It’s surprising how many small businesses neglect their websites. Things like out of date product information and broken links are not just irritating, but may completely deter potential customers, so it’s important to review your website regularly and make sure it’s working effectively.
There are several issues to consider when giving your website an MOT. Here is a checklist to help guide you through the process:
1. Does everything work?
Check that everything on your site is functioning OK from a technical point of view. Do your forms work properly? Are there any broken links? Are there any loading/display issues? Most importantly, is your site optimised for mobile? Over half of all UK web traffic is now on mobile, so make sure you’re not losing out.
2. Can users find (and do) what they want?
Check that your users can quickly find what they want on your site. If possible carry out some testing with people who are completely new to it. Is it immediately clear what you do on the home page? Are your calls to action obvious enough? Is your social media presence visible? Is it easy for users to engage with and/or share your content?
3. Do your stats tell you anything?
Check your stats to see if they tell you anything about what’s working well on your site, and what might not be working so well. How long do people spend on your site? Which pages do they visit? What search terms do they use?
4. Is your website up to date?
Check that all of the content on your site is up to date. At the very least this should include contact details, events, product information, testimonials/reviews and press releases. While you’re doing this, it’s a good opportunity to double check that your content is also error-free and fit for purpose. If you don’t already update your site regularly, you might consider devising a strategy to do so (eg by creating a blog).
5. Is it consistent?
Check that your website is consistent in terms of things like branding, use of images, page structure, tone of content, use of headings and so on. Sites that are consistent in these ways exude professionalism.
6. How does it compare with competitors’ sites?
Check out what your competitors are up to, and how your site compares with theirs. Are you missing a trick? Are they doing something better than you?
7. Does it need freshening up?
Check whether your site is looking a bit stale. Does it just need a bit of freshening up? A set of new images might be enough, or you could consider a change of template (which can be quite straightforward if you’re using a content management system like WordPress).
Jenny Brindley is a freelance writer and editor who specialises in working with SMEs to enhance their web presence. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.