How to get a great website review
“You have one chance to keep a visitor on your site. Make a good 1st impression.”
Your website is a creation. Your creation needs to strike people in a positive way if you expect them to stick around. Your website is also the end product of all the mechanical work you put in as the site’s admin. You used various plugins; Headers (H1, H2, H3); images with alt text; SEO design; and so much more. You poured your heart into your site. When you believed you had it right, you published it. But did you miss anything? You may have, and it could be costing you readers and followers. You should take the time to have your website reviewed.
There are quite a few ways to do that. Just be prepared for a little tough love and remember it’s not personal, it’s what you need to hear.
#1 – Facebook Groups – One of the quickest ways to get a review is to ask in a Facebook group that exists to help bloggers grow. The safest way to do that, so you don’t break any group rules about self-promoting, is ask a general question about your site. For example, “Hi everyone, I have less traffic than I expected by now, it’s pretty frustrating. Would anyone care to take a look at my site and provide some feedback?”
The beauty of this method is that most of the people in that group are struggling with something. Groups tend to foster a “you help me, I’ll help you” environment. That’s pretty cool! Don’t forget to reply back to the comments you get, and add a Like for helpful comments. You’ll be surprised what you get back from these informal reviews.
#2 – Reaching Out – This method takes a little work, but after you read or followed a number of people’s blogs, you begin to get a sense of who has the time to give a few tips. This probably works best for up and comers who are not really big yet.
Read their posts, then make sure to add some useful, insightful, complimentary comments to their posts. Watch to see if they reply. If so, try to contact them by email and ask if they’d be willing to do a brief review. Especially if they are still establishing their brand, they may be very willing to reply with some helpful and actionable suggestions.
TIP: if you want to be bold (but increase your chance of a review), you may ask them to review your site in a post about site reviews! One thing if you do this, make sure the review mentions how you’ll be implementing these changes (and then go do it!) People will be going to your blog to see how it improved. Don’t let them see the same content the reviewer complained about.
#3 – A Trade – This method requires that you review someone’s blog and have them reciprocate. You both learn something this way. The best way to do this, I’ve found, is watch the Facebook groups you’re in (or groups in Mewe.com) and find a blogger who you could approach. Ask them if they’d be willing to provide some feedback and tell them you’ll do the same for them.
TIP: Many “help a blogger” Facebook Groups have certain days of the week when they let you promote your site and comment on others’ sites. Take advantage of that and follow any rules the group has. Usually, it’s something along the lines of “post your site, comment on another person’s site.” It’s fair play and paying it forward. It also helps you stand out in the group and become known for helping others.
#4 – Forums – Let me be clear on this, by forums I’m pretty much talking the bigger ones like Quora and Reddit. I’m active on Quora and always look for questions from new bloggers. Occasionally I run across someone who can’t figure out why they’re struggling to get readers. That’s a perfect opportunity to jump in, be friendly, and offer to review their site!
#5 – Paid Option – Here it gets a little more interesting. Money talks and you can really get quite a good review at low cost. One of the easiest ways to do this is go to sites like Fiverr, or Upwork and search for something like “website review” or “website critique”. You’ll get a number of listings to choose from. I’ll use mine as an example (in the middle of the image).
I started recently, so it only shows the one rating. Yes 5 stars, and the customer was extremely pleased. That’s what you want to look for.
You can see that price ranges are all over. You need to click through a few of them and determine what suits you best. Price, star rating, and customer comments are key. Don’t be swayed too much by the number of jobs. It’s important, but if someone can do a very good job on the first project, it’s a good sign. Customer reviews are key. Read what customers are saying – were they satisfied with their website review?
A website review does a number of things for you
With a professional website review, you hear from an outsider who can point out things that you may not see. A well-done website review will provide information to help you make key adjustments (major and subtle.)
Here are a few of the things you should receive:
First impression “gut check” – Granted this is subjective, but it goes a long way in telling you how the website supports its purpose. For example, what is the reviewer’s first impression of the site? Do the site colors and “look and feel” make a positive impression? Do they match the purpose of the site? Is the site easy to figure out via menu and/or headers and footers? Are there glaring errors in spelling?
- Link checks – A reviewer can wander around your site, follow logic trails and find disconnects. For example, you could have contradictory statements or broken links.
- Social media and other links (the “other window”) – When a visitor clicks on links (text, social media, images, etc), do they open in another window? They should. You don’t usually want the your browser tab replaced with new content. You want an easy way for the reader to click right bag to your site.
- You should be setting the link up to open in another window (click the yellow highlighted box), because you keep the visit active that way. You don’t want analytics to chalk up an early bounce. Plus, once the reader is off your site, they may go elsewhere (out of site, out of mind.)
- Page Load Speed – a professional website review can provide you with a sense of how fast your page(s) loaded. This is done by either actual measurement (preferred) or subjective “gut feel.”
- “Best Practice” for Bloggers – Bloggers generally know many of the recommended “best practices”, but can often neglect or forget them. Examples include having a good call to action, replying to comments on time, and ensuring opt-in forms are set up with an active check box.
- Recommending alternative plugins – If outdated plugins exist, the reviewer can point them out or recommend better ones.
- Widgets assessment – A reviewer can check the placement and usefulness of widgets and sidebars. Sometimes things don’t line up right, or don’t make sense in context to content on the page.
- Checking basic search functionality – A reviewer can test your search box, looking for many of the words found in the content, and report back on any errors.
- Comment on features which work poorly – Sometimes things are broken, slow, or provide unintended results. A reviewer can point those out and recommend changes. Many times the site owner isn’t even aware of the break or the fix.
Yet, until then, and because your site visitors are human, it’s best to have an actual human review you website. Ask someone or pay someone. Either way, use the methods above to get some feedback.
It’s your turn. If it’s the paid method, I’d love to review your site. I love doing these reviews. I actually have a full time career outside of blogging and do plenty of reviewing and critiquing. Papers, articles, copy, engineering documents, and good old slide presentations. I spend a good deal of time finding what’s wrong and making useful recommendations. I’ll do that for you.
Now you know how to get a professional website review! Leave a comment and let me know what YOU think should be part of a solid website review.
Happy blogging, and please share the love. I makes me happy that it made you happy.