Does your website do what it should? Reviewing the own website should be regular practice for everyone who maintains an online presence for a good cause or organization. At the same time, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes.
Here are 10 steps that can help you get the insights you need to make strategic suggestions to improve your own website:
1. Find it
Make a list of keywords for your site and try them on your search engine of choice (don’t forget to log out first). Does your website show up as intended? What other websites come up as competition? Is the description correct?
Pretend to be someone who has never heard of your organization, then go to your home page. What’s the first impression you get? What can you guess about the organization’s priorities, values and target audiences? How do they want you to get involved?
3. Role play
Using these guesses and your general knowledge of the organization, dream up a few typical users and needs. Go through them one by one: What would they need to do to achieve their objective? How easy is it for them? Don’t forget to test the search function.
The ultimate purpose of all websites is to encourage the user to take action. Identify the calls to action on your website and verify how the website leads your user to them. Is the text clear? Do you identify the next step? Do all forms work? How about the email follow-up?
5. Review the stats
You do collect statistics on your website, right? Take some time to scour through them. Which pages are popular? When do you get more visits? Where do visitors come from – countries, search terms, links? When do they leave? Have a look at the internal search terms, too. Take note of any surprises.
6. Get lost
Travel to a random page on your site and pretend you’ve just come here through a search query. Does the site provide you with enough context to understand how this page links to the organization? Is there a clear offer what to do next? Great. Repeat the test with a few other options.
7. Look at the plumbing
8. Follow the rabbit hole
Nowadays, your website is only one of many places your audience interacts with you online. Does your website make it easy for readers to subscribe to updates via email or RSS? How easy is it for them to share content with friends? Do you make visitors aware of your presence on social media platforms?
9. Map your content strategy
Your website lives from its content. Can you identify a logical, clear structure? Is the site regularly updated? Do you know which content you’re planning to publish when and where? How will it help you achieve your goals?
10. Let form follow function
Finally, look at the design of the site. Is there a clear visual hierarchy to your presentation? Do you use whitespace and images to make the site easier to scan? How consistent is your use of fonts, colours and other design elements?
These questions should give you plenty of ideas about small (or big!) improvements to make on your website.
What else do you like to pay attention to?