Our quick list that could improve your website
It is a good practice to step back from your company or association website every few months and take a good hard look. But who has the time? Enter the Parthenon Seven Steps to a Better Website checklist. Much like the checklists that promise flatter abs in just minutes a day, this checklist takes only minutes but can have a very big impact on what your audience sees and thinks about you and your brand. Remember, after spending so much time getting your website exactly the way you want it, you aren’t done. Re-evaluate every few months, to figure out what works, looking at the website as if you had never seen it before. We suggest using the Parthenon Seven Steps to a Better Website checklist:
- Read the home page.
This is your visitor’s first impression. Specifically look for spelling errors and dates. Remove any content on your home page that has a date and no longer appears to be “current?” For example, if you have “latest news” that is six months old, consider adding some “new” news or renaming this section of your website.
- Consider Your Commitment to new Content
A build-it-and-leave-it website is no longer sufficient. Content brings people back to your website. This is why blogs, news updates, case studies and other types of new content are critical to developing a website that people want to visit and revisit. Do you have a commitment to creating new content? (If not, we recommend you think about doing so). If so, are you keeping up that commitment? For example, if you have a blog, are you updating it at least once a week? If not, users notice and may seek out websites with more relevant and up-to-date content.
- Check Your Forms
Most website have contact forms or other short forms that users have to complete to accomplish a task. Double check that all of your forms are working accurately. Carefully read the post-form thank you page and any emailed auto reply messages. Lastly, make sure you are only asking for information you really need. Most users loathe filling out mandatory registration forms, especially when they’re trying to do something simple.
- Become a User
Do you have a way for users to create a user account to perform certain actions on your site (respond to blogs, create a profile, write a review)? If so, go through the account creation process with the eyes of a person new to your site. Is the process quick and easy or clunky? Are instructions and thank you messages clear and concise? Does the user know where to go or who to call for help? Once you receive all the information you need to be a user, can you log in with ease? Can you easily identify various tasks you can complete as a user?
- Check for Typos and Bad Grammar
Click through your most visited pages. Take a close look at the content, and at any words in graphics (A site we recently reviewed had a spelling error in the headline of a Flash presentation). A mistake in spelling, punctuation or grammar makes you look sloppy and careless. More importantly, it’s embarrassing. Don’t underestimate the impact of poorly written and poorly edited content.
- Find Your Phone Number and Contact Email
There are few things more frustrating than not being able to locate a contact phone number or email on a website. Sites should list their contact information on every single page. (By the way – something that is even more baffling? Filling out a “Contact Us” form and never hearing back.)
- Consider your Launch Date
How long has it been since you launched your website? If it has been more than two years, it is time to consider a redesign, or at least a thorough review of your content and images. Visitors can spot a neglected website within a nanosecond.