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.
- Needs Improvement
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
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?
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.
The copy and imagery are vague to both the solution and the market, and there is no obvious call to action above the fold.
The copy and imagery provide no immediate details about the problem the product/service solves, nor is it obvious whom the product/service serves.
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.
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.
Images illustrate the product or service in action, but they do not clearly show the ideal ‘after’ of the target market.
Images are visibly pleasing, but they distract from the core messages, either because they are unrelated or negatively impact readability.
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.
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.
The company logo and primary call to action are visible, but the navigation contains one or more non-essential elements.
The navigation is cluttered, leaving no room for a call to action.
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.
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.
The page contains at least two clear and specific calls to action, one above and one below the fold.
A call to action is present, but the action and/or next step is vague. A button asks the visitor to do more
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.
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.
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.
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.
The body is missing entirely or is entirely disjointed from the promises and offers made at the top of the page.
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.
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.
Logos and testimonials are visible, but there are no links to any specific customer stories or case studies featuring known avatars.
Logos are visible, but there are no quotes or stories from actual customers.
No customer logos, customer quotes, or customer stories are visible or accessible from the page.
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.