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Is Your Website Effectively Marketing Your Business?
By Beth Silver, Doubet Consulting
Every fall, I evaluate Doubet Consulting’s website,
www.doubetllc.com, to ensure that we are still providing
information about our services in the most efficient manner.
Businesses have their own websites for many reasons. For
Doubet, we created our website to establish a greater
presence on the Internet, service our clients and potential
prospects more effectively, answer questions about our firm,
as well as heighten public interest. All of our goals were
to make Doubet Consulting a dominant practice.
The criteria I have for evaluating our website is the same
each year, but the results are often different. As the firm
has grown, so has our need to educate those who visit
online. Because we now serve clients throughout the country
(and we hope, soon, the world), it is important to highlight
different aspects of our business.
The 7 criteria I use to ensure that Doubet is putting its
best foot forward on the Web are as follows:
1. SWOT Analysis
SWOT analysis refers to analyzing the strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats for your website.
Does the website communicate the key features of
your business? Does it do so in the in the most effective
manner? Have services/mission changed to reveal new
opportunities for your business that you can promote on your
site? Has the market changed or, perhaps, your business
grown? What feedback have you encountered? What other
websites have you visited over the past year that you feel
have strengths your site does not have?
By conducting a thorough SWOT analysis of your website, you
will see what areas need additional focus. When looking for
outside resources to assist as you improve your site, a SWOT
will save you time and money. You will already have an idea
of the best methods to achieve your goals.
Content refers to everything available on your
website, including what you read, see and hear. Be a target
advocate for your firm. Review your site as if you were a
first-time visitor looking for information. Evaluate your
tone, grammar, writing style and all messaging criteria.
Your website may be a person’s first impression of your
Do you answer the questions a first-time visitor would have?
Is your tone appropriate for your brand? Also, evaluate how
often you need to update content. For example, if your
company makes a presentation referring to additional content
on the website but does not make the content available
there, clients may become frustrated when visiting the
website. Even worse, visitors may think this sort of
inconsistency is how your firm follows through on promises
and deadlines. Make sure that impression as professional and
engaging as possible.
Search engines are always looking for new content. Be sure
to schedule when new content will appear on your site. This
will help your site rank higher.
What does your site look like? Do you like it? Is
it built in a format that is search engine friendly? Some
formats are not. Does it showcase the brand image you want
for your company and the potential clients you are aiming to
If you are not happy with the design of your website, you do
not necessarily need a complete redesign. By evaluating
colors, images, font and text size, you may find that small
tweaks make a big difference. Don’t be afraid to speak to a
qualified web design firm for additional tips.
For some, site design is not the problem;
it’s the navigation within the site.
If moving from one place to another is difficult on your
website, potential clients may get discouraged and leave. Do
you easily identify what the purpose of your site is? Is
moving around the site therefore intuitive and effortless,
or do visitors have to think where they need to go and look
for the back button? Watch a first-time user meander through
your site and see what he or she encounters.
How well does your website perform on other
systems? Of course you know how it performs in your own home
or office, but do you know how it rates in others’? For
example, what is the download speed on different website
browsers and computer platforms? How fast do pages load on a
dial-up, cable modem or T1 setup? Consider, too, the
download speed of web pages with both small and large
graphics or of any documents available on the site. Your web
logs may provide information such as this to help you assess
a visitor’s overall experience.
The complexity of your site will determine
how interactive the user’s experience can be. For example,
can the website do simple searches? If the website has
discussion boards, are they easy to access? If your career
area allows a potential candidate to apply for a job, is the
process easy and interactive?
Statistics may not be the first thing you are
concerned about when looking at your website, but the
information they provide is invaluable. When I first
launched our website, I’ll admit, I never looked at our
website statistics. Today, I look at them all the time. I
like to know where people are going on the site, what pages
are most popular, and where new visitors are coming from. I
now know what key words visitors use to find us, which has
helped distinguish my market.
At the end of this fall’s website evaluation, we determined
our newsroom had grown throughout the year and so needed to
refocus our attention in that area. While a few years ago
our newsroom may not have been the focus, today more and
more visitors are first learning about us via the news
stories and presentations we give, as well as the articles
we write. For us, the goal is to make this part of the site
as user friendly as the other areas.