In this increasingly digital world, our websites have become more complex. They carry the weight of both messaging and SEO, and a hidden structure of tools and analytics designed to enhance analytics and promote lead generation. At least that’s how it is supposed to work. How can you know if your website is just limping along or if it is a lead-generating competitive tool to engage with prospects?
These 12 questions will help evaluate your foundation and tools and take an objective assessment of what prospects see and experience when they visit your site.
1. Are you using a Content Management System (CMS) and Google analytics?
Best practices for websites have changed substantially over the last 5-10 years. To be agile and responsive to market changes, you need the flexibility to quickly add new content and you need to be using analytics that track visitor engagement.
2. Is there robust rush hour traffic to your site or sleepy weekend traffic?
Analyze site visits over the past year. Your website SEO needs to engage the eyes of bots that roam the internet and grab links to content that is then indexed for search terms. If the number of visitors to your website is trending downward or flat you may need to refresh your keywords and add long-tail search terms.
3. Is there content on your site that engages prospects at all stages of the sales funnel?
Prospects are out there searching. Do an asset inventory to determine if you have the right mix on your site to engage at top level searches (white papers and blog articles), middle stage searches (case studies and infographics, checklists and Best Practices), and the decision-making stage (offers, promotions, demo’s).
4. Is the site navigation providing enough breadcrumbs to encourage a long visit?
Think like your current clients and prospects. Can they easily move around the site to find what they are interested in and get back to the homepage? Orphan pages that lead nowhere are lost opportunities and shorten visits to your site. User-friendly is not an overused term. Use Google Analytics (it’s free and a must have) to understand your site’s performance characteristics.
5. Do you have compelling Calls-to-Action?
Call-to-Action buttons (CTA) are just that: offers to site visitors to take an action: sign-up for a demo, view a webinar, or download asset. CTA buttons are designed to quickly build curiosity and connect visitors to your content. When done strategically, these buttons begin the process of driving leads into the sales funnel. You should have at least one on every page – and the CTA should relate specifically to the information it is located near. Look through your prospects’ eyes at what they are seeing and evaluate whether the CTA buttons are compelling enough to spark action. Better yet – test! Try different colors and words in each offer and change page placement to see what gets the most “click-through” activity. And no…”Contact Us” is not a CTA.
6. Does the website design support the story of what you sell?
Evaluate whether the colors and images still look fresh. Those stereotypical avocado green appliances from the seventies look funny for a reason. They are out-of-date and out-of-use. Don’t get stuck in your own “70’s.”
7. When is the last time buyer personas were updated?
Buyer personas should be refreshed regularly. New decision-makers and influencers emerge and you cede ground to competitors by ignoring this important step since buyer personas are crucial to creating engagement with both effective keywords and copy.
8. Is the website copy engaging to prospects?
Is the copy clean and crisp? Is the voice friendly and comfortable for prospects? It’s a sad waste of SEO, tools, and navigation efforts if you get the prospects to the site but either put them to sleep, offend them, or do not connect with them.
9. Have there been substantial changes to your organization?
Take a look at your “About Us” section. Does it reflect your current company personality and personnel? Does it reflect in quick and engaging copy what your company does – and why visitors should care? Sometimes growth happens so quickly these important changes get lost.
10. Have there been changes to the products or services offered?
Sit in the prospect’s chair and see if what your website tells you is an accurate reflection of what is being sold. Scrub your site for old services and products you no longer offer. It’s easy to get sleepy and not trash-can what is no longer available. Or perhaps a segment of your business has taken off since your last website refresh and needs more prominence. Make sure your website messaging and product/services section is telling the true story of what you offer.
11. Is there an effective mix of social media buttons so that blogs and other content can be easily shared?
Prospects should not have to get out a map and a flashlight to share content or sign up for your blog. WAIT! If you don’t have a blog, that’s a big red flag for today’s B2B websites. If you need proof, read this. Make sure your social media buttons are prominently displayed and give some thought to which ones to feature. Choosing the right ones goes back to the buyer persona. Is your buyer likely to engage in Facebook to share info on your content? If not don’t include the button.
12. Is your website mobile-friendly?
Prospects increasingly search for information on smartphones and tablets. Your website should have a responsive design that makes the experience interactive and viewer friendly on a variety of mobile devices. Many companies are going the next step and creating dynamic mobile apps for their services.
A thorough evaluation of your website will likely bring you to a decision point: refresh, renovate, or start over. Whether you decide to bury the old site and start fresh or simply facelift the site you have, answering these questions before starting the process will help ensure that the changes you make are not just cosmetic. Meaningful changes aimed at lead-generation take a lot of planning and research before a word of copy is written or an image is chosen.