Scope Your Website!
April 4, 2011
Just like scoping a sewer line, you might like to know if your website has any "cracks or blockages." Most business owners assume that if the website looks good to them it's "all good." Sort of like a homeowner and their sewer line. The truth is websites can often have broken links or faulty coding that isn't apparent to the casual viewer but can be devastating when Google comes looking at your site.
There are two major factors to analyze-the technical foundation of your website and its visual appeal (likability) and sales attributes.
There are many free resources out there that can do an online scan to find out if your website has technical issues.
Technical issues can include old technology that is no longer supported by today's web browsers--making for slow load times or incomplete visual display. Another is broken links. Your website may direct people to pages that are not working. Then there's improper coding-the back end code, which you most likely never see, could be missing a simple bracket or small piece of code.
Here's a free tool you can use to scan your website. It's from Hubspot and it's call Website Grader. Found online , this little tool will give your website a composite number. A strong site that is well built should score in the 90 plus range with web grader.
Technology for website development has advanced significantly over the past few years. Most websites developed today should include a CMS (Content Management System). A CMS allows the business owner to make simple changes to their website such as text or image changes. A good CMS also gives the developer a strong and consistent platform from which to develop websites that are easy to update and keep fresh.
Google likes clean code with no problems. When Google sends a spider to crawl your site, they are looking for information to categorize your website into the proper "boxes," to be drawn upon later when someone is looking for your company or a plumber in your market. Clean code on your site allows for easy crawling. Broken code or old code or even the use of Flash on your site can keep the spiders from figuring out what your website is offering.
If you would like a free detailed diagnostic of your current website you can get one from my company, Plumbing Pro Marketing. There is no obligation, it's completely free and it will give you more detail than the website grader report -we'll even explain your results and give you some free recommendations on how to improve your website. Just go to this website and click on the "Free Analysis" button.
How does your website perform for you? Do people call you because they liked your website? Some plumbers get calls BECAUSE people liked their website.
Visual appeal is a subjective area. Unlike technical issues, which are all math and science, visual appeal is hard to quantify other than leads generated from your site.
If you don't get regular leads from your website, there are at least one of the following going on:
Your site is not easy to find on Google.
Your site does not encourage someone to do something
Your website is not appealing
Visual appeal includes a clean professional look. Consumers want to pick the right guy first. They look at a few sites and then pick one. If your site is not on page one of the search results, you are probably out of consideration.
Here's the Consumer Search Engine process:
1. Consumer needs a plumber
2. They Google "City Name" + "Plumber"
3. They look at the list from Google - usually the top 3 choices.
4. Of the 3 websites they looked at, they call one.
How do you stack up in this tough environment? Are you at the top of Google in your market? How is your visual appeal when they stop in? Does your site project a clean, professional, upbeat image? Do you make special offers and have an obvious contact phone number and form?
A visually compelling site is fundamental to marketing your business in 2011. Being top ranked in Google is also critical. All this is easy to say, hard to execute but necessary if you want to win the Internet battle in your market!