This blog site is not meant to be any information that is distributed to the general public. It is to serve as shared documentation between the DNSTC developers; however, if you find something useful and would like to use it, go right ahead.

Friday, January 4, 2013

7 questions to consider about your website

This article is for business (or website) owners.  Throughout the years, I have created websites for company’s from scratch, redesigned websites that already existed, and with some have just made  a few suggestions.  No matter what project I encounter, I always tell the owner that the primary goal of any website should be that it is your “digital” sales force out there on the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

If you are investing money to have a website in place, then it should be working for you.  You wouldn’t pay an employee to come into your office or store everyday to just sit in the corner would you?  If you really think about it, your website can be your cheapest employee.
When I sit down with a client I ask them the following seven questions:

1. Do you know who is coming to your site, what they are doing, and how long there are on your site?   If you say no, or don’t know… big mistake.  How can you really measure if there is  problem with your site or if your site is hitting the goals you want it to accomplish?

2. Why do people (and potential customers) want to come to your site?  If I have said it once, I have said it 1000 times.  People do not go on the Internet to read advertisements.  They go on the Internet to find information.

3. How often to you update your site?  If I come across a website that has information that is more than a month old, I move on, how about you?

4. If you are providing links to other places, do they give you links back? How many websites on the Internet has links back to your site?  Most people don’t understand, that if you have several outbound links and none coming back into your site, that you are actually hurting the site instead of helping it.

5. Does your site lead people into finding out more information?  We have all heard this before, call to action items.   Let me explain this a little bit more, like I just explained to a new client of mine.  By nature, when we are reading information, we do not have the tendency to look around a page.  We read the content, then move on.  Well, if you do not have call to action items (what to do next) as part of your text (or conversations), you just lost a potential customer.

6. Are all of the most important pages on your site SEO friendly?  A website owner may not be able to answer this question, and this topic has volumes of books written, but here are some simple checks that you can use to get a little heads up.
    1. Search for your site.  Does it come up on the first, second, or third page of search results.
    2. Look at the titles of the page.  This is a good hint, if they are all the same, nobody optimized the site or they didn’t know what they were doing.
    3. If you have no tracking in place, it is a good indicator that you site is not Search Engine Optimized.
7. Does the design of your site represent you or your organization?  This is a pretty self explanatory question.  WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO THINK, when they see your site?

Like I said before, these are questions that I base my initial recommendations on when I sit down with a client for the first time.  There are several other items to consider, but this is for just getting started.

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