The 7-Point Homepage Audit for High-Converting Websites

Minute Read

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Making you a shiny object in the world

If you’ve been wondering how your website measures up, here’s your chance to find out. Is it shining brightly, or could you use a bit of spit and polish? The great news about websites is they can be changed, rearranged, and refreshed faster than you can spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – and you know I had to go look that up, just for you. Here’s a simple homepage audit that you can do to diagnose your potential issues.

What is a Homepage audit anyway? There are seven essential elements on your website that affect the user experience. Let’s look at the best practices that deliver the user experience to keep the browser on your site longer. We’re going to look at each section, and within the section, we’ll give you four grading levels.

  • Exceptional
  • Passing
  • Needs Improvement
  • Unsatisfactory


1. Top Section

We are looking at everything above the fold. The old newspaper term describes everything you can see before the reader needs to scroll down the page. This includes all the images, headlines, sub-headlines, buttons, and the clarity of the messaging. Some describe this as the 5-Second Rule, where the visitor looks at a website for 5 seconds, closes their eyes, and shares what they think the site is about.

Exceptional

The headline/sub-headline, supporting imagery, and call to action immediately and clearly answer the questions: Who is this for? What is the problem, does it solve? What do I need to do next?

Passing

The copy and imagery are engaging, but the visitor must scroll a bit before understanding the problem being solved and the exact marketing being served.

Needs Improvement

The copy and imagery are vague to both the solution and the market, and there is no obvious call to action above the fold.

Unsatisfactory

The copy and imagery provide no immediate details about the problem the product/service solves, nor is it obvious whom the product/service serves.


2. Imagery

Images, photos, and drawings are essential to illustrate how you support the customer’s quest to find a solution to their problem. Look for imagery that shows the customer winning with the helpful guide alongside. Photos of people smiling and happy play to our emotions of a happy ever after story.

Exceptional

The prominent imagery positions the customer as the hero and clearly demonstrates the ideal ‘after’ of the target market. All additional images support the themes and messages in the sales copy.

Passing

Images illustrate the product or service in action, but they do not clearly show the ideal ‘after’ of the target market.

Needs Improvement

Images are visibly pleasing, but they distract from the core messages, either because they are unrelated or negatively impact readability.

Unsatisfactory

Images are crude and unprofessional, and they represent the product/service vaguely and or inaccurately.


3. Top Menu

The bare essential menu consists of the company logo (which acts as the link back to the homepage), About, Blog (if you have one), Contact Us, and Call to Action. The call to action, located on the far right, can link to your calendar, a phone number, or link to your contact us page.

Exceptional

The company logo is visible, navigation is limited to the bare essentials, and the primary call to action holds a prominent position on the page's top-right.

Passing

The company logo and primary call to action are visible, but the navigation contains one or more non-essential elements.

Needs Improvement

The navigation is cluttered, leaving no room for a call to action.

Unsatisfactory

The navigation is very cluttered and confusing, with no calls to action or indicators of what the visitor should do next.


4. Call to Action

The purpose of the website is to generate a lead. In strategic locations, call-to-action buttons or links are placed on the page leading the visitor to take the requested action. For most websites, the call to action is to generate a lead. Allowing the visitor to take the next step is expected and implied. A secondary call to action could be an opt-in to your email list. Not every visitor is ready to take the bold step of reaching out to you, but reading your emails is a baby step to getting to know you.

Exceptional

The page maintains a consistent primary and secondary call to action (CTA) and repeats these at least three times on the page. (Top Menu, above the fold, below the fold). CTA copy is clear and compelling, and the visitor knows the EXACT action they need to take (examples – click a button, fill out a form, call a number) to progress to the next step.

Passing

The page contains at least two clear and specific calls to action, one above and one below the fold.

Needs Improvement

A call to action is present, but the action and/or next step is vague. A button asks the visitor to do more

Unsatisfactory

There is no direct call to action on the page. The visitor is generally left wondering what they should do next.


5. The Body

The body is where you tell the story of whom you serve and what they can expect from you. Make your case in clear, compelling, engaging, and easy to understand story selling. You’re taking your visitor on a journey from not knowing you to beginning to trust you. The visitor wants to see that you understand their problem and will solve the problem – not cause more problems.

Exceptional

Text, images, and video clearly and succinctly expand on WHO will benefit and WHAT the visitor needs to do next. The sections are clearly labeled, and the copy is compelling and persuasive.

Passing

Text, images, and video explain the product/service features, but those features are not clearly connected to specific benefits or the promised idea ‘after’ state.

Needs Improvement

Text, images, and video are all company-centric (they position the company as the hero) and fail to connect with the visitor's challenges and how the product/service can solve those specific challenges.

Unsatisfactory

The body is missing entirely or is entirely disjointed from the promises and offers made at the top of the page.


6. Trust

Naturally, they want to trust you, to believe everything that you’ve said is right. This is where you anchor the copy with symbols the visitor trusts. Logos, testimonials, quotes from your customers, and others in the field if you don’t have any testimonials yet (with proper credits). Never forget to add this to your website.

Exceptional

Impressive logos from existing customers are featured prominently on the page, and additional customer stories and quotes are either visible or immediately accessible from the home page.

Passing

Logos and testimonials are visible, but there are no links to any specific customer stories or case studies featuring known avatars.

Needs Improvement

Logos are visible, but there are no quotes or stories from actual customers.

Unsatisfactory

No customer logos, customer quotes, or customer stories are visible or accessible from the page.


7. Footer

The footer is the little place where all the other essentials are placed neatly and tidy. Your Terms of Service and Privacy Policy are vital if you plan to advertise with Google or Facebook. If you’re uncomfortable placing your address on your site, use a post office box. Visitors appreciate having access to the menu in the footer as well. Check out other sites for examples, big and small.

Exceptional

In addition to all important and essential information (i.e., expanded navigation, physical address, links to Contact Us, Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, etc.), the footer also serves as a resource directory for flagship content and case studies.

Passing

All important and essential information (i.e., expanded navigation, physical address, links to Contact Us, Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, etc.) are visible. Still, the layout is cluttered and distracts a bit from the overall design of the page.

Needs Improvement

Only the essential information (physical address, links to Contact Us, Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, etc.) is visible. There are no additional resources or value to be found in the footer.

Unsatisfactory

The footer is lacking essential information or is missing entirely from the page.

The Next Steps

If you need help sorting out your website, I’d be happy to consult with you to help you figure out your next steps.

In summary: As a copywriter, it’s all about the user experience along with the words and human psychology rolled into one big package. I strive to make it a wonderful experience that takes the reader on a journey of knowledge and fulfillment.

If you'd like to chat about your next project, reach out at Linda@shinyobjectmarketing.com

Linda James Bennett; day 28 of 365 writing an article every day, making you a shiny object in the world.

Linda James Bennett is obsessed with creating clear brand messages to help business owners win online. She believes that marketing shouldn't be complicated to be great. Let's face it, as a business owner you need to focus on the bottom line that drives sales, not being a copywriter. She is also an author of the book, Becoming A Seriously Happy Special Needs Mom ~ 21 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place, on Amazon.com

Linda James Bennett

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