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STOP: Assess & Evaluate Before Rebuilding a Website

A lot of business owners don’t realize that a website represents the face of their brand, making its functionality essential to their success. But a website should stand for more than just a fancy showpiece used as a prospecting brochure. Your website should function as an operable mechanism that assists in building relationships with your customers. Like an exotic car that both looks good on the exterior and performs flawlessly on the driving terrain, your website should create a well-crafted online presence that represents:

  • The mission and purpose behind a brand
  • The brand’s true capabilities

Misrepresenting your brand’s online presence is only harmful to your company because you neglect its potential and everything it stands for.

Before you determine whether or not your site requires an overhaul, it’s important to assess your site and redefine your website’s strategy by following these key steps:

  • Perform an SEO audit
  • Understand and develop user personas
  • Refine the user flow
  • Compile a cohesive content marketing strategy
  • Create an engaging design
  • Apply “SoLoMo”

Performing an SEO Audit

Prior to a website rebuild,  it’s critical to assess its existing performance from a search perspective. According to a recent round of stats performed by leading market research company, comScore, Google dominates nearly 70% of the search market. Across the board, 98% of all search experiences began with Google and offered the best all-around user experience. Understanding the existing search performance of a website is critical as helps you completely comprehend your site’s visibility, accessibility, and interaction through the eyes of visitors. A thorough SEO audit encapsulates of the following areas:

  • Accessibility
  • Indexation
  • On-Page Analysis
  • Off-Page Analysis
Accessibility

Accessibility focuses on the components that ensure search engines robots have proper access into your website’s domain. These components include:

  • Canonicalization
  • Page exclusions
  • Page inclusions
  • Server health
  • Site architecture
  • Navigation
  • Loading speeds
Indexation

Indexation is an understanding of how search engines interpret information on a website. The three subsidies of indexation pertain to:

  • Page search
  • Site search
  • Brand search

One of the most overlooked aspects of search engine indexation in is comprehending the interpretation bots have a brand. Of particular critical importance is indexation in instances where a company’s name is similar to pre-existing business entities in the SERPs.

On-Page Analysis

On-Page analysis is perhaps one of the key ingredients to an SEO audit. Within this particular section, it’s imperative to emphasize the following areas of optimization:

  • Meta data
  • Keyword focus
  • URL structure
  • Heading titles
  • Anchor text usage
  • URL redirects
  • Broken links
  • Image optimization
  • General on-page content provisions
Off-Page Analysis

Everything that occurs outside of on-page activity and user interaction is integral to search visibility. Assessing off-page qualities is also critical to the overall health in the search space, including:

  • Inbound traffic
  • Authority
  • Trust
  • Social Signals 

Understanding & Developing User Personas

Every website (or, more precisely, each brand) should have a clear understanding of their target audience. Unfortunately, when the question “Who are you trying to reach?” is asked, most business owners tend to stumble. Establishing user personas is critical to developing a succinct user engagement and website traffic flow. Defining targeted users through the persona technique also assists with developing website infrastructure that is congruent with the way people access information on a website.

Refining the User Flow

Accessibility and interaction are key components to engagement on a website. The 1-2 click rule remains applicable because it’s essential that visitors are reaching the information they seek in an efficient manner. Everything from the structure of a navigation to defining the level depth to search patterns is important for a succinct website experience. The average attention span of a website visitor is extremely short: practically half of what it used to be a few years ago. Therefore, the presentation of information on a website’s individual pages and the overall flow from page-to-page should be presented in a targeted and engaging fashion.

Content Is King: Compiling a Cohesive Content Marketing Strategy

Even in today’s competitive digital marketplace, a lot of brands fail to understand the necessity of fresh content and the way it impacts brand visibility. Content is simply the way to:

  • Innovate
  • Educate
  • Develop thought leadership
  • Deliver unique perspective around specific area of expertise.

If a website contains outdated static content and does not generate dynamic pieces of information such as blogging, chances are it’s time to evaluate and work towards the development of a cohesive content strategy.

During the decision-making process, most consumers will absorb 3-5 pieces of information on the internet prior to determining on the product or service suitable for their needs. Regardless of what platform consumers use to engage with your website, if content lacks a focus or doesn’t emphasize the goals and objectives behind your brand, chances are majority of those visitors will be misinformed about your brand’s serviceability.

Creative and Engaging Design

The age old saying: “An image is worth a 1,000 words.” Engaging aesthetics on a website assist visitors with usability by helping them navigate through the site’s various areas. And design is not limited to how your website looks on a desktop. Mobile visibility has become an unavoidable component in user engagement due to the increased demand and usage of various mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets. The mobile aspect accounts for nearly 30% of all website traffic at this point in time, across multiple industries.

Additionally, the flat design UI movement has also contributed to the overall refinement of the entire user experience by seamlessly integrating desktop, mobile, and tablet experiences for users. If your website operates with an outdated aesthetic, it’s time to assess and revive its look and feel to adhere to modern standards.

SoLoMo

The SoLoMo acronym generated a ton of market buzz a couple of years back due to an increase in consumer demand for certain services. Combining Social, Local, and Mobile (SoLoMo), user experience is an essential component for user engagement in today’s competitive digital marketplace. As stated above, design plays an intricate part in the mobile visibility of a website however the overall mobile presence of a domain serves as a critical element to user engagement, prospecting, and lead generation opportunities. If your website does not contain elements of the social, local, and mobile essentials, chances are it’s losing potential. Enhancements such as social sharing integration options, localized focus, and a clear mobile presence attribute to improved overall user experience.

While the above are integral components for assessing and evaluating prior to rebuilding a website, it’s always best to start with a holistic SEO audit to help outline problematic areas in need of attention.

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