What would you expect to see in a website critique or analysis report?
There are many web development/design and SEO companies that offer a website critique or analysis as a method of generating leads. If you were to sign up to receive one of these reports, what would you ideally expect or hope the report to provide you and what format would you like to see in. If it were a paid report, would you expect something different then a free one.
This is an open community question as opposed to seeking expert advice. Everyone's ideas are welcome.
Hello Paul - a free report may have the same valuable information as a paid one. The difference is obtaining access to an expert that can talk to the diagnostic and help you with recommendations that are a priority for your business objectives. More importantly I suggest getting access to your analytics data (Google Analytics is for free) which may give you some clues on where to start. Here is my latest blog post on what you need to get access to as a company owner: http://www.bdc.ca/EN/solutions/smart_tech/smart_tech_blog/Pages/avoid_held_hostage_web_developer.aspx
Wishing you nothing but success
The quick answer to how their site can help them make millions of dollars. ;)
That was a bit cheeky. I would imagine if I was a customer asking for my website to be critiqued, I would want to know if the site's goals were clearly put forward. If my company's purpose was understood. If my site's design/look and feel was in line with my site's purpose. If my messaging was in the right voice and tone to achieve my company's objectives. If my site was easy to navigate to find what the visitor was looking for. If my website was up to web standards in terms of page load time, on page and off page SEO tactics, and analytics analysis (in terms of my site's Key Performance Indicators).
And now for something completely different. To this point, all of the comments are technical in nature with apparent validity. As a business designer and strategist, however, not a techie, I must weigh in.
All the tech detailing doesn't overcome bad business design, poor marketing strategy, and self-centric execution in point of view and written copy.
See if you recognize this one: The client doesn't know what he or she wants. So you ask questions and develop a site. Suddenly, the client knows what they don't want... what you just invested hours/days developing. You eat round 1 while praying round 2 fits the evolving, ill-defined "strategy."
Add some of these basic market questions to your assessment:
1. What are the top 3 outcomes of your proposed website?
2. Describe how your business model generates revenues?
3. Who are your top 3 target audiences... and what matters most to them?
4. Tell us your company's purpose, vision, mission, and values?
Listen / read closely... if they don't have answers to these questions, anticipate your cost of development to be at least 50% higher than your project budget. Fore warned is fore armed. I hope this helps make all you techie tons of money with less stress and in fewer hours.
The overall interface should make it cheaper and easier to sell an easy-to-design product. Then the big companies can sign agreements with the small business owners to get some of that content for cheap or free, and develop it into a larger product that actually costs money.
As far as web statistics pages go, I would like to recommend more substance on the application of values to web promotion. For example, I like Yahoo Small Business' feature of preferred key words, which appear in the historical web stats page. These words can be used to help Yahoo or some other search engine to hone in on which cited keywords are most descriptive of the website. Since these 'key keywords' can be updated, this gives the website owner some flexibility to improve performance, and eliminates a lot of competition from those who are simply disinterested in what they are doing.
In general, more ability to promote a website as a legitimate product is what some or all website owners are looking for. This might involve more 'real life fantasy' kind of stuff going on, by which I mean more networking between interfaces, more incentive in value-terms such as marketing or search results for efforts at specialized content, and extra imagination to accept that anyone who fits the bill, fits the bill.
I actually offer this not only through my agency, but also on platforms outside like Fiverr and others.
Without going into the actual content (I am sure you know what kind of things you should be putting in there) you have to think LESS of you and your knowledge, and more from the clients perspective.
A highly detailed report means nothing if your client who receives it doesn't understand a word of it.
Keep to the "Kiss" philosophy "Keep it Simple Stupid".
I always have in mind that these reports are to help them, not to make them feel stupid and confused.
They ARE confused, hence the fact they asked for your service, I therefor try not to make them feel any worse.
Go through the points, clearly, with the way forward to fix them, using language they will understand.
At the end of the day everyone is concerned about the sales and their bottom line. So we ask them access to their analytics or add our one then study them and let them know the areas where they can do improvements and the available options to do so and If there are multiple options we ask them to do split testing.
It all depends on what questions you need to ask to make yourself more competitive online. So far, the question seeps to be, "how can I fix my site?" For that answer, I would agreed with the list that Ranjith posted here.
If the question is, "how can I become more competitive online?", then I would recommend a competitive benchmark type of analysis. We do what we call "content marketing audits" and these reports take a look at your top 2-3 competitors online from a marketing perspective.
I think some of these services like SiteBeam could provide quick glimpses into your website and serve as a conversation starter but I wouldn't use them as a decision making tool for website changes or SEO edits. All the expertise & skill that goes into design, engineering and SEO/SEM can't be replaced by service that scans your site. It's a good starting point (especially if it's free) but connecting with experts who can take into account all the variables that impact your business and match it with their experience in those areas will ultimately be the most impactful resource.
I personally would like a clients opinion of how they perceive my website. Not too much detail just bullet point list of things they feel could be improved easily without any input from the web developers. The idea that someone might give me free and easy to implement tips is a powerful one.
On the SEO front, I would like a simplified report and again with handy small tips with things I could do.
At the same time for the credibility of the company on the technical front, I would like to see a lot of technical detail also just in case the customer likes some light bed time reading.
Apologies for the response moving from being a customer to being a provider - I am in the web development business myself and as such it is hard to stay in one role:(