What You Can Learn from This Website Audit

We were called to do a website audit for a company in March this year. They knew they were having major problems with their corporate website but they didn’t know how to fix these issues or where to start.

Here, we share with you some of the major issues and what we recommended. The company is not revealed (due to confidentiality of course, but let’s call them Syarikat ABC) because our main concern are the website problems of this company.

Some of these problems are across the board and can be found on most websites. If you have similar problems with your website, it’s best to fix them before the problems get out of hand!

1. Problem: Website loads too slowly

The slow loading time of the ABC website can be a major annoyance to prospects, customers and investors who are viewing the website. Possible reasons for slow load time of the website include usage of Flash animation on the website, non-optimised Flash graphics and extra excessive codes on the back-end of the website.

Redbox Studio recommends:

“Clean up” the excessive codes of the website. Make the codes leaner and cleaner. Also, optimize Flash graphics so that it loads faster if you still want to keep the Flash graphics. For best results: go off Flash. And code by hand. That’s what we do here in Redbox Studio. That’s why our websites load fast, are indexed fast by search engines and are found easily by your customers.

2. Problem: Combined navigation links with Flash graphics

Incorporating the navigation links on Flash graphics means your prospects, customers and investors will not be able to see the navigation links when their computers are not installed with the required Flash software.

What this means is, your prospects, customers and investors cannot navigate elsewhere on your website. All they see in the first web page and they cannot click to go into the other pages. They may not know why and think your website is defective, which is likely to reflect badly on your company’s professional image. They are most likely to leave your website too.

Redbox Studio recommends:

Separate the Flash animation portion from the navigation links. This ensures that you still get to maintain your Flash animation and allow non-Flash users to see and use your navigation links.

3. Problem: Misspelling of keywords and website address

The major problem here is a misspelling of your website address within the back-end of the website. In your back-end, your company URL has been misspelled. Search engines cannot index your website as it is given the wrong website address!

Keywords, although inserted, are not properly researched and optimized for search engines (Google, Yahoo and MSN) to find. The keywords used are too general which result in confusion when searched. Being online does not automatically mean your website is visible. You need to insert specially-researched keywords in order to target and attract the niche prospects, investors and customers you are looking for.

Redbox Studio recommends:

Conduct a thorough research on the niche keywords and descriptions used by your prospects, investors and customers to find you and add these keywords into your website for better indexing value (we offer this service). This allows you to be ranked higher when searched using major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN. When prospects, investors and customers easily find you online when they search, they are more likely to do business with you.

4. Problem: Too little information on web pages

Not much information is found on the web pages (information is separated into a few pages) and visitors need to click “Next” to read more. Information on each page should be sufficient to satisfy the visitors’ needs without having them to ‘drill’ down into other pages unless necessary. Clicking into more and more pages frustrate visitors because they have to do ‘more work’ just to find the information they need. Also, if they print out information, they need to print out more pages than necessary. If all relevant information is in one page, they just need to print one page.

Redbox Studio recommends:

Group relevant information and present it in one page (around 500 – 600 words per page). This allows visitors to have an overview of all pertinent information. Break up information into shorter paragraphs, use bold headlines and subheads, and ensure all information is useful and not full of jargon or useless business-speak. Make every word count!

5. Problem: Not specifying formats of downloadable files

When visitors click on a link on your website, they expect another page to open. They do not expect a PDF file to pop open.

If they have Adobe Acrobat Reader, the PDF file will open automatically. However, if they do not have the Adobe Acrobat Reader, the PDF file will not open but might cause the visitor’s computer to ‘freeze’ or ‘hang’ which means the visitor needs to reboot his computer. Everyone gets annoyed when their computers die on them.

File sizes on the ABC website are not specified either and visitors do not know whether the file is large or small, and how long they have to wait for the file to download. Not all visitors surf the Internet using broadband Internet; some still use dial-up Internet services so both types of visitors should be accommodated equally.

Redbox Studio recommends:

Formats as well as sizes of files to be downloaded should be specified clearly. If it is a PDF file, alert your visitor and provide adequate instructions such as how to download and how to read/open the file. Again, it helps to optimize and compress the PDF file so that visitors (on either broadband and dial-up Internet services) can download easily and quickly. Remember, your goal is to offer information to your visitors easily, effortlessly and quickly.

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