Have you ever seen the infomercial for the Ronco Rotisserie? Ron Popeil up there on stage wearing his apron and a big grin, roasting a chicken and leading the studio audience in shouting his product’s tagline — “Just set it…and FORGET IT!”
Ron Popeil is an American marketing legend (Veg-o-Matic, Popeil Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone), but it’s a good thing he’s not in the website business. If you want your website to do all that it should, you can’t just “set it and forget it.” It requires regular attention to keep it running optimally, to keep the content current and relevant, to ensure that it’s attracting its intended audience, and to measure whether that audience is getting what they want.
But wait…there’s more! Take this ten-question quiz to see if you’re giving your website the attention it deserves.
- Which page or section of your website gets the most visitors? Is it your home page? Your customer service page? Your product page? Are there trends or patterns in these numbers?
- What words are visitors typing into search engines that lead them to your site? Knowing the search terms that your potential customer uses to find you online can give you valuable insight into the way they think and talk about your product or service. It can also tell you how well your search marketing is working and give you information to improve it.
- For those top search terms, where does your website rank on the major search engines? Imagine, for example, that the most common search term that leads people to your website is “slices dices and juliennes.” Now imagine that you don’t rank higher than 15 for that search term in Google, Yahoo, or MSN. How much more business could you do if you showed up on the first page of search results?
- How do you measure the success of your website? The key word in that question is “measure.” The first three questions on this list are all measures or “metrics.” So are length of visit, conversion rate, signups, requests for information. What are you measuring?
- How often do you update content on your website? Ever visited a site and found that the entries on the home page were dated two years ago? Did you feel the doubt and distrust creep in? Now take a look at your site. Do you have anything new — and relevant — to talk about?
- What is the call to action on your website? For a shopping site, this one is easy: It’s the “Buy Now” button. A call to action is just as important for other page 2 of 2 sites. If you know the purpose of your site, you can create a call to action. Does your site have one? Can visitors find it?
- How do you update your website? Because it’s so important to keep content on your site current and relevant, it should be easy to update your site. Can you do it yourself? Or does it take a week and an act of congress?
- What does your most important site visitor want from your website? Have you identified your most important site visitor? Have you asked that visitor what he wants? There are a lot of ways to do this, including online surveys, live user tests, and online panels.
- How does your site fulfill that need quickly and easily? After you have an answer to question 8, put yourself in your visitor’s seat and run through your website. Better yet, sit with one of your customers while they use your site. Don’t talk, just watch and listen. Is it easy? Are they finding what they want? Are they finding what you want them to find?
- How does your website reflect your brand? This one should have been answered when your site was designed, but it’s never too late to ask. Does your website give visitors a sense of what you do, what you stand for, how you’re different, how you can help them? Does it do this through words, or through pictures? Does the experience of using your website cause visitors to feel good or bad about you? How do you know?
If you come up short on any of your answers — or you’re not sure how to get the answers you need — it’s time to get some help. Don’t let the money you’ve spent on developing a website — and the money you’re spending to host and maintain it — go to waste. Act now!