Website Reviews Come With A Risk

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Website Reviews Come With A Risk

By Barry Welford

SMM has now launched a very useful website mini-review service. In doing market research on other website review services, some interesting aspects came to light that many will find of interest.

Free Is Never Free

That innovative thinker, Chris Anderson, will be publishing his new book, Free, at some time in 2008, we presume. This will discuss giving zero cost products/services away for free and then making money on upgraded versions. That's one of the opportunities this zero-cost virtual world now gives us. A more important sub-theme in the book is that of course everyone pays for such products or services by investing their personal time in them. This means that you should be even more skeptical in checking the teeth of any gift horses. Looking after that horse could involve major effort and expense.

This is particularly important in thinking about website review processes. Whatever you learn from such a process may well involve you in major effort to implement the findings. Given the importance of your website and of your time, it's important to make the right choice.

Who can best assess your website's performance?

Whatever objectives you as the owner may have for your website, they can only be achieved if there are enough visitors to the website and if they can take the actions that you hope for. So it boils down to good visitor traffic and visitors having satisfactory experiences on the website. Both aspects are tough to evaluate. If you do not think so, just spend a little time checking out the excellent research work that Jared Spool, and his team at UIE (User Interface Engineering), do on website usability. There's more to the way visitors move around a website than the you might have imagined.

Which website review process is best for you?

Assuming that you are not about to invest in a massive program of visitor testing of the website, some simpler process that looks at all aspects of performance must be found. All aspects of performance covers a lot of ground. To get a sense of this, you might wish to review a very long checklist for website review put out by Polson Enterprises. Unfortunately this has not been updated since 2006, but most of it is still very appropriate. It stretches to fifteen pages and includes almost 300, often meaty, paragraphs on different aspects of website performance.

A website review covering that degree of detail is a major undertaking. A better initial step is to take a 'big picture' or 'helicopter vision' approach. This will help to identify where work may be needed. If you are searching for free resources for this big picture approach, there are two main alternatives. Some Forums offer such 'big picture' website reviews and some experts will do such reviews but require the freedom to publish their work.

Forums Offering Website Reviews

The type of website review you will get from a Forum depends on the interests of its members and their skills and experience. You should only consider active forums where you're likely to get a number of members commenting. Three Forums seem to do a reasonable job in this respect:

Continue reading this article.

About the Author:
Barry Welford, President of SMM Strategic Marketing Montreal works with business owners and senior management on Internet Marketing strategy and action plans to grow their companies. He is a moderator at the Cre8asite Forums and writes on current issues on the Internet and on the Mobile Web in three blogs, BPWrap, StayGoLinks and The Other Bloke's Blog.
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