Published on October 14, 2007
Web presence checklist This compact document is intended as a rapid assessment tool for your strategic capabilities and behaviours in respect of your organisation’s web presence. It is more of a ‘quick-and-dirty’ audit, rather than a Web Strategy ‘cheat sheet’. Asking yourself the questions below will provide you with a comprehensive and actionable idea of your current status and what needs to be done - but this is by no means a substitute for a properly researched, designed and formally adopted Web Strategy. We refer to ‘your site’ as the web presence being assessed. This may be a standalone site, or a portal and/or a portfolio of properties (web sites and micro-sites) that share some or all of the listed functionality. The checklist may also be applied for evaluating peer or competitors’ web presence (benchmarking), but its prime function is to synch what you are doing on the Web with realities and forward trends. It was meant to be brief, so enough talking: just sit down, take a pen - think on each question and tick the boxes! Getting visitors Is your site optimised for the prevailing search engines and their current algorithms? Are you regularly monitoring your positioning on search pages and updating your SEO? Do you set targets for improvement in positioning and work on better SEO? Are you proactively using web marketing to promote your site and encourage visits? Are you using search advertising (adwords and their equivalents) to bring your URL onto search pages? Are you using affiliate networks and sites? Are you directly obtaining page space for display ads and links? Are you using blogging (your own or other blog properties) to drive traffic to your site? Are you promoting your site on all other channels? (Print, broadcast, point-of-sale and outdoor, direct mail, e-mail, SMS)? Does every ‘conventional’ advert for your core product /service (or brand positioning adverts) contain your URL? Does every piece of written communication (bills and invoices, letterheads, flyers etc) contain your URL? Do you run viral digital campaigns (e-mail and SMS) incentivising recipients to forward an invitation (or a good reason) to visit your site? Do you run dedicated promotions with incentives (gifts, prizes, lotteries, competitions, games) to drive traffic to your website? Are you regularly (re-)assessing the effectiveness of all promotional activities and adapting your portfolio for better results? Are you making it easy for audiences to remember your URL and visit your site? (short and memorable domain, aid-memoirs like pocket cards, stickers, tear-offs; fast loading front page and sufficient bandwidth) © Vladimir Dimitroff 2007 p 1/5 Web Presence Checklist
Identifying visitors Are you identifying every single visitor, including anonymous and accidental (by cookies or other method)? Have you got a membership status and site registration process? Do you offer incentives for registration (access to more content, free downloads, alerts and notifications, newsletter)? Is registration available separately from your core product /service - for prospects and any non-customers? Is registration automatic for existing customers of your core product /service? (Using the same ID and previously entered data)? Are you capturing explicit personal information (asking visitors and members for some details about them and their interests/preferences)? Are you offering incentives for providing such personal information or for its completeness and currency? Are you making it easy for your visitors (minimum ‘required’ fields, pre-filled fields with available data, incremental updates one-field-at-a-time at their convenience, mouse-over explanations)? Have you got adequate analytical tools and a practice to regularly analyse visits, registrations and user behaviour? Personalisation Once a visitor (or member) is identified, does anything change on your website for this person? Do you change look and feel (e.g. colour scheme, items positions on page) according to explicit preferences? Do you change navigation paths and visible /available sitemap according to visitor status? Do you change specific content according to explicit preferences? Do you change any content according to implicit preferences (viewing context, behaviour history, segment profile)? Does any of this happen dynamically (in real time)? Are you displaying 3rd party adverts (if at all) according to personalisation rules and viewing context? Are you regularly validating personalisation relevance with user feedback? Are you making it easy for users to change/manage personalisation and to provide feedback? Keeping visitors and members Have you got a retention strategy for members and unregistered visitors? Do you monitor and analyse frequency and recency of member visits, duration and intensity of activity on the site? © Vladimir Dimitroff 2007 p 2/5 Web Presence Checklist
Do you provide specific ‘stickiness’ features to encourage repeat visits by unregistered visitors? Do you have a ‘bookmark this site’ button? Do you have a formal definition of a loyal member? What attributes, apart from tenure, does it include: Bringing other members? (referrals) Advocacy: speaking positively in blogs and forums on- and off this site, defending your site, brand and organisation? Responsiveness to campaigns and promotions? Active participation in community life? Contribution through revenue-generating activities (e.g. online purchases)? Regular and constructive feedback? Do you differentiate between members on their loyalty basis? Do you adequately reward loyal members? Operational integration Is the site integrated with your core business processes (is it part of the marketing, sales, delivery and support of your product /service)? Can a customer get any possible information about your product /service and business form the site without having to refer to another source (printed material or visit a branch /store, or call a call centre)? Can customers effect transactions - account