Do It Yourself Website Review
I am so annoyed by nagging problems. Even little things like fixing the spindles on the porch railing at home. But that porch railing isn’t making me money (in fact I’m procrastinating because it costs me money to fix it). The worst nagging problems are things like website tweaks that you know would increase conversions, sales, and morale if only you had 20 minutes to focus on it.
So I say make that moment today. Here’s a quick breakdown on how to give yourself a site assessment. I break them down into 7 sections right off the bat. I look at SEO, List Building, Monetization, Internal link structure, Voice, Funnel and Social Media integration.
Let’s start with SEO. First I got to Google and type in: site: http://yourwebsitename.com and see what pages are indexed. I then look at page names, permalink structure, and meta descriptions. What I want to know is how optimized are you. I also want to know what your page names are to see if you’re attracting newbies, buyers, experts or nobody. You can learn a lot about your own habits from this exercise. Ideally your permalinks (url’s) are set-up so that your content “title’ appears right after the slash. For instance http://yourwebsitename.com/how-to-grow-avocados/
What you might find is that your urls are not that helpful. Sometimes I see the domain url trunk followed by /cat=69 or /2012/03/5464 or /state/county/city/public-works/contact-us Think about this. . . in all those examples you could really boil it down to the domain and the extension. For instance http://yoursite.com/nashville-public-works-contact-information. With SEO, the overall goal is to prove relevance, so look for relevance in everything you can. (At this point, don’t change anything just start making the list of things you could be doing better).
You’d be remiss if you didn’t look at the Search Queries part of Google WebmasterTools. This is where Google tells you where every one of your keywords is ranked. That’s where you get to celebrate and see what’s working. Here I like to scour the results looking for trends. I personally recommend you read them aloud. Reading a list of keywords 500 deep is not easy when you’re looking for trends. But reading them aloud and you’ll instantly recognize when you say the same word over and over again. When you find similar keywords popping up, you know Google is finding you somewhat relevant for those terms. And that can be a great thing!
Then take a look at your list building efforts. Where are your calls-to-action? Where is the email opt-in form? What’s the offer and does it look like that offer is being tested. Are you getting opt-ins during blog comments or not? (If they’re going to put their name and email in to leave a comment, you might as well ask if they’d like to be on the newsletter list). Basically how does the whole thing work?
Then on to monetization. Are you using AdSense and is it optimized? Are there offers built into your site? And what part of that is visible above the fold, and what part is able to be engaged when you scroll down. Every site is different here. A law firm is likely going to monetize leads, not traffic. The question is can you tie money to site visitor entry points? Can you tie it to site activity? And if you can’t tie money to either activity, entry or contact form submission . . . why do you have a website?
Internal link structure goes back to both SEO and user experience. Are you using a related posts plugin correctly? Is your linking optimized for the search engines? Is your linking optimized for the reader who wants to get smarter in every blog post? There’s not much to say about that other than take a piece of paper and see if you can draw your site structure – not from memory but from going page to page drawing links.
Another critical area is voice. And that one is easy – does your site have any character to it? Or is it straight bland posts. Period.
It goes without saying I look at the complete sales funnel. How does it work today, tomorrow, seasonally and in tune with your audience’s changing level of sophistication.
Finally, but not least important is your social media integration. Does your audience believe you’re an influence? Do they identify you with your niche? Are you visible everywhere or just to your sphere of influence? And are you using your profile to bolster your plan? Go to Klout and see what Klout thinks you’re influential in. It’s just a computer algorithm, but it does have some relevance. If your niche isn’t in that list – you’re probably not using social media right. You can do the same thing with Twitter lists. What lists are people putting you in? Business or Football?
It’s not hard to do your own objective site review, but it does require that you step back and look with fresh eyes. Be critical. Do it 10 times and frame your questions in terms of where your audience came from. Look at all those things from the perspectives of your dad, your friend, your colleague, someone who doesn’t know you, someone who got there by accident and your loyal followers. Does your site appeal to all of them, or just a segment?
Most importantly know that EVERYTHING you do online is a sacrifice. If you choose to use Adsense you sacrifice opt-ins. If you choose to have a shopping cart you sacrifice affiliate income. If you choose to appeal to the masses, then your conversion rate will be acceptably tiny. Know what you’re sacrificing and own it because a good site makes sacrifices to serve an audience and a goal.
If you’d like to have me do a complete video site review for you, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you want to do it on your own, feel free to ask any follow up questions in our forum at http://FreeWeeklyMastermind.com