WEB DESIGNER CHECKLIST
1) Can visitors immediately find what they’re looking for? Too many links or directions confuse readers. Visitors come looking for a specific solution. If your client is too general with their content the site won’t convert.
2) What are your goals for the site?
3) Does each page have one main purpose and action for the visitor to take? Most sites are so cluttered with useless information that visitors click away immediately, and it’s a key reason for low conversion.
4) Are the headlines visitor-centric? Search engines love good headlines, but people do too. “Ann Johnson’s Designs” may be taking up valuable space above the fold if no one knows what that is. Ask your client to provide you with a headline that stops a visitor in their tracks by addressing a clear problem.
5) Has the client given you text that has subheads, white space, bullet points and other formatting? Interesting formatting that breaks up the text makes onscreen content easier to read. Some site elements are particularly search engine friendly, like headlines, subheads, bolding, and the words around hyperlinks.
6) Does each page have an action for the visitor to take? Reading on to the next page, making a phone call or signing up for a “special report” are all clear actions. Make sure your client doesn’t just hand you some brochure type content with no direction on where to lead the reader.
7) Has your client given you a list of competing sites and high ranking competitors? You’ve probably asked for these in your questionnaire. One of the main purposes of researching competitors is to see what’s working in that area, including keywords, site elements, formatting, and content.
8) Has your client given you title and alt tags, keywords, and a good description? Just by explaining what these are to your client you’ll stand out from 90% of web designers. In my research for this paper, I only found 2 designers that ask specifically for these items.
9) What do your text links say? Are they short, relevant and descriptive? Your client needs to give you something a little more creative than “Click Here”. The perfect link text is a 5 word promise.
10) Where are you placing testimonials? They should be on every page, not just a “testimonials” page, which is often useless.
11) Is the writing simple and appropriate to the target audience? Remind your client that they’re writing for a particular audience, not their college professor. Most web content is a sales pitch, regardless of how it’s disguised, so just by following basic copywriting principles the site can increase its pull.
12) Does the client have any certifications or association symbols you could put on the site? The answer is yes. There’s always something you can add for credibility. At the very least, a VeriSign or HackerSafe symbol should be placed on the order form. Ideally, your client will belong to some organization that offers a virtual symbol.
13) Does the client have an idea of how they want to lay out the site elements? The goal of design is to present the client’s message for maximum impact. Discuss with your client why you’re choosing one format over another.
14) Is the architecture clear and user-friendly? Don’t rely on your client to know how to organize a site. You know better than they do how to optimize the flow.
15) Is the offer or opt-in box above the fold? Visitors give a site about 5-7 seconds, so make sure the offer is immediately apparent.
16) Is the text size and font appropriate to the message? Different size fonts on a page can work or they can look horrible. As the designer, let your client know when their design choices seem over the top.
TRAFFIC & SEO
17) Does your client want a lot of flash or graphics? Clients selling services should focus on content, although a great design is important. Don’t let your clients sacrifice people-friendly and search-engine friendly content for fancy graphics.
18) Has your client given you pictures or visuals to put on the site? Service sellers have present themselves immediately and let the visitor get to know them. Ask your client for 2-3 photos and pick the shot that looks most flattering. Don’t forget to add title tags.
19) Is it incredibly easy for the visitor to buy? Whether selling a free subscription to an ezine or a $5000 service, the site has to lead the buyer to the sales page, and make it easy to sign up.
20) Is the content focused around key phrases? According to MarketingSherpa, over 70% of online transactions begin with a keyword search. If your client is assuming they know the right words they’re setting the site up for failure. Getting #1 ranking means nothing if no one is searching for those phrases.
21) Does your client know how to use analytics and website logs? These are easy and invaluable tools for targeting optimum traffic. Give your client a 15 minute tutorial on how to use their web logs.
22) Is your client familiar with Google Trends, HitsLink, and StatCounter? Low-cost tools that can help client hone in on what buyers want.
7 Deadly Mistakes of Website Content
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