The following are questions to ask yourself about your website which will determine if it gets TOP MARKS as an effective marketing tool for your business.

1. Where do eyes go first?

A visitor to your website typically has an attention span of only a few seconds. That means your website must 'hook' them quickly. Make sure the first thing they see/notice is something interesting enough to keep them interested in looking at more of the site.

2. Do visitors know right away what this website is about?

You have limited time to get your message across. If there are too many distractions, a site visitor may not ever know what you are offering.

3. Is the important information 'above the fold'?

Most site visitors want to know the details without doing a lot of work. If they have to scroll down to find the main idea, they will likely leave earlier than you’d like. Make sure your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is clearly spelled out. This is a piece of information that says in one sentence or less why someone should do business with you. Make it clear and prominent on your site.

4. Can visitors easily find the benefits of the product or service offered?

A visitor to your site wants to learn as much as possible about the benefits of your product or service. Features are important too, but the most important thing a visitor can take away is a sense that this product or service will make an impact in their life … for the better.

5. Is there a clear call to action?

If customers like what they see, it is important to move them along quickly. There should be a prominent, clear call to action on your website. Your call to action may be to buy now, start a free trial, learn more, or something else. Make sure that you are not sending mixed messages with too many calls to action. Choose the one or two that matter most and make them easy to find.

6. Are the site colors & images aesthetically pleasing?

If your website is too busy or jarring, you will lose visitors. Take a little time to coordinate colors and implement high-quality images that add to your message.

7. Is the font easy to read?

Make sure your font is easy to read and is not distracting. Stick with simple, easy-to-read fonts which are standard fonts available on all browser platforms and in a color which contrasts with the background. It should be large enough to read comfortably without forcing visitors to up-size it.

8. Are there bulky sections of writing anywhere on the home page?

Long, bulky paragraphs are likely to get skipped. Try breaking up your copy into smaller sections or bulleted lists to get the point across quickly.

9. Do the menu items clearly tell visitors where they will take them?

Site design and user-freindly navigation of a site are important considerations which often get overlooked. Think about what information you would want to find if you visited this site and plan your menus accordingly. There should always be an 'about us' and a 'contact us' page. Menus can be separated into areas of focus and should be placed in more than one location if you have many contnet pages on your site - top for the main items, sides and bottom for additional information sections etc.

10. Is there an easy way to contact the business?

If your website does its job, you will likely have interested prospects who want to learn more or who simply have a few questions. Make sure they have an easy way to find you. Potential customers also want to know that they will be able to reach you if needed in the future, whether for warranty service or support.

11. Can visitors find out more about the owner or employees of the company?

Visitors often want to know that they are dealing with real people. Having an 'about us' page is a great way to show the world why you are the best one to handle the job. Include photos too—everyone likes to associate a face to the business so don't be 'camera shy'.

12. Will visitors feel personally connected?

Visitors who feel personally connected will be more likely to stick around and/or become a customer. Tell your story and tell them why you are the right choice. You can personally connect with your visitors by being honest, using a conversational writing style, and including real testimonials from other customers - real names associated with those testimonials.

13. Is the content well-written and informative?

Your ability to relate to your customers is a big reason why they will eventually choose you. Poorly written content is a major turn-off and will make site visitors run for the exit.  If you are unable to provide the content yourself, hire a professional to supply it and be sure to keep an engaging, conversational tone throughout.

14. Is there a 'Sign Up for our Newsletter' option?

Your webform should offer an incentive to spark a visitor’s interest and convince them to sign up. Make sure this incentive is appealling to and of benefit to your potential customers.

15. Is there any multimedia?

Although many sites do not need multi-media, if appropriate it is a great way to add character and interest to your website. Videos, podcasts, tutorials, and other multimedia options allow you to present your message, market your brand or product to your visitors in a way that appeals to them. However, a little goes a long way and, unless you are an 'entertainment' site, too much will be distracting.
NOTE: Thistle Site Design offers professional on-demand Video Production Services for Canada & USA - competitively priced.

16. Are there links to social media?

Social media networking can be an effective marketing tool if used properly. If you participate in social media then you need to present those links on your website. Social media allows you to communicate with your prospects, and it allows them to communicate with each other. Include links to your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. Make it easy for everyone to find you on social media.

This check-list is compiled from information distributed by Infusionsoft the #1 all-in-one marketing automation software used by thousands of small businesses to generate leads and grow sales.