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Evaluating Website Effectiveness

Evaluating Website Effectiveness

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Published by John Follett

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Published by: John Follett on Sep 16, 2009
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05/11/2014

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How To Guide

Evaluating Website Effectiveness
Executive Summary:
This report has been designed to provide practical advice for evaluating your website effectiveness compared to your top 2 competitors. Communicating via your website is a key area to drive competitive advantage; don‟t miss this opportunity.

Read this brief 6-page report to:       Understand Website Effectiveness Best Practices Evaluate Your Website with a Proven Framework Identify Areas of Strength & Weakness Compare your Website to the Competition Develop a Website Program Action Plan Communicate Competitive Advantages Online

Read this report to optimize your website program to generate more leads, communicate externally, and enhance your brand.

www.demandmetric.com

Call a Principal Analyst: (866) 947-7744

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Table of Contents

Page

Introduction What Makes a Website Effective? Evaluating your Strengths & Weaknesses Compare Your Website with Competitors Develop a Website Program Action Plan Conclusion

3 3 5 5 6 6

www.demandmetric.com

Call a Principal Analyst: (866) 947-7744

3

Introduction
Websites have become the de-facto standard for communicating externally to customers, prospects, investors, potential employees, partners, and other key stakeholders. Surprisingly, since the boom of web activity in the dot.com era, many organizations have failed to maintain an effective website. As the executive responsible for managing website programs, it is your responsibility to drive this online channel forward and create a competitive advantage in online presence. Perform a brief analysis of the strengths & weaknesses of your own website, and your top 2 competitors, to determine who is leading the charge in this area of marketing. If you are being outshined, build the business case for a website upgrade, or at least, improve your current capabilities and web effectiveness.

What Makes a Website Effective?
The following section will describe 6 key areas that drive effectiveness, to help you understand what makes a solid website. Understand these criteria before doing an evaluation.

1. Clear Communication       Users immediately know who you are/what you do The website objective (provide info, support) is clear Target market is clearly defined and catered to There is a simple call-to-action (register for webcast) No irrelevant content or sections are present Right amount of info provided. Not too much/too little

www.demandmetric.com

Call a Principal Analyst: (866) 947-7744

4

2. Brand Consistency & Aesthetic Appeal        Pages follow consistent layout, color scheme, style Key marketing messages a clearly laid out No spelling mistakes or poor grammar Online branding is consistent with offline collateral Website reflects your expertise accurately Visually appealing and “nice-on-the-eyes” Clean, professional, and follows good design principles

3. User-Friendliness & Easy Navigation      Users can quickly navigate to each section Critical information available within 3 clicks of homepage Forms are automatically populated for return visitors There are clear navigation “paths” to key sections All links are active. No broken links or display errors

4. Search Engine Optimization & Structure      Website has been submitted & indexed by Google Meta-tags, keywords, page titles are in code Headers are text-based, not graphic-based There is a sitemap that links to all pages directly All pages have incoming/outgoing links

5. Content, Forms, & Contact Information       “Resources” section provides whitepapers & data sheets Webcasts or other value-added content is available Forms capture web leads by gathering contact info Forms are not too cumbersome or ask for too much info All departments have contact information listed Content added regularly to increase visitor return rate

www.demandmetric.com

Call a Principal Analyst: (866) 947-7744

5

6. Transaction Capabilities & Analytics      New visitors can make purchases without calling you Shopping cart is seamless, easy-to-use, and secure Analytics tell you who is on site, what their viewed Reporting provides web-traffic stats such as page views You can determine where your visitors came from

Evaluating your Strengths & Weaknesses
Use Demand Metric‟s Competitive Website Analysis Tool to quickly evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This exercise will only take about 15 minutes and will provide a benchmark to demonstrate future improvements. To build momentum for a web program initiative, distribute this tool to other stakeholders in your business to obtain their perspective on your current level of effectiveness. Once you have gathered the results, hold a meeting to discuss findings.

Compare your Website with Competitors
“Who has the competitive advantage for web effectiveness?” Using the „Competitor 1‟ and „Competitor 2‟ tabs in the Competitive Website Analysis Tool, you can conduct an apples-to-apples comparison of how your website stacks up to the competition. If achieving budget approval for a website redesign is going to be a chore, use the results of this analysis to build a Business Case for improving website effectiveness. Your focus should be on how this program will drive a competitive advantage for online communications, branding, lead generation, and public relations. www.demandmetric.com Call a Principal Analyst: (866) 947-7744

6

Develop a Website Program Action Plan
Based on the results of your competitive web analysis, develop a website program action plan to make your recommendations. Provide options for the program, including:    Do Nothing Upgrade Existing Website Conduct Complete Overhaul

Demand Metric has produced a tactical Best Practices Report on “redesigning your corporate website” which has the tools, best practices, and actionable advice to kick-start your project. You can also generate ideas with the following Research Notes:       Simplifying Search Engine Optimization Estimating Website Design Costs Free Web Analytics from Google Pull Prospects with Google AdWords Governing your Corporate Website Successful Blogs Improve Customer Satisfaction

Conclusion
In this day and age, websites are the primary communication vehicle for mid-sized organizations. Strikingly, most websites do not convey the professionalism, expertise, culture, or competitive advantages boasted by their organization. Conduct a very quick website effectiveness evaluation to determine if you could generate more leads and improve your corporate image by updating, upgrading, or re-tooling your current website. Market leaders, growing start-ups, and steady producers, all need to communicate clearly with customers, prospects, investors, potential employees, and other key stakeholders. Take ownership and evaluate your effectiveness. www.demandmetric.com Call a Principal Analyst: (866) 947-7744

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