerce (even if you offer services) or at least ordering?  What about a quotation form asking for details you can then quote on?

Remember that the poorer this purchase closure, the greater the likelihood that your competitors can get the business at stake.

Give your site a score out of 10 for this measure:

10. Sign-up magnets

A cardinal sin of any website is to not try to capture customer details to build on the relationship either by allowing a follow-up communication or to send them ongoing business or discount information.

Give your site a score out of 10 for this measure:

TOTAL (FROM A POSSIBLE 115):

Results guide:

If you scored 90-115 – Congratulations. It sounds like you have a world class website that should be providing an excellent return on investment

70-89 – Very Good. Your website will still be providing a sound return on investment but may need work on aspects that didn’t score so well.

50-69 – Satisfactory. Whilst not at the top end of website effectiveness, your site will still be working at converting visits to sales for you.

Below 50 – Underperform. Your website is likely to be losing traffic to competition or costing you too much to be truly effective. Take action on low-scoring capabilities as soon as possible!

I hope this provides some insights into the kind of benefits you can expect from your website and how well yours achieves them.

But also the things that you might need to speak to your web professional about improving.

In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.

 

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