The effectiveness of a website can be determined in many ways. What you are looking for is the sites ability to attract targeted traffic and more importantly retain that traffic by satisfying the viewer by delivering relevant information or converting on a specific task.
Simply Adam Mann's five evaluation components:
Each website should have set objectives it is trying to achieve, and those objectives are achieved by the functionality incorporated in the site. In order for the site to function efficiently, the site must be easy to navigate. It should have a clear content hierarchy to direct the flow of traffic, helping the site to be very intuitive to use. “Undesigned“, or minimalistic websites often take this to the extreme by stripping down a site to it’s most basic, raw and practical form.
The content on a site should be as thorough yet concise as possible. In order to do this you need to “focus like a laser” as Steve Jobs says. Do not get distracted, make sure every words counts. You only have a matter of seconds to capture somebody’s attention on the web. Delivering a concise message in as few words as possible can be a difficult task, all while keeping search engine optimization in mind. Research should be done on your target market, and you must constantly re-evaluate who your audience is to make sure you are actively engaging them.
In a world where people bombarded with advertisements and marketing campaigns a thousand times over every day, proper aesthetics can really set you apart. Your brand and message must be clearly defined visually across all platforms. Proper use of grids, white space, and typography can go a long way in making your material visually engaging. Analyze your target market, and use an appropriate design language. Does every design element have a purpose? Was your color pallet chosen for a specific reason?
This does not only apply to people that are selling a product or service. The term converting can also be used each time a user completes a specific predetermined task. Maybe you are trying to get people to sign up for email updates on a blog – each person that signs up is a conversion. Make sure you are properly set up to allow for easy conversions. Have a prominent call to action, provide easy methods of contact, use fresh original content, create a professional and honest image, and so on.
When visiting a website, you are only looking at one side of the coin. On the flip side is development. But just because you can’t see the development take place doesn’t mean it’s not equally important. The site needs to be built efficiently so the information can go all the way to space and back before the view loses interest. Load times are crucial, as is browser compatibility and reliable hosting. Make sure you have proper analytics set up to analyze your consumer base.
I know, I said 5 categories. Well, while those five are extremely important, there’s no way to sum up everything in just 5 categories. There are always new developments and room for innovation and new ideas. Incorporating and properly utilizing social media, SEO, creating mobile versions, and more can drastically improve the effectiveness of a website.