Do you know? Are you brave enough to find out?
What if you could see your website through someone else’s eyes? And what if you could use that feedback to make your website better, a little at a time?
If you’ve been around Horkey HandBook long, you’ll notice that I’ve made quite a few changes over the last six months. Heck, my website isn’t even a year old, yet I’ve gone through two themes, three logos and dozens of other revisions. Why?
It’s simple. I want my website to be as good as it possibly can be. I want it to be easy on the eyes, a valuable resource for other freelancers/webpreneurs and a place where people can’t wait to come back and visit. Here are three ways I’ve asked for feedback and some of the changes I’ve made.
1. Friends and Family
This was my first resource for sourcing feedback. If you’ve just launched (or are about to launch) your website, sending an email to your friends and family is a great way to get eyes on your site early on. Of course you want them to read your content too.
What better way to get them there than asking for their help? Send a short and sweet email linking to your site and asking a few specific questions. Here are a few to get you started:
- Is my website well organized and easy to read?
- If not, what can I do to improve the flow?
- What do you think of the layout/color choices?
- Any feedback you can think of to make it better?
Facebook was the second place I went to for feedback. I wanted people that didn’t know me personally to give honest and constructive criticism about my site.
It’s probably not a great idea to just post the link on your personal page. Instead, join a networking group or two (if you’re not a part of one already) and ask them for help.
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people (other hustlers or people working on building a similar business) is a great way to get valuable feedback on your website. The fact that they don’t know you personally will hopefully enable them to give their honest opinion, rather than being worried about hurting your feelings.
3.Peek User Testing
I’ve been using a free service called Peek User Testing for the past 3-4 months. This has been hugely beneficial in learning how the average person sees my website, without having any context to what it’s about before landing there.
You can get three different videos from different people that are reviewing your website for free each month. I try to do this at the beginning of the month and have a calendar reminder so I don’t forget.
You request the videos by plugging in your name, website and email address. Usually, they show up in your inbox between 24-48 hours later (sometimes as soon as an hour later).
The company pays individuals to test and review websites. The person records themselves looking at your site and answering a few different questions.
The first question is what your website is about (remember they didn’t come from anywhere that would provide this to them, so they’re forced to figure it out only based on your text/photos). The next asks them where they would want to go next and why. The third question asks them what they like or find frustrating about your site.
Most run between 3-6 minutes in my experience. I haven’t implemented everything suggested, but I have made a lot of changes based on their answers to the above questions. Overall, it’s been hugely helpful. And you can’t beat free!
What I’ve Changed as a Result
As I’ve mentioned, there are quite a few changes that I’ve made over the last 6-8 months. Here’s a list of some of them:
- I went from the free (and pretty basic) twenty-twelve theme to Accelerate Pro by Theme Grill. It cost me $49, plus the time it took my web guy to move content over.
- My logo. I’m on my third one. The first one was okay; it really helped me to figure out what I wanted. The second was beautiful (remember the wood-grain one?), but confused people. The third is my current version – modern, sleek and gorgeous (IMO).
- The menu bar. I’ve tried to reorganize my pages based on feedback and how users explore my site.
- My home page. I used to have my blog as the homepage. A month or two ago, I switched that to my about page and now have my blog listed as a tab on the menu instead.
- I changed any links listed on the site to open to a new page (rather than rerouting someone away from the post/my site).
- I started using the “read more” tag. This way someone can see the title and first few paragraphs of multiple posts on one page, rather than having to scroll and scroll and scroll to see what else I’ve written about.
This list just covers a few. As I mentioned, I continually make changes and updates based on feedback, my goals and what I’d like to see modified based on what others are doing that is working well for them.
Remember to Consider the Source
A word of caution if I may: Don’t make every little change that someone suggests. This is your website after all, not theirs.
It took me a long time to change my wood-grain logo, for example. I liked it – I still do. But I was consistently getting the feedback that it was confusing. So eventually (after a few months of hearing the same thing from multiple people), I made the change.
You can change what you want. We’re all individuals and have our own opinions, likes and dislikes. Choose something to get started, listen to others feedback, but remember that your opinion carries the most weight.
If you don’t regularly ask for feedback on your website, you should start. Asking friends and family when you’re just getting going is a great way to start and get more eyes on your site or blog. Gathering feedback from peers that you don’t know personally is another way to find out what people really think.
Lastly, using a free service like Peek User Testing is an excellent way for you to see how a stranger views your website, without the context of coming from somewhere else (like a guest post you wrote or a social media link sharing your blog).
Try not to take it personally when someone offers an opinion different than your own. Make sure to consider the source and that you don’t need to every little change someone suggests.
Have you ever asked for feedback on your website? If not, what’s holding you back?