How does your website rank against today’s best practices?

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The demands and pressures on websites today are greater than ever.

There is more competition when it comes to ranking on search engines like Google, creating more innovative designs, and developing strategic marketing content.

If you’re not fully aware of the best practices and are unclear as to how your website measures up, this article is for you.

We’ve put together our industry know-how to curate a 30-point web assessment that helps rate your website. The assessment is divided into three main sections with 10 points for each section: technology, content, and online presence.

You can read through our explanations for each item and give your website a pass or fail grade.

Let’s see where you stand!

website_assessment_scorecard
1. TECHNOLOGY

Using a CMS Are you using a Content Management System (CMS) to update your website and publish and organize content? A CMS allows easy website management without technical know-how, such as HTML. This helps save time and money when doing updates but also makes it more likely that you will keep content updated. An out-of-date website does nobody any favors.

Clean & modern design Does your website have a clean and modern design and layout? Essentially, does your website look like it came straight out of the 90s or 2000s? Could it use a modern and more functional facelift?

Mobile responsive Is your website responsive to mobile devices including cell phones and tablets? Have a mobile responsive website allows your site to rank higher on search engines and enhance the user experience.

Error free Is your website free from errors on the screen or in the JavaScript console? These errors are normally found in the backend code of the website, something that you would not normally see by simply visiting the website.

Fast load times Do your pages load in less than 2 seconds? Longer load times can lead to bounces (people leaving your page quickly) and user frustration.

301 redirect in place Do you redirect all www traffic to your domain or vice-versa? 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another, which can be useful in various situations like when someone types u7solutions.com vs https:u7solutions.com or even www.u7solutions.com. These should take everyone to the same final URL thanks to 301 redirects.

Friendly URLs Does your website use clean “human-friendly” URLs? In order words, are the URLs on your website easy to remember and type in if someone were to want to go to a specific page.

Robots file & sitemap Is your robots.txt file in place and set up properly AND do you have an XML sitemap? This is important for SEO purposes but is not found on your website. It is something that is hidden in the backend.

Google Analytics tracking Do you have Google Analytics tracking setup and configured? Google analytics allows you to track various useful data on your website and stay informed on it’s performance metrics.

Spam protection Does your website have captcha challenges or honeypots in place? This is those little boxes that you see that ask you questions before you submit on a form and helps prevent robots from posting spammy content to your web forms.

 

2. CONTENT

Strong & simple messaging Does your website have easy-to-read, clever, and catchy content that is both simple to understand and attractive to your target customers?

Clear call-to-actions Do you use well positioned and enticing call-to-actions (CTAs) to prompt users to convert? Many CTA characteristics can help make or break the effectiveness of your conversions, such as the colour of buttons (do they stand out?).

Easy menu navigation Is the main menu on your website well organized, structured and is it easy and logical to navigate through the pages?

Keywords & keyphrases Based on the content on your website, do you use keywords and keyphrases that are right for your business and industry? This will impact your search engine ranking since google prefers showing pages that have a higher keyword density associated to the search terms.

Strong titles & headings Are all your titles unique, specific, and do they contain a keyword or keyphrase? Are you using H1 and H2 headings correctly?

Accurate meta descriptions Are your meta descriptions (found on the back end of your pages) unique and do they accurately describe their pages? These meta descriptions are for SEO purposes and very important for your website.

Anchor text & ALT text Do all your images have the ALT text populated with proper alternative text? Do all your hyperlinks have the anchor text populated accurately and with relevant keywords or keyphrases? These are both important for SEO and for the visually impaired.

No frames or flash Is your website free from HTML frames and Flash objects? This is in respect with the way that your website was built, and search engines cannot index this content.

Testimonials Does your website showcase your company’s portfolio or collect and publish customer testimonials? Testimonials support your credibility and portfolios demonstrate your work.

Regular new content Do you regularly publish new content on your website such as articles, blog posts, news items, events, portfolio items, or other? Stale websites don’t rank as high on search engines as websites with regularly new content.

 

3. ONLINE PRESENCE

Google My Business Is your business registered for in Google’s business directory? If so, is your Google My Business profile filled in completely and properly? Optimizing your profile has several advantages you don’t want to miss out on.

Consistent NAP Is your business name, address and phone number consistent (spelt the same, no extra characters) throughout the internet (directories, web pages, social media pages)?

Obvious location information If location is important to your business, do you have your key location information easily accessible on your website and visible to search engines?

Pay-per-click ads for lead generation Are you using Google Adwords or other paid ad services with effective landing pages to generate new leads and attract the customer base looking for your goods or services?

Pagerank for your keywords Are you well-ranked (on the first page) on Google and other search engines for your top industry keywords?

Positive Online Reviews Do directories, social media networks and Google contain enough reviews of your company? If there are negative ones, do you make considerable efforts to resolve them?

Directories & backlinks Is your website listed on popular online directories such as Yellow Pages, Yelp, BBB, and others that may be essential in your industry?

Content marketing Are you actively creating new shareable content and leveraging this content appropriately? An example of sharable content is blogs, case studies, user manuals, infographics, graphics, and videos and this is the type of content you need to start an online conversation, build engagement, and bring leads back to your website.

Email list & newsletter Are you pushing content to an email list through a newsletter and actively working to grow your email list? Email marketing has the highest ROI of all online marketing tactics. Do you have a newsletter sign up on your website?

Social media engagement Are your social media efforts strategically and actively engaging your followers? Social media is integral to our daily lives and is an essential platform for building a network of contacts for your business and creating awareness of your brand, products and services.

 

YOU’RE FINALLY DONE!

Now tally all the pass or fails and see how you measure up!

It may be a harsh reality to see the results, or a pleasant surprise (hopefully the latter). Whatever the case, good job on conducting the assessment.

If you read this far but have NOT completed the assessment, I want to present the option of U7 doing the work for you. For a special offer of $150, we can conduct the assessment and schedule a follow up call to walk you through the results.

We will discuss what elements of your website are working well, which ones could use improvement, and provide you with advice and recommendations. Plus, if you choose to implement any of our recommendations, we’ll put this payment towards those improvements as a discount.

I’m confident that the knowledge and insights you’ll gain from this assessment will be invaluable and help you plan and decide where to best focus your online efforts and energy.

Lastly, if you have changes you want to make to your site, feel free to reach out for a consultation on web modifications or an entire new design.


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Sara Gill
Sara Gill
As one of our Digital Strategists, Sara approaches her content with a flair of creativity and technicality. With a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Ottawa, Sara is a frequent contributor to the U7 Solutions blog. Outside of U7, she is a nomad, dancing into new destinations, and volunteering for environmental projects.
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