How to evaluate a website design?

We all know that websites are the shop window for companies online, and with Google processing over 3.5 billion searches per day, it is imperative that your website is optimised to support search as well as your customer experience. According to a recent survey by Forbes, 38 percent of visitors will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive. So, what are the key factors you should consider when evaluating your website design? And why are they important? If you are optimising your website, or you’re planning a website redesign, this article will provide 5 key considerations for analysing your website.

  1. Analysing your usability

The first step to evaluating your website, is understanding your usability. User experience (UX) design is the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. UX design involves the entire process of defining the product, including branding, design and function; and are to a degree interchangeable with UI (User Interface Design) and Usability. Good UX will ensure that path to purchase and customer journey experiences are optimised –with good UX the transactional experience of your website should be smooth, intuitive, explanatory and ultimately will ensure that online consumers enjoy their time searching your content and swiftly find the products and services relevant to their needs.  UX helps understand consumer motivations, values, as well as functionality and features; it also supports accessibility and the creative look and feel of your website.

2. Content remains king

According to a recent survey by HubSpot, 24% of marketers plan on increasing their investment in content marketing. Content marketing is defined as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.  Ensuring your web evaluation includes a root and branch review of all your content assets is an essential part of a continuous website evaluation.  Keeping content fresh, whilst ensuring the pillar content your consumers will be searching for is up to date and easy to search for is an important factor to optimising your website.

3. The importance of style

A website is modelled around a clearly defined set of customer personas, however the look and feel of a website should be consistent with the business brand and values. Consistency is an important feature of brand and whilst branded content in other channels, potentially directing to your website must be by nature succinct; dwell time on your website should evoke a positive emotional response from online users.  Style evaluation across colour palette, graphics and icons, layouts, typography, photography and rich media can help identify gaps and friction points in your user journey . Analytics tools such as website heatmaps can help analyse these areas and we will talk about this later on in the article.

4. SEO

So, you have your web assets refreshed and under control, now it’s time to look at how to ensure it is easy to find.  In a 3 cornered digital marketing strategy we should be thinking about:

1. Brand Presence – do your ideal customer profiles (ICPs) know who you are and what you do? 

2. Outbound Marketing – pushing content out to ICPs and potential buyers

3. Inbound SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

With 1.83 billion websites live globally in 2021, SEO’s job is to get top positions in search engine results, and as to be expected in a 20 year-old, heavily saturated sector this has become ever more challenging and competitive. Search engine optimization and social networking all start with strong website design.

Winning share of attention in the race for those coveted search engine rankings requires a solid strategy based on 5 pillars:

  • Keywords Including key phrases and terms – the real estate focusing on the key terms central to your brand or product offering and a longer tail of terms and phrases that relate more loosely to your headline terms. Build into pillar content designed to be easily found by search engines, but try to avoid key word stuffing where possible.
  • Image Content – optimise Image content for fast loading and quality and are related to the page content on your site as images form a significant part of searchable collateral and should be tagged with title and keywords
  • Social Media – potentially more of a media channel than a component of a core SEO strategy, but nonetheless essential for social commerce and redirecting consumers from their favourite platforms to your website, although many now have their own social commerce trading back ends to keep consumers tied into their platforms. The size of your social networks will have an impact on SEO as search engines take these social signals into account.
  • Web Navigation – well-ordered website navigation made simple for google bots to crawl and find content, analysing links, internal site navigation and content material making sure that information makes sense to search bots and your consumers.
  • URLs and sub navigation – each page of you site has a unique IP and URL making sure these URLs are simple and logical, use simple re-write rules to simplify page URLs and it will impact positively on your site visitor’s experience of your website5.

5. Using the right analytics tools

Once you have identified the areas of focus, you need to look at tools that can help you analyse the performance of your website and make improvements based on your findings.  For many marketers and UX designers heatmap tools provide an easy-to-understand way of analysing your website. In this next section we will look at the different heatmaps that are available to help you evaluate your website design.

  • Interactive heatmaps

Interaction heatmaps measure active engagement on a webpage, allowing you to see the type of interaction that users have with your website. Interaction heatmaps can measure mouse movements, clicks and scrolls, giving you an in-depth understanding of how consumers use your website and the types of interaction that they have. The downside to these types of heatmaps is that data can only be gathered once your website has gone live. This is because data collected can only be gathered from live traffic from users. But what if you could get insight on your website’s performance before it went live? This is where predictive heatmaps come into play.

  • Predictive heatmaps

Predictive attention heatmaps utilise artificial intelligence to predict where a typical audience would be likely to look when viewing your content, using artificial intelligence. The data is displayed as a heatmap, providing a graphical representation of consumer attention. This can provide users with a wide range of analysis before their website has actually gone live. This helps speed up the design process, as iterations can be factored in before the website is launched. It also removes the biasness out of decisions, as designs can be data-informed rather than subjective.

The variety of heatmaps available, whether website interaction or website attention heatmaps, can be combined to give you a clear understanding of your customer’s journey, allowing you to optimise the path-to-purchase journey to improve your customers user experience.

Heatmap analytics can also help you to increase your click-through rates on key promotions or landing pages through predictive analytics. A/B testing can be carried out to find the most effective design for a landing page, optimising the customer journey and increasing conversion rates.

Website heatmaps can also be used alongside other web analytics tools like Google Analytics for a more in-depth understanding of website performance.

Need help improving your website design and performance? Dragonfly AI is an instant and highly precise content optimisation solution, showing in heatmaps and actionable metrics what the human brain sees first. Discover how our Google Chrome Extension is proven to dramatically impact website conversion rate optimisation.

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