How to Evaluate a Website: 5 Critical Factors

how to evaluate a website

Does the design of your website suck?
Can visitors easily navigate your content?
Are you receiving lots of web traffic?
Is your traffic converting into sales?

These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself when evaluating your website. A beautifully designed website won’t sell much if you’re not driving traffic to it. Getting lots of traffic won’t generate sales if your visitors have difficulty navigating your web pages or they are not converted by your content.

Many website owners look at their site from their own perspective and fail to see it from their customers viewpoint. Most visitors arrive at your site and ask “how can I benefit from what’s being offered on this web page.” They are mostly interested in what’s in it for themselves.

5 critical factors for how to evaluate a website

1. Design

Your design should match the content or products you are offering. For instance if you are selling dog food, design your theme around dog food. You could use a dog food picture for your website background or create a beautiful banner that includes your main title integrated with a great dog food photo. Place photos within your content that helps illustrate what you want to convey to your visitors.

Use flash, images, videos sparingly because they can easily slow down the loading of your web pages. Site speed is one of the factors Google uses to determine your rankings. Instead of creating a flash introduction for your home page, add a rotating flash slide show so search engines can still index the web page and visitors don’t have to wait for it to load.

2. Navigation

Any site content should only be 3 clicks away from the home page. The navigation menu can be on the left side, top or right side of your pages. Many sites these days use drop down navigation to help visitors find the content to internal pages.

Avoid using images, flash or javascript for navigation as these elements don’t get spidered by the search engines and slow the loading of your pages. Instead use XHMTL and CSS to control the layout of your site.

Create a site map of all your web pages. This not only helps the search engines to index them but provides visitors an easy way to easily scan the content.

Another method for easily finding your content is to add a search box (search engine). Some websites have this already built into their designs (ie WordPress) or you can simply add a Google search box.

3. Web copy

Your home page should emphasize your Unique Selling Position (USP). This is what distinguishes your site from your competitors so put a lot of thought into this. For instance you could mention you offer personalized service or have been in business for 10 years.

Stress the most important benefits your visitors will receive on your home page. Don’t try to cram all the information on this page. Instead link to internal pages from the home page to offer more information.

Use a conversational tone instead of corporate language. This makes your website more personal and your visitors will be more comfortable doing business with you.

Most visitors scan your web pages, so make it easy to read your content by breaking it up into short paragraphs, using headings, sub headings and bullet points. Include plenty of white space between the elements on the page ie between images and content.

4. Browser compatibility

Your site may look fine in Internet Explorer but fall apart in Firefox. Don’t assume that because it displays correctly on your monitor it will appear the same on others. To test for cross browser compatibility install the major browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari) on your computer. If you have the latest copy of Dreamweaver you can test your site within the software. Alternatively use Browserlabs (now integrated with Creative Suite 5).

5. Website statistics

Site statistics provide lots of valuable information. Your stats are usually included with your web hosting plan or Google Analytics if you created an account and have the code installed on your website. Your statistical information should include:

  • Number of unique visitors (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly)
  • Number of referring sites
  • Number and type of external sites linking in
  • Search engines used to access your site
  • Browsers used to access your site
  • Keyword search phrases used to find your site

By monitoring your web traffic you can quickly and easily see what marketing methods work and what keywords generate the most visits.

To maximize the effectiveness of your website continually work on improving your conversion rates e.g. converting your visitors into buyers or subscribers (if this is your site’s purpose). To do this, test different headlines, web copy, colors, prices, order buttons, opt-in forms, etc.

Do a thorough evaluation of your website at least once a year to stay ahead of technological changes (ie website interactivity), people’s surfing habits (ie using different keywords to find your content) and search engine ranking formulas (ie search engines often change the factors for ranking web pages).

And now I would like to invite you to claim your FREE report titled: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Traffic Generation

Herman Drost is the owner and author of
Web Design, SEO, Article Marketing


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  2. I had some difficulty viewing the site in Firefox on the Mac, but I still loved the post.

  3. Nice Thanks!!!! Appreciate your article

  4. Very helpful information

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