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EVALUATING

WEBSITE
EFFECTIVENESS

HOW-TO GUIDE
Evaluating Website Effectiveness
HOW-TO GUIDE

This report has been designed to provide practical advice for evaluating your website effective-
ness compared to your top 2 competitors. Communicating via your website is a key area to drive
competitive advantage; don't miss this opportunity.

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 exter-
nally, and enhance your brand.

Introduction
Websites have become the de-facto standard for communicating externally to customers, pros-
pects, 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.

2 EVALUATING WEBSITE EFFECTIVENESS HOW-TO GUIDE


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

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

3 EVALUATING WEBSITE EFFECTIVENESS HOW-TO GUIDE


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

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 gath-
ered 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.

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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 guide on Preparing for a Website Redesign 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

Bottom Line
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.

5 EVALUATING WEBSITE EFFECTIVENESS HOW-TO GUIDE


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