Does your website need a health check? How do you know if it is working as it should?
There are lots of reasons to regularly review the functionality of your website. Some are more important than others and could result in gains such as converting more visitors or ranking higher in Google search, increasing your site traffic.
The key metrics that we look at when considering the engagement of a website include:
- Bounce rates (people leaving your site before advancing beyond the homepage)
- Average number of pages viewed each time someone visits your site
- Average amount of time someone spends on your site
- Click-through rates (CTR) – how many times your email link or advert is clicked
- Returning visitors to your site
- Time spent on each page
- User experience – eg. how easy it is to find the information you need, how quick it is to load
- Is it responsive – ie. does it look as good on mobile as it does on a desktop or laptop
So, what can we do to influence these factors?
- Page Load Speed – Google makes a big deal of this and if your website loads slowly then Google will not rank you as high as it could. Plus, it’s not a great experience if an end user has to wait for a page to load…. they probably won’t and will just move on! The roll-out of Core Web Vitals will mean that a good score will rank your site higher in Google search results.
- Alt Tags – Alternative Tags are the text that goes behind all your images. Although most people don’t see these, Google does AND anyone with impared vision will have a screen reader that will describe the images. So you can improve your site’s performance from both a ranking and accessibility point of view.
- Meta tags – this is perhaps where people start glazing over because it is starting to get technical – but hang in there – this is REALLY important and not as difficult as you think. These “tags” are the building blocks of your page as far as the mighty Google is concerned. This is where you can define what the search terms are for individual web pages on your website.
- Navigation – think of Google as your car sat nav. You search for a destination and it gives you some results, you click on a relevant link and end up in a website. How easy is it to get around that site? Bad navigation on a website means people will just leave – but if they can find what they are looking for in as few clicks as possible, they will love your site and you! Keep it simple and give visitors what they need – unless you are a cutting edge design house or tech giant. Keeping the navigation as people expect – such as locating the contact link on the far right of the menu bar.
- Easy to find contact details – when someone has found and looked over your amazing website (built by Kehorne!) and they are ready to contact you, then make it EASY – if people can’t find your telephone number or email address really easily they will just give up and find someone else to contact. Place details in the header and the footer of every page and plenty of buttons with action words like “contact me” or “get in touch for a quote”.
- Are all the links working? Imagine the frustration of finding a good website that fits what you were looking for but when you investigate further and click on a link, an error message pops up! Not a good user experience and additionally, Google hates this and gives your ranking a black mark. So what do you do? In some ways it’s really easy; just click on links in your site and make sure they all work – just because it worked last year does not mean it will this year as sites change all the time. Links out to other sites are worth checking out – if those sites don’t exist any more then remove the links as soon as possible. If you can’t do this then ask an expert… Kehorne to the rescue!
- Are all the images there? Images that have gone missing leave a strange icon behind where perhaps links instead of actual content may have been deleted from their original location. So the simple fix here is to own all the images, format them for the website and that way they should always be there.
- SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) – is it enforced? SSL is the padlock that secures your web data so that it cannot be intercepted. It gives users to your site peace of mind, especially on shopping and e-commerce sites. However, Google wants all websites to be hosted on secure hosting going forward, so if you are not SSL then people may get messages to say the site is not secure and will surf away. An important fix to ask your IT department to undertake.
- Copyright up to date? You should have a copyright statement on your website that is current, otherwise it may look to the user as if your website is unloved and perhaps out of business.
- Basic Design – overall design will impact on the user’s experience and is something we cover in much more detail in our site health checks.
- Is it responsive? Your website should look as good on a phone screen or tablet as it does on a laptop or desktop screen. More and more users are engaging with websites whilst on the move.
Give us a call 01753 526192 or [email protected] to find out if your website could be working harder for you.