Some quick ways to evaluate your web site

Kathy owns a small distribution business that sells both locally through an outside sales force and regionally through a web-based catalog.
The effectiveness of her web site is directly related to how successful her business is. Kathy had spent hours developing her company’s web site; hired graphic designers to make it look good and web designers to ensure its effectiveness.
With a little investment on her part, new sales, new leads and improved communication with her customers was achieved. Kathy, however, wasn’t sure what else she could do to increase the effectiveness of her site.
The SBDC helped Kathy develop a web site effectiveness review form that she used to compare her web site to her key competitors. Thanks to researchers at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, we now have a structured way to evaluate web site performance using an easy tool for measuring the effectiveness of any web site. Whether you are new to the web or seasoned, the following 10 criteria are quick and easy ways to evaluate your company’s web site (some of the criteria may not be applicable to your business).
These criteria are best used as comparables against other sites that your business competes with or emulates. A downloadable Excel spreadsheet of the web site effectiveness review tool will be available to BBJ online subscribers or by stopping by the SBDC for a hard copy. After conducting a review, areas of differentiation and areas of improvement are identified that can lead to increased effectiveness of your site and ideally increased profits for your company.

1. First Impressions are always important, especially with your web site. If your web site doesn’t look professional, functions in an inefficient way, is hard to read or unattractive, visitors won’t stay. The following are the key criteria for evaluating your site’s first impression:

2. Navigation — being offered an easy way around your web site is critical to the success of the visitor’s experience and ability to find what they are looking for.

3. Content — Without valuable and useful information your web site will fail to achieve its objectives. The key to good content is that it is extensive and original.

Tom Dorr is the director of the Small Business Development Center at Western Washington University.

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