MEMBERS: Download this list with best practices guidance at this link (pdf, opens in new browser window).

20 Point Website Design Self-Evaluation

Load Time

Does your website load FAST? Slow loading websites are the #1 reason brides/grooms will leave a website. If that’s not enough, load times are now a ranking factor at Google and may negatively impact your SEO strategy. Test your site load time at: https://iawip.com/google-page-load-test/

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“Oh Yes” Moment

Does your website create a GREAT first impression? What I call the “Oh Yes” moment; when a bride/groom first visits your home page and says to themselves, “Oh yes, this is the company we are looking for!” “Oh Yes” type visitors convert into inquiries far better than visitors who say, “This site looks pretty much like the other 5 websites I just visited.”

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Header

Does your header area have links to your social media, phone number, contact form link, or maybe an interesting call-to-action? Does your header show up at the top of all of your web pages?

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Overall Homepage Layout

Think: simple, elegant, professional. The best home page designs “don’t make me think.” You may think the design is intuitive, but will a bride or groom? Does your home page leave the appropriate first impression? Does your home page answer the question: “What’s in it for me?” and communicate a unique value proposition (UVP)?

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Appropriate Graphics

Do the graphics you use on your home page, and throughout your website, communicate the right message? Are you using stock photography or your own pictures? Are they crisp, clean images (not blurry or pixelated)? Graphics need to be professional looking and appropriate. 20

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Phone Number

Can I find your phone number easily? It should be at the top and bottom of all of your web pages, in addition to being used in your marketing content. Use buttons as a call-to-action with your phone number throughout your website.

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Call-to-Action

Do you use a call-to-action everywhere, but appropriately, throughout your website? Use text, buttons, and maybe even pop-up boxes on some or all of your pages. Yes, people hate pop-up boxes, but they work!

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Main Navigation

Is the main navigation at your website easy to identify? Does it make it SUPER easy to find the information brides and grooms are looking for? Are you taking advantage of drop-down boxes? Is a PRICING page in your main navigation? Is a TESTIMONIALS page in your main navigation?

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Marketing Copy

Three critical components of your home page marketing copy (and copy on most of your other pages) are your unique value proposition (UVP), “what’s in it for me message (WIIFM),” and the proper use of calls-to-action (CTA). What makes your company different from the others (UVP)? What are you going to do for me – “What’s in it for me if I hire you?” Calls-to-action should be prominent throughout your website, particularly on the bottom of pages where people naturally are looking for the next thing to do (contact you!).

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Testimonials & Social Proof

How are you using your testimonials, also known as “social proof,” throughout your website? Is there a testimonial (or two) on every page? Are you using your awards and association membership badges?

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Photo Galleries

Photo galleries are a very powerful marketing tool. Use clear, crisp photos that show the happy brides and grooms you have worked for. Combine them with testimonials for an added punch!

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Multiple Contact Options

Your contact options should be prominent in your main navigation, at the bottom of all pages, and integrated into your page copy. You can also appropriately add colorful and eye-catching buttons and graphics as calls-to-action.

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Use of Contact Form

Contact forms are more effective than email-only links. Sure email works, but often the email message you get doesn’t have the information you need to properly qualify a lead. Contact forms are always a better option because you can use required fields to narrow down the information a potential customer is giving you.

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Post Contact Form Action

Do you use a post-inquiry landing page that a person who just made an inquiry “lands” on after they hit the submit button to send their inquiry? Post Contact landing pages should thank someone for their inquiry, put your contact information in front of them, and may even link to your social media pages.

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Using Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free website visitor/traffic tracking tool. It should be used on all of the pages at your website. It tracks visitor sessions, most popular pages, and other important information about the people who visit your website. It’s available free at http://google.com/analytics

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Using a Sitemap

A sitemap is a technical term for a file that lists all the pages at your website. Search engines use sitemaps to quickly identify your pages, and the more easily they find them the better. Sitemaps are an important part of an effective search engine optimization strategy and a recommended search engine optimization (SEO) “Best Practice.”

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Social Icons

Social icons with links to your social media touch points should be used throughout your website. Make it EASY for people to find you on social media and you’ll get more likes and followers.

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Hopefully people who visit your website never get down to your footer area, because you have engaged them higher up on your page, but if they do, give them contact information, a link to your blog, rotating testimonials, or a call-to-action.

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Mobile Friendly Design

Is your website mobile friendly? Does it create a favorable user-experience if someone visits your website from a smartphone or tablet? Does it pass the Google mobile-friendly test? Mobile-friendliness is now a Google “signal” or ranking factor. Test your website at: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

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Backup & Disaster Recovery

If your website crashed or was inaccessible, how long would it take you to recover? Is your website backed up regularly? Is it backed up at all? Where do you keep your backups? They should not be kept on your hosting server! Do you have a disaster recovery plan? If your website was built using WordPress consider using Backup Buddy. https://iawip.com/wordpress-dr/

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MEMBERS: Download this list with best practices guidance at this link (pdf, opens in new browser window).

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