5 Questions To Ask When Evaluating Your Website

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The world is full of challenging and often unanswerable questions.  What came first, the chicken or the egg? Who really built the pyramids?  What the heck does the ending of Inception mean?  Thankfully, when it comes to digital marketing, you can usually always find any answer if you look hard enough. Even for one of the most common and baffling question we all at some point face. Is my website doing the job I need it to do? In order to find that answer, here are 5 other questions you need to ask yourself:

#1: Does the site accurately represent my brand?

Here’s where we start. It’s often the most simple and most complicated answer. Your brand is a promise you make to your audience about your product. Your product or service needs to fulfill that promise through your customer’s experience. You need your site to be the digital representation of that experience. Take notice of your copy, photography, colors, and fonts. Do they all work together to communicate your brand’s promise? If you know your brand in and out, this should be obvious to you.

#2: Is the site a “closer”?

How can you get your audience to buy from you when you don’t ask them to buy? Think of your website as a salesperson – not just any salesperson, but your best salesperson. Now depending on your product or service, you might not ask your site to be responsible for closing the deal, but it needs to be responsible for selling something. Maybe that’s booking a tour, submitting an inquiry, downloading a brochure, or signing up for a demo. Your site needs to have a clear “sale” or conversion(s) to strive for. In order to be successful, the site needs to be armed with content to “close” that conversion. Strong content needs to leverage key selling features and benefits, answer all your customer’s questions, and anticipate and overcome their common objections. How can you have a successful salesperson without being able to communicate those things?

#3: How does the site perform analytically?

If you’ve read the Weekly Knowledge Drop before, then you know I often talk about Google Analytics and how using it is crucial to really understanding your digital marketing and website performance. If you really want to know how things are working, then you’ll need to have GA set up and working properly. If you’re just starting out, check out my top 5 metrics to to pay attention to, but here they are in a nutshell:

Conversion Goals – This is a big one. Are your users completing the action you want them to take (form submissions, downloads, bookings, etc.)?
Time on Page – Are people spending enough time on the site to consume your content?
Bounce Rate – Are you encouraging users to stay on the site for multiple page-views? Or are they just leaving right away?
Top Performing Pages – Are the pages getting most of the love the pages that are leading to more conversions?
Source/Medium and Referrals – Where are these users coming from, and does it result in qualified traffic?

All of these metrics need to tell a story of success and positive trends. If not, take a closer look at the content on the site and make sure the value to your users is clear and actionable.

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#4: Is my site properly optimized for SEO?

Good old SEO. We all love SEO right?! I have a feeling some of you might have let out a sigh of frustration. Well, I hope we can all at least agree on SEO’s importance. Imagine not being listed in the phone book 20 years ago (man, remember phone books?) Search engines are how people find you when they need you; that’s just how it works.

Now, understanding your site’s SEO performance can be tricky. You can use Google Search Console, which will be a crucial part of managing your SEO efforts, but there are third-party tools that can also be used to quickly take stock of your site’s rankings (my personal favorite is SEMrush). Once you’ve picked your tool of choice, here’s what you should check out:

Top Performing Keywords – Specifically “non-branded keywords,” meaning keywords that do not contain your brand name. Yes, it’s great to rank well for your brand name and it should be easy to do, but since those people are looking for you, they’ll likely find you anyway. What we really want to do is get in front of people who might not know about you yet, but are actively looking for your product or service. This is what leads to new customer acquisition. So filter out any search terms that contain your brand, and take note on where you are ranking well and where you are falling short.

On-Page SEO – See some gaps? Not ranking for your desired keywords? Take a look at the on-page SEO best practices, such as title tags and meta descriptions. Are you making the most of the character limits? Are you inserting those high-value and relevant keywords when it makes sense? Make sure you have those best practices in place to ensure your SEO traffic and rankings are moving in the right direction.

#5: What do I do now with what I’ve learned?

Now that you’ve done your quick audit of your site, what actions can you take? Did you find that your site isn’t performing at the level you expected? Is it time to plan for a site redesign? Well if it is, you now have hard data to build actionable next steps. Hopefully this exercise demonstrated how your web performance reflects your marketing success and will lead to a birth of a new and improved marketing strategy.  And if you need help performing an audit, request a free audit from us, and I will work with you to complete one.

Dan Seitz is the Director of Strategy at Hawthorn Creative and has helped execute marketing strategies for clients from all over the hospitality industry. He thinks The Godfather is overrated, but Predator is a masterpiece.

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