management and monetary (purchases of your core product /service) via the site? Can existing customers receive support or file feedback (complaints, compliments, suggestions) via the website? Does the site provide adequate levels of transactional security and personal data protection? Are security and data protection clearly communicated on the site? Do you conduct planned regular assessments of operational issues and initiate improvements? Are you making it easy for existing customers to effect transactions or provide feedback? Does your organisation design provide appropriate (albeit virtual) structure for processes involving the site? Do you have a dedicated editorial team (albeit virtual) or editor (albeit part-time)? Have you got customer support resources allocated to resolving site issues? is there an official ‘community champion’ within your organisation? Are you making it easy for employees to perform site-related tasks (content management /publishing system, support touchpoint integration)? © Vladimir Dimitroff 2007 p 3/5 Web Presence Checklist
Engagement Are you providing facilities for site members (registered users) to communicate between themselves in addition to 2-way communication with your organisation? Does your site offer many-to-many communication facilities like forums or discussion boards? Does your site offer one-to-one facilities between members like instant messaging (IM, chat) and personal messages (webmail)? Do you encourage and facilitate the formation of a community /social network on your site? Do you make personal profiles visible (with permission) to other users wishing to establish contact? Do you offer member search by attributes from the profile or keywords? Do you have ‘FOAF’ (friend-of-a-friend) facilities (showing a contact’s list of contacts, allowing requests to connect)? Do you proactively encourage and manage UGC (user-generated content) on your site? Do you treat input on public forums as content of a certain value? Do you offer (all or some) users blog space on your site? Are your forum and user blog pages visible to search engines? Do you facilitate uploads of other content (images, audio, video) on the site? Do you offer a rating facility for users to score uploaded content? Are you making it easy for users to upload, manage, view and download content? Do you actively participate in community life? Does your organisation have a strategy and a structured approach to using social networks for business purposes? Do you encourage and reward member behaviour which is beneficial to the community as a whole? Do you identify individual members with specific roles (e.g. influencers, authorities/experts, abusers) within the community? Do you treat them differently? Do you encourage and reward actions beneficial to your business? Are you making it easy for community members to become an integral part of your organisation? Monetising Do you consider (currently or in plans) your site as a direct source of revenue? (If your answer is ‘no’ you can skip the remaining questions, but they are worth reading to see if you may be missing something) How many of these potential revenue streams are in your business model: E-commerce (sales of core product /service via shopping basket function on the site)? © Vladimir Dimitroff 2007 p 4/5 Web Presence Checklist
Integrated e-commerce gateway for sales of 3rd party product /service (runs on 3rd party site but user shopping experience is on your site and you receive revenue share)? Intra-portal e-commerce (marketplace): facilitation of trading between members, with per-transaction charges, listing fees etc (eBay model)? Paid membership (monthly, annual or lifetime, with possible privilege tiers)? Paid-for (premium) content: on-demand streaming, paid downloads? Paid-for storage and display of UGC (personal galleries, showrooms, ‘radio stations’)? Revenue share from sales of UGC? Advertising: traditional display space (on a per-view /impression model)? Advertising: affiliate networks (per-click model)? Advertising: search (Adsense or equivalents)? Advertising: content-based (embedded or pre-viewed space/airtime)? Sponsorship deals with relevant brands /organisations? Sales of merchandise (badges, t-shirts, mugs, hats, stationery etc) related to site content, direct or through distribution channels? Off-line and hard-copy products from site content (books, CDs, DVDs, framed pictures etc)? Off-line events with site members and around site content (concerts, video /film projections, sports events, exhibitions, conferences) with paid attendance plus added advertising and sponsorship revenues? Sales of data (with explicit opt-in membership permission) on demographic statistics, behaviour patterns, preferences etc to interested parties for their research? Research as a service (conducting bespoke paid surveys, forums mining etc. among members for 3rd parties)? Education and training - in subjects and areas relevant to your site and users’ interests (visual and performing arts, sports coaching, business skills etc)- paid off- and online courses, sessions, seminars. Donations: voluntary contributions by individuals, companies or public sector entities? Other revenues not listed above? Non-revenue (capital) monetisation: Do you have a strategy to grow the value of the site as an exit asset - based on membership size and quality, turnover and profitability, documented influence? Do you operate or plan any ‘investomer’ schemes where users contribute capital and become shareholders (in compliance with financial regulatory frameworks)? If you answer ‘Yes’ to all questions, you should write the book we didn’t write. Anything below 75% means you need help: consider hiring an experienced Director of Web Strategy and ensure he has the resources to implement the strategy. Or contact the author at PRISM Consulting (UK) Ltd: firstname.lastname@example.org tel. +44(0)7947-034 944 © Vladimir Dimitroff 2007 p 5/5 Web Presence Checklist
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