We have a Google Report Card sign-up form on our home page and a lot of companies have had us review their sites.  We try to look at the site in a objective way, making judgements based solely on what we know Google likes and doesn’t like.  We used to offer a 190-point Website evaluation that was much more subjective and offered feedback on things like the graphics, the content and other things.  People paid $599 for that service.  It was interesting to me that people asked us to review their site.  Sure, it seems logical that you’d hire a web design company to review your site, but we’re actually all web reviewers.  You are, whether you know it or not.  While we design sites and write marketing copy and optimize sites for Google placement, we’re also just plain old web users ourselves.  We use the web a lot.  We’re each on the web 12-14 hours a day, but after more than a decade on the web, aren’t you also an expert?  Let’s face it, even if you’re only on the web for 2 hours a day, that’s more than 7300 hours on the web.  That’s certainly enough to consider yourself an expert web surfer.

Think about it, there’s a website reviewer in all of us.  We all make split-second decisions about whether or not we’re going to stay on a page.  In fact, a study last year showed that we’re actually able to determine if the site looks credible in less than 1/8th of a second.  You don’t have to even read one word.  Just a glance at the site and you can tell whether or not it’s professional.  With statistics like that, can you afford to not do everything in your power to improve your site?  It’s amazing that your customers (who, themselves are also website reviewers with more than 7200 hours of experience) are making decisions that quickly.  In the blink of an eye, you can either win or lose their business.  Sure, you can spend tons of time crafting every single word, but it’s the graphics in large part that will determine if they choose to stick around longer than 2 seconds.  If they have an initial impression that your site is unprofessional, cluttered or difficult to read, you’ll have an uphill battle trying to get them to even read your first paragraph, no matter how much time you spent writing it.

Think about how you use the web.  Don’t you do the same thing?  Do you click on a site, make a quick decision about the company and click the back button as fast as you can move your mouse?  What is it that compels you to stay?  Is it an enticing headline?  Or maybe a provocative photo?   How about color?  As you use the web over the next couple days, try and recognize what you’re doing and why.  Your own web-surfing behavior can really help you to improve your own site if you’re able to determine why you choose one site over another.  Hope that helps.

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