Websites are like cars: we know we need them, but don’t know how to assess if they are working optimally. While many business owners recognize the importance of a website, they often don’t know what constitutes a good, or bad, website.
Sites are technical and can be tricky to understand, but are a very powerful brand and marketing tool. In fact, 75% of consumers admit that they judge a business’ credibility based on their website. With more than 44% of users sharing negative feedback online, it is important to create a positive experience for users on your website and utilize its power to help grow your business.
As we do with our cars, we should regularly check the health of our websites. The answer to the following three questions will help you determine whether your site is helping or hurting business: 1) Is your site easy to find and 2) Once a visitor arrives, does s/he engage and take the action you want? 3) Are you driving new business leads from your site?
A website analysis tool is the quickest and most efficient method to measure the condition of your site. It will help show you if your website is optimized to deliver real business results. To do so, Warschawski developed Fast Lane (fastlane.warschawski.com), a free tool which assesses your website in minutes. You can enter your website URL, and Fast Lane will calculate the site’s overall health.
While Fast Lane checks many components of your site, the main factors can be grouped into three overarching categories: Performance, Usability and Search Engine Optimization.
Performance of your website is akin to the engine of your car. It’s what makes your website run. Performance encompasses 3 components to make it drive: information architecture, technical configuration and functionality. These components are relative to the standards and best practices advocated by Google and other search engines. Google and other search engines want their users to have a great experience, so if your site is below their performance standards, they will rank your site low in search results. This can have an impact on where your site comes up on search results and push your site further down on a page – making it easy for users to miss your site and, unfortunately, go to one of your competitor’s.
Usability refers to how easy it is to control the engine; it’s the steering wheel. This focuses on how easy it is for users to engage with your website and its content across different devices (desktop, tablet and mobile). With more than half of all website traffic coming from mobile devices and most Americans accessing the internet from 3+ devices, it is more important than ever for your site to function well across different device types. If visitors cannot find the information they are looking for easily, they will likely leave your site quickly and go to another site to get what they want.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting traffic to your website by way of relevant search terms. It’s how your website is ranked in Google search results. It is important to understand what keywords your target audience is searching for so that you appear high in the search results. This is a great way for people who are looking for your service or product to find you easily before going to a competitor.
Fast Lane analyzes all three components listed above and reveals where there are weaknesses, providing you with a quick and easy way to understand the health of your site.
With the Fast Lane tool, simply enter your website’s URL, and Fast Lane will calculate your site’s overall performance. Fast Lane will provide a score with a detailed rundown of what was assessed and how your site ranks for each component using a color scale. A green flag alongside a component indicates you’re good to go. A yellow flag means some attention is recommended. If the flag is red, immediate action should be taken to address the issues.
Just like you take your car in for regular maintenance, you should run your website through Fast Lane regularly and make changes as necessary to ensure it is running smoothly and helping you grow your business.