When was the last time your website had a good seeing to? No, not that kind of seeing to; I mean a website audit.
You are NOT your audience
Every successful communication activity has a distinct awareness of its target audience at its very core. But when we’re actively building a website or business blog, producing daily content in a variety of formats, it can be quite easy to lose sight of what first time visitors might experience.
Now whether you get someone on your team (or yourself if you’re a solo business) to conduct the audit or hire an agency to do it, I personally believe you need to make sure your audit should focus on five key elements:
Does the site still reflect the brand? Does it reflect and enhance what you’re trying to achieve. Is the overall site design dated (like all those web 2.0 style sites that are steadily ageing!)?
This is closely linked to design, of course, but rather than just focusing on the overall graphic impact of the site, logo, etc., usability is all about how people engage with your site. Are your call-to-actions clear enough? Do visitors have to work too hard to sign up to your newsletter or find your squeeze page?
Then there are the more practical considerations like how does you site load on different platforms such as the iPad, iPhone, as well as PCs.
It’s vital you regularly audit the content of your site to ensure you’re still communicating the right kind of message for your products or services and that it’s inline with your goals and target audience.
Often sites become too formulaic over time because the writer or writers get too comfortable producing the same kind of content. Are you relying solely on text posts, not daring to explore what you could achieve with video or audio? Maybe it’s time to mix things up a bit â€“ especially if you can find data that demonstrates what kind of content your audience like.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO might perhaps not be as hot as it was a year or so ago, before the advent of Google Instant and increasing impact of social media, but it is still important. For example, if you haven’t checked your redirects, page titles, link text, image text, and so on you could be missing out on valuable Google juice. Organic traffic from Google is likely to account for a considerable amount of traffic to your site. With a dose of SEO you’re working hard to ensure you get the very best kind of traffic.
What with the emergence of channels like Twitter and Facebook it’s worth auditing your own site for sociability. On a practical level it can be as simple as placing “retweet” of “like” buttons on your site; however, it could also mean shifting the rhetorical tone of your copy to make it less business-like and full of weasel words. Many B2Bs still get stuck in producing blah blah blah copy that sounds like it was from the 50s instead of picking up the more personal, informal tone of writing that’s taking over the Net. Of course, I’m not saying your should think about writing in slang; but online writing does have a strong conversational tone â€“ increasingly influenced by â€“ drum roll â€“ social media.
Because online marketing and communications are changing at such a rapid pace it can be hard to keep up. Like I said before, one approach is to bring in people to help you audit your site. Alternatively do the Google thing with 20 percent time and make a portion of time available to keep learning.