The basic premise of our review was simple – what would a prospect think of your site if they went there after meeting someone from your firm or they found it via search engine? How would it compare to general websites we all use as far as its visual appeal and functionality to add the type of value to a viewer that they expect from the “consumer” web? Does it add real, clear value to your customers?
This is an important point to remember. Consumers expectations around websites are not set by other brokers sites but by Yahoo, Google, Amazon, eBay and any other online experiences they have. Your site needs to compare favorably to their overall web experiences and the expectations that this sets.
In looking at over 775 websites we approached the process with these 10 major criteria in mind. Our scoring was also relative comparing not only sites against best practice criteria but also against the overall peer group.
Sites fell into 4 major categories – 1 through 4. Most “1” or “2” sites would have zero points or negative points. A “3” would likely have less than 20 points (without bonus points).
The only ones we formally scored were those in category “4” and those 40 sites ranged from 30 points to a high of 95 points.
You can apply these criteria to your website planning and try scoring your own site and those of your competitors using this scale.
How We Look at Websites We Review
|1st Impression||20||1st Impressions matter. Does the site grab your attention?|
|Design||10||Is the design well done?|
|Message||10||Is the firm’s message clear, fresh, not hackneyed?|
|Tracking||10||Does the firm track its web actviity?|
|Client Resources||15||Are there resources and are they explained somewhere?|
|Freshness||10||Is there regularly updated content on the home page?|
|Social Media||5||Are they using any social media tools?|
|Blog||5||Do they blog?|
|Design Tools||5||Is site designed for self mgmt. using content mgmt. or blog tools?|
|SEO||10||Have they done the basic SEO correctly?|
|Survey||5||Do they do a marketplace survey?|
|Secure||5||Does the firm promote email/file encryption?|
|Mobile||5||Is the site “mobilized”?|