Website Reviews 101

Here at PaperStreet, clients often ask us to review existing websites and offer suggestions on how to improve them. We start with identifying the site’s preliminary focus:

  • Is the site strictly informational?
  • Is the site selling a product or service?
  • What are the primary actions a visitor should take on the site?

Once we identify the site’s purpose and focus, we move on to specific areas of the site’s architecture, aesthetics, and overall usability.

First, we’ll focus on ease-of-use, specifically the navigation. User experience is key, so if visitors can’t find information or conversion rates are low, there’s a problem.

Here are some navigational questions to ask:

  1. Is the main navigation easy to locate? I’ve seen sites with multiple navigations and redundant links. As a user, I’ve found myself trying to figure out which navigation to use.
  2. Is the navigation well organized? Do the links make sense? Is there redundancy? Are the links logically organized?
  3. How many “clicks” does it take to get to my information? Unlike a Tootsie Roll pop, you don’t want that number to exceed four or five, and the fewer the clicks, the better.

The following questions focus on branding and aesthetics:

  1. Does the branding on the site reflect the company’s overall brand? Take Apple, for instance. Whether you’re viewing an Apple commercial, perusing their website, or visiting a local Apple store, the message and overall look and feel is consistent. There’s no question it’s Apple.
  2. Are the pages well organized? Is the information easy to read and follow? Have you ever been to a website and feel exhausted just looking at it, as if everything on the page is saying, “over here, over here?” The way information is laid out on a page is important. You don’t want to overwhelm your visitors.
  3. Are calls to action evident and clear? Having a call-to-action is important if you want your visitors to perform specific tasks on your site, as in “call our law firm today” or “subscribe to our newsletter.”

These are a few of the most important questions we ask when we’re reviewing a website. The ultimate goal is to optimize the site so that it can accomplish what it’s meant to accomplish while providing its visitors a positive user experience.

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