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An Informal Approach to the Best Website Design Review of Your Website You Can Conduct

Eight in-depth guidelines for analyzing your own website homepages and creating the best website design possible

As someone who’s looked at your website every day for a long time, you probably have no business reviewing your own website design [1]. There are probably several items on your mental to-do list—items that need to be optimized, altered and updated. Have you been writing these things down? Often, when we finally get the chance to update our websites, it’s months after we’ve discovered the original issue.

That’s why I’m going to give you a quick little checklist, based on our internal website design scorecard, to remind you of the items you should be paying attention to the most. While these guidelines are by no means the complete list of website design practices, they are essential to sound, effective website design [2]. We’re sure that implementation of these practices will result in happier, more satisfied, readers.

…and don’t add it to your mental checklist; Print it out and take notes!

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MPP [3]

Learn how to choose the best subscription pricing & single-copy pricing strategy for your subscription websites & subscription apps when you download a FREE copy of How to Use Contrast Pricing to Increase Subscription Revenue. [3]

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1. Does your website homepage tell the user who you are and what you want them to do?

2. Does your online product/website offer more than your print product does?

3. Is the user able to easily start building a relationship with you?

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MPP [3]

Learn how to choose the best subscription pricing & single-copy pricing strategy for your subscription websites & subscription apps when you download a FREE copy of How to Use Contrast Pricing to Increase Subscription Revenue. [3]

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4. Are you attempting to build any kind of online community?

The ultimate goal of community-building programs is to increase the consumer’s connection to the site by fostering a sense of camaraderie or belonging among unique groups of individuals. Some of the Internet’s most successful websites enable their users to generate more than 99 percent of website content.

5. Does your navigation bar stay the same across your entire website?

Users of your site should be crystal clear about where they are in your site, where they can go and how they can get back to somewhere they’ve been. With the exception of certain processes, like order flows, they should be able to navigate to all major areas of your website from anywhere in your website.

6. Does the lingo on your website make sense to everyone who visits?

Far too many websites use language that is better understood by the site’s sponsoring organization than by its audience. Attention needs to be paid to the labels used in navigation and page titles so that it is consistent with itself and with the audience’s mental models for the content.

The added bonus here is that key phrases and words that your audience understands will also improve your ranking in search engines, as they have been designed to evaluate relevancy as a “human” would.

7. Is the content on your website easy to read?

We’ve known for ages in print that effective use of better fonts [5] and more white space (number of columns, bolding, margins, etc.) increases reader pleasure. The same design principles apply on the Web.

8. Is your website organized so every user knows where to go?

On content-heavy websites, optimizing usability [6] and finding space to provide important marketing links is a challenge. Eye-tracking tests have revealed that people use a “Z” shaped scanning pattern when scouring Web pages for information.

Every website has it’s own strategic intent and not all of these guidelines may apply to you. However, it’s important to take a fresh look at your website every once in a while to determine if your homepage is designed to attract and convert visitors the way you expect it to.

What would you add? Leave a comment.