It’s never a bad time to review your website performance, but I would say now is a particularly good time to see how your site is doing. By identifying what needs to improve, you can put plans in place and make any changes so you can tackle 2020 with a website that will support you in achieving your goals.
I have assessed many websites over the years. I look at sites when I start working with a new client (read more about the most common website mistakes I fix). I assess sites on a monthly basis for clients on my website maintenance packages, and I’ve outlined how people can perform a website MOT themselves in this guide.
In this post, I’d like to show you some ways you can review your website’s purpose, visibility, content and speed. Some of these factors are value judgements, but there is plenty that can be backed up by numbers, for example by using Google Analytics to measure traffic.
Let me talk you through it.
What is the aim of your website?
The first thing you need to review is the actual purpose of your website. Can you articulate why you have a website? Are you clear about what you want your visitors to do when they are on your site?
Do you want your visitors to:
- Send you a message via a contact form?
- Buy something?
- Sign up to your newsletter?
- Follow you on social media?
- Do something else?
Whatever your objective, physically try doing it on your website and make notes of how easy it is to do so.
Consider how the process can be improved to make the user experience simpler and easier. Do people have an incentive to complete the goal?
Take a look at your analytics and make a note of how many people are completing the objectives, and when they do. Do any patterns emerge?
Test, test and test some more!
Remember to test your website on both phones and desktops. As of September 2019, website traffic in the UK is made up of 47 per cent desktop, 42 per cent phone and 11 per cent tablet, although this will vary based on the type of website.
B2B websites tend to have higher desktop use, whereas online shops and leisure businesses are more likely to be viewed on a phone.
Once again, you can see this information in your analytics to get a realistic insight into the situation for your site.
When you have a better idea how people are accessing your website, you can focus on making it easier for them to complete their goals on their preferred platform.
How are people finding your website?
Next you’ll want to consider how people have been getting to your website, and compare this against your marketing plan.
Take a look at your traffic measurement software, and ask yourself:
- Do you get a lot of search traffic? Which pages are people landing on?
- Which social networks bring people to your website and which don’t?
- Do you get any referral traffic from other websites?
You should also Google your business name (in incognito mode so you don’t see personalised results). Do you show up in search results? What does your search listing look like? Do you need to rewrite your page title or meta description to be more appealing to visitors?
Next, search for your type of business or keywords you’d like to show up for (e.g. Web Designer Stockport, SEO workshop Manchester). Are you on the first page or lost in the wilderness?
What content performs well?
It’s of crucial importance that you measure the success of different types of content on your site.
- What are the most popular pages?
- Do particular types of blog get more traffic than others? What resonates with your visitors?
- What are the most popular products and services you offer?
Next, look for spikes in your website traffic and try to deduce what caused them. Did you promote a blog on Twitter that day? Again, look for patterns. Why did one blog get more traffic than another?
When reviewing any sort of website traffic, check out your Bounce Rate (which is when someone visits your website but just views the one page and leaves again). Can you offer your visitors more useful content to keep them on your website? Perhaps you need to include more internal links in your page content.
How fast is your website?
Regular readers of this blog will know I talk about website page speed a lot and that’s because it’s flippin’ important (here’s why)!
The easiest way to test your page speed is to simply clear your browser cache and view your website. How long does it take to load the home page? Put yourself in the shoes of your audience – are you happy waiting for that amount of time for a page to load?
If your website is slow, you should also check whether it uses a lot of resource-munching plugins. Perhaps it’s time to move to a better hosting company?
Make the time
I’ve covered a lot of elements of website success in this post, but it really is just the beginning. Once you start tracking different metrics, you will likely uncover a goldmine of information that will allow you to make really valuable improvements to your website (and, ultimately, your business).
The best way to ensure you stay on top of these metrics is to schedule in regular time to look at the numbers, do a bit of digging, and make sure your website is working hard for you.
You can also download my Website MOT Guide, which offers practical tips for checking your site performance.
And, of course, you can book me to review your website!