Just like performance reviews for employees in a business, websites need annual evaluations on their performance as well. The web changes very quickly, especially over the span of a year. So in order to keep your website relevant, there are a few things to consider. The keys to a successful website include, but are not limited to; its content, design, development, marketing, and web traffic. In this post, we’ll focus in on the design and development of a website and how the following checklist can help to audit yours for better performance.
Web Design Audit
Positioning your content to engage website visitors
Keeping fresh, new content on your website is important and can help drive more traffic to your business. And when it comes to the design of this content, it’s crucial that it is simple and clear for visitors to read.
The homepage should be engaging and allow the user to “learn more” with links, buttons, and clickable images. If your website doesn’t already utilize an image banner or slider on the homepage, you might want to consider this piece of interactivity that will attract visitors to click-through to the next page of information.
For interior web pages and landing pages, they should also follow suit with a simple layout. A sidebar is a great way to organize categories and/or second-level menu items.
Typography, Iconography and Photography
Along with having a consistent and eye-appealing color scheme for your website design, you’ll want to check to make sure that your content is supported by complimenting type, icons, and imagery. A mix of too many different font types/styles and images may confuse and distract the visitor.
To combat this visual chaos, utilize a “template style” approach to the interior pages of your website. Creating a template will keep things clean and very easy for your visitors to navigate through the rest of your site.
Adding or updating the visuals on your website will help maintain its appeal to your current audience.
Cross-Browser Compatibility and Responsive Design
As many web developers know, troubleshooting compatibility across several different browsers and screen resolutions can create one big headache. And when it comes to upgrading your site to stay current, you’ll definitely need to keep it in mind that a fancy CSS3 transition or HTML5 animation may not work in older browsers or mobile devices.
Giving your website a once-over for elements that may create issues will be beneficial to your business. You want to ensure that users will be able to view your site the way it’s intended to look like from any browser. If they receive a sub-par experience, you could potentially lose a sales lead.
Quality Assurance testing is key when considering responsive design for mobile devices. Utilizing simple media queries in your CSS file or using a framework, such as the Genesis Framework by StudioPress for WordPress, will help your visitors from having to pinch and zoom to view your website on their mobile devices. However, you can’t assume that things will automatically resize and align the way you think they will. Therefore, take the time to test different devices and screen resolutions for your website when taking the steps to make it responsive.
Multimedia and Functionality Updates
Does your website still utilize Flash? Have you optimized your photos for the web? Do your external links still work properly? If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions, you may want to consider doing an assessment of your multimedia use on your website, as well as making sure your visitors are able to navigate to and within your website without running into a 404 or error page.
If you’ve ever experienced slow loading images or the dreaded missing image icon on your website, you should make sure that all images are properly optimized by checking the file format. The most common web image file format would be JPGs because it’ll reduce the file size of the image, therefore preventing a wait for load time.
What’s worse than a slow loading image? Broken links. You never want to send your users to error pages, so quickly check to see if there are any broken links in your website by running it through http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/ or using Google Analytics tutorials.
Maintaining a successfully designed and developed website requires additional time and work. Taking the time each year to assess these areas of your website will help to keep your business relevant on the web. Check out our other blog posts to see how you can also improve your PPC and SEO campaigns on your website!