The longer a site is live, the more hands are involved in cultivating content and making additions. The vision which was originally created can be diluted over time, and some of the key engagement factors forgotten. A thorough audit is recommended once per year to ensure a site is reaching it’s fullest potential, but in this case, there are several things you can check in 5 minutes to ensure your site is driving impact for your cause.
1. Above the Fold Calls to Action
This one is fairly common, but not always observed. We’ve all heard that the call to action should be above the fold. It should! Here is an example, where the desktop version of the site has the primary calls to action in a prominent and pronounced header area. They’ve also reiterated a primary call to action, in the slideshow, which is also above the fold. The mobile version of this site (inlay) uses the call to action in the slideshow, which is visible on phones with a screen of 5″ (diagonal) or large (nearly all smart phones).
How to improve? Mobile is important! Optimize the call to action buttons visible in the desktop header for mobile. In the image left, we see this organization optimized their four call to action buttons so they remain front and center on mobile devices.
Pro tip! Maximize conversions by only placing the primary call to action in the mobile header.
2. Refine Your Navigation
Top navigation options and the associated dropdown menus are one of the biggest challenges to keep clean. Day 1 of your site launch everything is perfect. Then a few weeks later, a new page is needed, then another, and another. Suddenly a new section needs to be added, with even more sub-pages. Things start to get hairy quickly!
In the example below, we see the top navigation is best suited for large monitors. Not a deal breaker, but I work on a 15″ laptop and the top navigation breaks onto a second line.
How to improve? Try for one word navigation labels, or try moving less important items into other sections. For example, these are pretty streamlined navigation labels. Perhaps Contact Us could live within About Us or in the footer section.
Pro tip! Avoid runaway dropdown menus. In this example we see a large number of pages in the dropdown. If all pages truly need to be in the dropdown, reduce the length of labels to ensure they are all on a single line. This will help reduce the length of the menu and provide a cleaner look when browsing.
3. Utilize Your Utility Navigation!
While we’re on the subject of navigation, a huge number of organizations fail to utilize their utility navigation. This is generally the space directly above the main navigation on the right side of the screen. I wanted to call out the image below, as the organization has done an excellent job of not only providing their users clean, streamlined navigation, they’ve also added some important calls to action in the utility navigation.
Pro tip! Utilize your utility navigation. This space is great for a more permanent call to action button and social media items.
4. Confirm Google Analytics (& Google Tag Manager) Are Active
Are you 100% certain that Google Analytics and [hopefully] Google Tag Manager were implemented correctly? Double Check! The worst thing for your website data is to not be collecting any. In Google Chrome use the Inspect Option, available when you right click, to check the code. You want to locate your GA and GTM IDs in the code.
Pro tip! Utilize this awesome FREE Chrome extension which makes the inspect tool even better and easier to use. Click here to download. In the image below, I’ve used the extension to locate the GA Event. Here you can toggle open the information and look for the “tid” and “gtm” codes. These are the GA and GTM codes, respectively. If these are present, then both platforms have been successfully added to your site.
5. Massage Your Content Layout
Now, this is probably the one point on here you won’t love, as it means more work! The site pictured below is an event which is just ramping up. The teams and individuals will populate and grow the content length in the blue column. Also, on the far right, the white space will be replaced by rotating sponsor logos. However, these things take a little time, and until that point, there is a lot of vacant space, and a good bit of scrolling to get from the top (out of frame) to the bottom of the page (out of frame).
Pro tip! (Here’s the part you may not like.) Have two content layouts. Consider moving flexible content, such as the Top Teams and Individuals to the right column and splitting the longer content on the left between the left and center columns. This will reduce page length and avoids excess vacant space. It’s also fairly simple to move these widgets around, especially in WordPress, once those sponsor logos are available and all three columns will be made roughly the same length.