The Website Test

Written by

Erik Schmidt

If we’re honest with ourselves, few of us think our website is perfect.

But how can we know how imperfect it is?
 
Here are the main elements of a great website, and by judging how well you’re living up to them, you’ll be able to tell where you need some work. Rate yourself from 1 (abhorrent, non-existent) to 4 (amazing, I should be writing this blog post for you noobs) because it'll help you zero in on your real needs.
 

1. Is it a persona-based experience?

An effective modern website is purpose-built around the unique needs of your customers (read: not the decision-makers in your C-suite) and the business goals you have for them. At Burns, we guide each website build project through a formal user experience (UX) process, which helps us align with your team and get a deeper understanding of your business offerings, competitive insights, and specific goals.
 
How Burns works with personas and brands
 

2. Does it have a well-planned architecture?

In most cases, you should pare down core website architecture, content structure, and technical functionality – and restrain your design flourishes. Website functionality is, ideally, defined in a discovery phase that maps out search criteria, online forms, tracking/analytics details, registration components, newsletters, custom development, etc.
 

3. Does it articulate your brand story?

Your website must also convey relevant content crafted to the needs of specific user personas and integrated with your brand essence. Content should reflect your overall brand strategy; it’s not enough to just shovel some verbiage onto the internet each week for the sake of publishing something. Your SEO strategy can help you integrate a highly researched matrix of keywords and search terms – though never at the expense of the writing quality.
 

4. Was it built with SEO in mind?

The most effective websites are built – from the very start – with a long-term SEO strategy, so you can continually improve website rankings, traffic, and lead conversions, as well as your online reach. SEO optimization influences the final website architecture, page layout, copy development, and your long-term strategy, and it’s very difficult to shoehorn an SEO strategy into an old site.
 
ICYMI blog post: How content and SEO can get along
 

5. Is it designed for any device?

Visitors will interact with you from a growing array of devices, and that means responsive design solutions. This mobile design and development approach ensures that your content shows up correctly, everywhere. Consumers no longer tolerate subpar mobile experiences. They just flee and judge you.

 


Consumers no longer tolerate subpar mobile experiences. They just flee and judge you.


 

6. Does your CMS give you adequate control?

Today, it’s essential to employ a content management system (CMS) that allows your non-technical marketing and sales teams to easily adjust copy and images, write blogs, manage newsletters, share files securely, and convert leads through online forms. At Burns, most of our websites are constructed using the Kentico CMS for ASP.NET, which provides secure, browser-based, edit-anywhere capabilities and a powerful marketing and application infrastructure.
 

7. Is it social-media literate?

Truth is, your website is only one arm of your online strategy. In addition to integrating external social media feeds and channel promotions into the website, site managers can increase social traffic by including blogs, user forums, private portals, newsletter sign-ups, and other social components.
 

8. Can it adapt over time?

Finally, a modern website should be seen as a fluid marketing hub and not as a “set it and forget it” product. It should be monitored, managed, and optimized over time. It’s critical to identify specific project goals and success measures up front because those metrics should be reviewed frequently to find areas of impact and improvement.

 
So … how’d you do on the test? Are you riding high – or more aware than ever that your site needs work?
 
We have a free eBook for that. Download "Make your B2B website suck less" for actionable, better-right-away advice.