Your web site is designed,
launched, and promoted. Now you are expecting visitors.
A commercial site should attract new buyers. A brochure
site should bring in new phone calls and clients. An
organizational site should attract users or even donors.
What if this just isn't happening? What if people come
to your site, and then leave before the first page has
even finished loading?
It may be time for a re-design, to reassess the layout, quality
and design of your site. Sometimes it needs only minor tweaks,
in other cases it may need a complete overhaul. How would you
know? Take the following short quiz as a guide.
When you type in your web address in the
address field of your browser and click Go, does your first page
snap? There are some sites that when you have clicked on a page,
you waite as one image after another loads, taking seconds to completely
load the page.
Can you tell from a 5-second glance at your
Home page, what the site is about, who it's intended for? Your
company's name and logo should be prominently displayed. The visual
elements of your site -- colors, typography, layout, images -- should
be suited to the nature of the company or organization and to the
viewers the site is intended to attract.
Does your site look professional? A professional
appearance does not need to have all the bells and whistles in the
universe on it, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg to achieve
a professional look. But achieving it does require more than a rudimentary
grasp of a few computer programs. Graphics and photos must be attractive
and of high quality. All visual elements should enhance, rather
than impede, comprehension. The layout should draw the eye to the
content of your site and there should not be so much going on that
the viewer can't focus on one thing.
Is there high-quality content on your site?
Even though you may be offering something that is attractive visually,
written content is what your viewers learn from and high-quality
content is what all search engines use to rate the quality of your
Is your navigation consistent and dependable?
Web site navigation comes in many shapes and forms. There is
simple text hyperlinks. There are graphic roll over buttons. There
is java script menus that display drill down topics. The point is,
does your navigation get your viewer around your site easily and
back to the beginning or does it lose them somewhere in no mans
land. If your site uses a java script drill down menu system, are
there text hyperlinks to various pages within your content or at
the bottom of the page. Search engines index sites by the links
to various pages, search engines can’t read the links in java
scripts when they are indexing your site.
If your site has numerous pages and topics,
is there a site wide site map and/or "search" feature? A search feature on a content rich site can assist the viewer
to find pertinent information. If not a search feature at least
a site map listing each page and a brief description of what’s
found on that page. This can assist the viewer and helps search
engines index all the pages of your site.
Does your site tell the viewer who you are
and where you can be found? On many sites, when you click on
the “Contact Us” page you find a phone number, email
address or a submit form. A web site is like a business storefront
or office. Even if you are a consultant, let the viewer know where
you are. Tell the viewer a little about you so they feel confident
about doing business with you.
Has the site been optimized for search engines?
This may not be an easy one to answer unless you know what to
look for when you view the source of your site. But, if you are
looking at your site on IE, you can go to the top of the page and
click on the View tab and then click on Source. You will now see
a lot of programming code. But don’t let that scare you. Near
the top of all web pages is an area under a tag called <HEAD>.
Look for the lines that way TITLE, META DESCRIPTION and META KEYWORDS.
If they are there, read what they say and see if they really relate
to your company. Your page content should relate to these TAGS.
Also, if your site is completely FLASH, or only images, you may
want to consider adding content rich text.
Is my site viewable across a wide variety
of browsers and computers? Checking if your site works as well
on a Mac as it does on a PC, may be difficult if you don’t
own both. But what you can do is download various browsers and see
what and how your site works. Try downloading Firefox, Netscape
and Mozilla browsers, install them and then view your site.
Are you proud to show off your site? Many
people just don’t think about this, but after looking at the
web sites of your competitors or other sites in general, are you
proud to show off your site?