Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Website grader: score your website as a business asset

What happens when your website doesn’t perform?

Your business loses … warm leads, potential customers, informed referral sources. Use a website grader to score your site now. Discover where to update, edit, redesign or upgrade to help more people find you and respond.website-grader-seo-scorecard

Your website is a marketing asset

Why is it critical your website is at the heart of your marketing? Because it’s the first choice, the first path to your organization when people begin their search for what you offer.

Whether someone’s searching for a specific product or service; or you’ve been recommended; or an ad is seen or heard; where would you start? Online. Most people do.

That’s why focusing attention on your website—keeping it updated, planning the content and design for your audiences—is a critical piece of your marketing strategy.

Remember, you own the content on your website, you control it. That’s not the case if you focus your marketing on social media. Social media marketing is an add-on to your website, not an “instead of.”

Yet, where do you start?

Everyone has a different opinion and approach to building or rebuilding a website. Some focus on product details, especially if you’re an ecommerce site. Designers often feel design is most important (I disagree). Others focus on SEO and optimizing for search results. And many more push content marketing—providing content that’s both search friendly and valuable to the visitor.

All are important at some level. These are the basics:

  • What platform to use, WordPress, Square, Drupal, or ?
  • How your site is structured.
  • How your website looks—color palette, fonts and overall design.
  • How much copy to include. (Hint, enough for good SEO, and formatted so it’s easy to scan)
  • Whether to use video.
  • How to optimize so people can find you when they’re searching.
  • What level of detail to include.
  • Whether you need landing pages and special forms.
  • The level of functionality and interaction to achieve.

All important considerations. Depending on what you offer and who you need to reach, some areas will be more important than others.

(Plus … your site MUST be mobile friendly!)

Whether you’re starting from scratch with a complete redesign and rebuild, or just want to improve what you have now, start from a marketing (not technical) perspective.

  • Who do you want to find your website, and what are they looking for?
  • What content, videos, images or product/service details will help them understand why you’re the best choice?
  • How do you engage visitors further to lead them to a final buy decision?
  • What information do you need to capture for ongoing contact?

Start with a holistic view of your audiences, positioning and marketing. Your website must align with, enhance, guide and connect with the audiences you’ve targeted and the positioning you’ve defined. Then deliver what’s needed to capture attention and prove your value. Last, compel your prospects to take action.

Score yourself on essential components

We’ve created a scorecard of the absolute essentials for today’s audiences. Use it to grade your current site. Fix the areas where you score low. Enhance the areas with a higher score.

The website grader addresses these critical areas:

  1. Is your home page effective at a glance?
  2. Is your content audience-focused, written from their point of view? (More “you” than “we.”)
  3. Is your site well-designed for a positive and smooth user-experience?
  4. Does your website function well on all browsers and different size screens, both mobile and desktop?
  5. Is content engaging to draw the viewer in? Are you offering details to help them choose you?
  6. Is your site Google friendly?
  7. Is your content easily found by those who are looking for what you provide? (optimized for search and your audiences)
  8. Are you analyzing and updating regularly?

Fulfill on these vital areas and you’ll have a website that powers your marketing. A site that’s an asset to your business, a 24/7 sales driver, and a useful, inviting resource for your audiences.

Download your website grader here.

GET MY WEBSITE SCORECARD

BONUS: Tips for readability

People don’t read websites … they scan. Your copy read and scan quickly. These are rules we follow to improve the user experience and usability of a website. How does your site score for readability?

  • Body copy line length, no longer than 75 characters per line (not spread across a full-page width)
  • Body copy font size no less than 16 pixels, and can easily be 20 pixels, depending on the font
  • No reverse text, use dark on light only, with enough contrast for older eyes (In small areas or for headlines, reverse text is fine, just not for large areas of body copy.)
  • Score your copywriting with the Flesch Reading Score, keep text active and at a 6th to 8th grade reading level

Ready to rev up your website?

Use our website grader to think through your website as a living, breathing marketing asset. As the heart of your marketing it will pump energy into your sales pipeline and reach audiences who have never heard of you, but who could become customers or clients.

Another bonus … a guide to basic SEO

In the same guide you’ll find a guide to basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In these 5 steps you’ll discover the value of keywords, page titles and page descriptions—important meta data to help searchers find your site.

Optimizing each page around a specific keyword or phrase will deliver content that fits what your audiences are looking for, and a website that keeps Google happy. Very important!

When you’re ready for a marketing-driven website …

We’ll partner with you and your team to develop a website that integrates clear, actionable copy with search engine optimization; a website which offers a user-friendly design to show off what makes you different and better; a site designed to capture attention and compel response. Contact us at 503.883.4433 or drop me an email to talk further.

You might be interested in these posts about marketing-driving websites:

Get the website grader with bonus SEO “how to” details here. Questions? Add a comment or question below.

GET MY WEBSITE SCORECARD

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer’s four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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