Why Start With a Website Review?
By Richard Wain On March 27, 2018 - Consultancy, Ecommerce Website, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Do you need a brand new website or is your current site just in need of some TLC? If you’re dissatisfied with your current site it can be tempting to just throw it out and start again from scratch.
On the other hand, you may like some aspects of your website (e.g. how it is organised) but not others (e.g. how those annoying Flash animations bore into your brain on loading).
Even if the website itself is not salvageable, having someone go through it with a fine-tooth comb can clarify which aspects you might want to carry forward into a new build and which you are happy to consign to the digital dustbin.
Vu Online offer a comprehensive website review and we find that this helps us to understand a client’s brand and priorities much more quickly than if they were to just come in to our offices with a blank slate (though we love blank slates too – in a different way!)
Here are four aspects of your website which a detailed review should cover:
We start with SEO because there is absolutely no point in designing a site, adding content and building a brand if no one sees your efforts.
SEO (search engine optimisation) is a combination of very techy and slightly less techy factors that need to be in place for Google (and other search engines) to:
a) find you, and
b) place you nice and high in their website rankings.
Some of the factors that we will look for are code errors (using the W3C validation tool), domain strength, security (SSL) certificates (especially important for e-commerce sites), broken links (the ones that lead to the dreaded 404 error). If you are looking to overhaul and update your website, rather than build a new one, we can fix the errors we come across.
We will also look at so-called ‘on-site SEO’ which covers your headings, sub-headings, content, keywords, images and links. We have more detailed information elsewhere on our site but, in a nutshell, the industry keywords that you want to rank for need to be placed in the right places and in the right proportions to please both humans and search engine robots.
Looking at the aesthetic design and user experience of an existing site can help us to understand what your intentions were when building your original site and how these can be preserved while following good design practice and modern trends.
For example, you should aim for a consistent use of colours throughout the website. Unless you are very careful, changing colour scheme between pages can confuse visitors who may think they have arrived at a different site. Limiting your colour palette to a small range is also recommended although, as with all things, rules can sometimes be broken if there is a good reason!
Likewise, a consistent use of font throughout the site is cleaner than bombarding visitors with letters of all sizes and angles.
To optimise user experience, you should also aim for consistent logo placement, headers, footers and navigation elements.
Content includes everything your reader is exposed to in order to inform them and motivate them to engage with them. Text and images form the bulk of content on most websites although videos and interactive multimedia content are growing in popularity. Audio-only content (e.g. podcasts) may also be relevant in some industries.
When reviewing your content we can look at how to ensure it appeals to your target audience and is combined with a clear call-to-action (CTA). We will also examine your content from an SEO perspective to ensure you are sending the right relevancy signals to Google while not overstuffing it with keywords.
Everything about your website should come together in a clear, consistent way to form your brand identity. As we work through your existing website and compare it with what you are trying to achieve we will become familiar with your brand.
This will give us a head start as our team starts to pull the information together to design our first wireframes and prototypes, reducing revision time and making most efficient use of your time and spend.