4 Questions to ask of your website - and the answers

Whether you're commissioning a new website or looking over your existing site, take a step back and ask yourself these vital questions..

Is the design of your website suitable?

We can measure suitability in different ways but consider three basic characteristics that your website should aspire to be:

  • User-friendly
  • Targeted to your audience
  • Reflective of your products or services

That's pretty much the order of things - put another way we could say that, we should make sure that, nothing stands in the way of a potential client / customer navigating your site and being able to get in touch, nothing puts them off so much that they won't make contact and that your values are clearly set out.

How are search engines (and people) 'seeing' your website?

Search engine visibility is partly down to the way your website is built. That's a very broad statement but again it's very important that nothing on your website stands in the way of it being discovered and indexed. You should check for:

  • Accurate and proper use of headings (h1, h2, h3 etc.)
  • Human-friendly, engaging text
  • Non-bloated code

The right way to use headings on your website pages is to have one main headng (h1 tag) per page that accurately describes what the page is about followed by one or two secondary headings (h2 tags), then h3, h4, h5 etc. Headings should be used to break up text and give an indication of what is to follow in the next couple of paragraphs. See this tutorial at W3schools on the correct use of headings...

Writing for search engines should be avoided - write for your audience.

Make sure the code that runs your website does not out-weigh the text - this is sometimes referred to as text/code ratio. Make sure your code is efficient and that you have enough text to engage a visitor and attract the attention of search engines.

Is your content 'shareable'?

Social media is huge and cannot be ignored. Ensure that visitors can easily share your content via social media widgets. Check these widgets regularly to make sure that they are up to date and functioning. As a priority you should have the following sharing tools available:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Linked-in

In the case of Twitter you may wish to consider using "Twitter Cards" to give your visitors a richer sharing experience. Facebook occasionally 'hiccups' when sharing images and content from a website, especially when the content is brand new - this is sometimes down to Facebook not having 'scraped' or indexed your content properly. You can de-bug this and force facebook to get your latest content by using their de-bug tool to 'scrape' the latest information from your newest pages. An often over-looked facility in Linked-in is the creation of your own business page on which you can share your blog posts, thoughts and promotions. You might also want to consider Google+ and Pinterest.

Is your website mobile-friendly?

In 2014 the number of users of mobile devices began to outstrip the number of people using desktop devices. If your website is not optimised for mobile and desktop devices, you're not creating a good visitor experience. You don't have to have a complete re-design but you will need to re-organise and re-think your content to fit within a responsive framework. You should aim to:

  • Produce one responsive site rather than a mobile and a desktop version
  • Prioritise and organise your content
  • Optimise your text and images

Your website is available to view on screens from smartphones to TVs so it can be tricky to find a solution that doesn't involve producing more than one website. Thankfully 'responsive' frameworks are the answer - they allow us to present the same content to any user without duplication of content. Basically your content is shuffled or re-organised according to the screen size it is being viewed on. This is why you must prioritise your content and optimise text and images to fit all possible situations. That can be daunting but using a framework such as the excellent Foundation by Zurb can help you achieve this.

I'm here to help you achieve the goals mentioned above. I can provide a free, no obligation assessment of your website and an outline plan of how you can improve its performance and visibility. Just get in touch - I look forward to hearing from you.

Chris Fickling

4 Questions to ask of your website - and the answers