How-To Rate a Website

At Today’s Business, the digital development team is often required to conduct a website rating, whether it is of a competitor’s website or for a potential client.  Our professional opinion  might not be enough to convince a client that they need a new website, which is why it is important to understand how to gather basic information to present to a client.

Check Website Design

The design of the website is the most objective and sometimes the most important part of a website – since no one likes looking at a horrible website.  Because it is so objective it can be difficult to evaluate. However, there are some basic questions to keep in mind when looking at the design.

  • Does the color scheme draw attention?
  • Is the text easy to read?
  • Are there any blurry images?
  • Is the contact page easy to find?
  • Is there a clearly listed phone number or call-to-action?

If the majority of the above questions received a “YES” then it is looking pretty good so far.

Check Website Performance

The performance of a website is very important, especially the speed of the load time.  Your website can be the most beautiful thing in the world but it does not mean anything if it takes forever to load.

  • Pingdom is a great resource to use to check the speed of a website. It will tell you the load time as well as page size of your website.
  • Web Page Test allows you to test your site from different locations and from different browsers.
  • There is a free plugin for Chrome called Moz Bar, created by Moz, that can rank a website’s domain and page authority.

SEO Quality

Search Engine Optimization is very important in this day and age in terms of an online presence.  Without it, it is almost impossible to rank on Google these days.  Screaming Frog is a small desktop program that can crawl a website and give you quite a bit of information.  When going over this information be sure to ask the following questions:

  • Are there page titles?
    • If so, are any duplicated?
  • Are there header tags?
    • If so, are any duplicated?
  • Are there meta descriptions?
    • If so, are any duplicated?

Check Linking

Another topic of concern is broken or dead links.  These links occur both internally and externally, meaning they could be links on a website to other pages on the same website (internal), or links to other websites (external) that are broken.

  • Screaming frog can give you a list of internal 404 (broken link) errors.
  • Google Webmaster Tools is another great resource to look at broken links, especially external ones.

Is the Website Mobile Friendly?

An often overlooked point when rating a website is if it is mobile compatible.  A great deal of users rely solely upon mobile devices these days, and with recent changes to Google’s policy it can cause a website to lose a lot of traffic.  So be sure to check out a website on your phone while evaluating it.

  • When completing a website rating, a separate report should be conducted specifically for mobile compatibility.

If you have gone through the above points, you should have a fair amount of information by now.  From here you can organize your evaluation in a number of ways.  You can put together some  simple bullet points if you will be presenting orally, or you can make an elaborate report with screenshots to give to your potential client.  Whichever route you go, be sure to include as much information you can with numbers of duplicate page titles, the domain authority, and any other statistics you can provide.  Clients will always look at numbers, so remember to put your best information forward.