The brand I chose is Topshop
A brand’s website has remained one of the most important digital assets despite being one of the first to be widely adopted. The website often serves as the “hub” for all digital communication, so it remains important despite the introduction of new sexier channels and techniques.
Creating an effective website is no easy task however. As a completely blank canvas, the possibilities of how you build a site and what you put on it are almost limitless. This also means there are hundreds of decisions to make and important aspects to consider.
It wasn’t always this way however. Designing, building and maintaining websites used to be relatively straight forward. Websites once were little more than digital brochures. You could also be reasonably assured that people would view the website on a desktop computer with a standardized screen size and resolution.
Today, websites are viewed from hundreds of different devices, using one a half dozen different browsers and the purpose of the visit could be anything from making travel reservations to scheduling grocery deliveries.
So what makes an effective website? Some of the key areas you need to address include:
Goals & Objectives
What does this website do for the brand? Why does it exist? Does it generate sales? Generate leads? Build brand awareness? Keep people engaged?
On the flip side, why are people going to visit the site? People lead busy lives and rarely browse because they have nothing better to do and even then they have s ome reason for visiting the site (even if it’s for entertainment.) Is the site built so that users can find what they are looking for and accomplish their goals?
How easy is the site to use? The average user has a three to five second attention span. If they can’t find what they are looking for with minimal amount of thought and effort they leave and find a competitors website. Websites should be utilitarian first. Too often usability issues arise because marketers try to dictate the experience to the user. A quickly recognizable navigation item like “About Us” becomes “Our Story” and all of a sudden users have to think harder to find what they are looking for.
This becomes increasingly important now that so much of website traffic is from mobile devices. You have to make sure your website is easy to use from a touch screen of all different sizes, from iWatch to Tablet. The widely accepted solution for device diversity is responsive design , a technique where the website will expand and collapse based on the available screen space of a given device.
Not to mention the often neglected accessibility needs. Up to 20% of the US population has some accessibility impairment, such as color blindness, cognitive conditions, motor disabilities or complete blindness.
If you don’t build an accessible website you could face legal ramifications. At the very least you risk turning away 20% of your potential customer base.
Search Engine Optimization
80% of all online transactions begin with an internet search. While you can pay for search visibility, it’s expensive in both ad spend and management. Naturally appearing in relevant search results doesn’t incur any adspend and is generally more trusted compared to a sponsored listing.
Search engine optimization is the art and science of maximizing organic search traffic to your website. SEO (search engine optimization) has three areas of focus:
● Keyword selection – Identifying r ealistic and relevant k eywords.
● On site optimization – Working key words and phrases into relevant pages.
Ensuring the website is search engine friendly.
● Off site optimization – Search engines pay attention to signals outside of your
website. Maximize relevance through off site means like gathering high quality links.
Measurement and Analytics
There used to be an advertising adage that said “Half of all advertising dollars are wasted, I just don’t know which half.” The idea being that when running TV, radio or print ads you would never actually know how many people were exposed to the advertisements and how many of those people acted as a result.
Digital is much more accountable. With free tools like Google Analytics, you can track just about everything that happens on your site. You can setup goals such as “Filling out a lead form” or “Making a purchase” and then track how many people actually do so.
And that’s just the beginning. You can also see which pages are most likely to convert a user into a buyer, what advertisements work best, which pages people leave the site from, etc.. etc…
Website analytics allows the intelligent improvement of a website through the use of data.
All websites should have KPIs, otherwise known as “Key Performance Indicators.” These are the metrics used to determine if the site is successful or not.
For example, if you had a site that generated leads for a lawn care business one of your KPIs might be “Number of ‘Request a Quote’ form submissions made.” Every month you could evaluate the KPI and see if the number of requests is growing or shrinking.
Alternatively if your website existed primarily for support purposes, you could measure the number of pages people visited on average and the typically time spent on the site. More time spent on the site could indicate users are finding what they are looking for and sorting through their problems.
This is just the surface for each key area. Read and watch the resources below to get even greater insight into effective websites, then complete the assignment before the indicated due date.
Analyze your brand’s website and write a detailed, client ready report of what you find. This should be formatted and presented like you were hired to audit the website and make recommendations. Each section should be at least a full paragraph and include what you found and what you’d recommend they do to improve. Make sure to include sections for the following:
Business Objectives & KPIs
Why does this website exist? What does the brand hope to get out of it? Sales? Leads? Awareness? How can they measure how effective the website is at accomplishing their goals?
Who is the target audience and what are they visiting the site to accomplish? How successful is the site in accommodating their needs? What could be improved?
How usable is the site? Do they follow standard website conventions? If so, what are they? What is difficult, what is easy? What could be improved? Is the site responsive or mobile friendly?
Search Engine Optimization
Is the site search engine optimized? How can you tell? If so, what keywords and phrases are they targeting? If not, what would you recommend they target (make sure to explain why and that target words / phrases are realistic). What could they do to improve their optimization?
What metrics would you recommend they monitor in addition to their KPIs?
● Include two external links
● Include one photo or video
● Assignment title must be catchy and interesting
● Must be client ready, nicely formatted and formal in language.
● You must address each section outlined above in detail. If we don’t get the
impression you have learned the material in this lesson and the required readings
we will automatically deduct 2 points.
● All sections must include detail about what you found and what you’d recommend
be done to improve.
● Your recommendations must be justified based on your own research or
information provided as part of this lesson or class.