Digital Media Analysis: The Essential Checklist (creative process series: part 3 of 6)
What Is The Purpose of a Digital Media Analysis?
Think of digital media as online portals to your business. As a business owner, you wouldn’t leave your physical store in shambles, so don’t do it online either. Before launching a new digital marketing campaign, it’s important to audit the current situation with a thorough digital media analysis. This will help formulate creative direction and a proper plan of action by identifying problems and solutions. As a brand strategist, this is part of my creative process. Below, I have outlined a general checklist that helps guide the digital media analysis.
Upon the first visit to the website, does it stand out as exceptionally unique and custom or is it a generic template that thousands of others use?
What are the key features and main purpose of the website? Are there any unnecessary features being used or any necessary features not being used?
Is each page being utilized optimally? How compelling is the photography, copywriting, call to actions and page layout composition?
When scanning through the page, is the most important information the most prominent content on the page? Are bodies of text broken into sections and organized with headings and subheadings?
Things to check for during a code audit would be the state of the cascading style sheets (CSS) media queries, unnecessary code that may be slowing down the site, bugs, viruses and violations of programming conventions.
Traffic from mobile devices make up the majority of online visitors so it’s important to optimize the website for all mobile devices. During a digital media analysis, the website will be opened from many different devices.
Flexible grids, layouts, images… If you don’t set a viewport for every type of mobile device, those devices will render a webpage at the width of a typical desktop screen. Each page should scale automatically to the user’s device.
Adjusting Screen Resolutions
Designers and developers must design to accommodate for various pixel resolutions and landscape orientation options (mobile devices can be rotated to show websites in both landscape and portrait).
Touch Screens vs. Cursors
Touch screens obviously come with different design guidelines than cursor-based interaction. Is the experience appropriate in both case scenarios?
For All Things Web Development Related
When in doubt about anything technical, my partner, Andy, advises me. He has extensive knowledge of web programming languages. Check him out.
User Interface (UI) Design
By focusing on the user first, we are able to create an interface that lets them achieve their goals. Is the website’s usability intuitive to target users?
Necessary elements are succinct and make sense. Are there any features or elements in the interface that are simply not necessary?
A consistent interface design enables users to have a better understanding of how things will work, increasing their efficiency.
Every user interface design decision should be purposeful and never aimless. Is the entire navigation process thoughtful and effective?
User Experience (UX) Design
Is the website easy to use or clunky and difficult to navigate? Are the URLs search-friendly or do they have random characters is it? Is there a custom favicon associated with the site to help users identify it?
Does the website meet or exceed user expectations while providing an easygoing experience?
Was there anything charming or particularly enjoyable about the website that was inspiring in some way?
Visual cues and simple messaging can show users whether their actions have led to the expected result. Is every single step of the way properly mapped out for users?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Is every webpage properly titled and optimized for search engines? Is the name of the website included in each page title?
Does each page’s URL consistently reflect the site’s information architecture?
Keywords + Phrases
Does the content on each page include keywords and phrases that users will likely be searching for on the web? On the other hand, are there any over-emphasized terms?
Search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the searched for phrase is contained in the description. Each page should have a 160-character snippet that summarizes the content on that page.
Google scans website content, so organizing body copy with headers and subheadings will help move the crawling process along quicker.
Do all images have relevant alt tags included? The text in the alt tag is displayed in place of the image if the image can’t be shown.
Are there a good amount of links within the web content that leads to other webpages outside of the website, including social media pages?
Is there a XML file with the full website archived? It should be easily findable on the site and submitted to all major search engines.
Regularly Published Content
Is new content published on a regular basis in line with SEO best practices?
There is an audience for almost any business on Facebook, and thanks to their suite of tools like ads, business pages and messenger, it’s one of the most powerful business solutions.
Famous for its 140-character limit and #hashtags, Twitter allows businesses to access customers and enhance brand reputation especially from a customer service standpoint.
If you have a visual product-based brand, then promoting on Instagram is a must. Even if not, it’s the perfect tool for sharing a brand story and culture with behind-the-scenes photos ops.
Linkedin can be a key network for enhancing brand alignment and business development. Is your business sharing engaging articles that would appeal to other professionals?
Other (Snapchat, Pinterest, Google+)
If you’re targeting a younger demographic, Snapchat is a fun way to share insight into your brand and culture that can resonate in others and form strong brand alliance. Pinterest is essentially an online mood board that allows you to collate visual elements to share with a client or team. Google+ is tied directly into the most used search engine in the world. That should be reason enough for any business to be active there.
Is your business sharing educational, motivational or entertaining content that your audience wants? Is your style formal or informal? Do you use lots of emojis and color? Are you a storyteller? Do you include videos and lots of photos that help establish your brand and attract people with similar interests?
Are you properly engaging with your followers and networking with like-minded others?
Are you monitoring how well your social media efforts are performing? How many posts lead users to your website and into a customer?
Google Online Display Ads
Has your business ever experimented with Google online display ads? If so, what were the results? If not, would they be worthwhile at this point?
If you’re looking to increase website traffic, grow online sales, get the phones ringing and keep customers coming back, Google AdWords can help.
PPC is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked.
Social Media Ads
Has your business ever experimented with social media ads? If so, on what platforms? What were the results? Is it worth launching a new campaign?
Boost Social Media Accounts + Posts
Has your business ever experimented with boosting social media accounts and posts to reach a broacher audience online?
Is all the content managed by designated people that are upholding certain standards? Are there brand guidelines for content strategy, brand language, design elements (logo, color, typography, photography) and writing style?
Overall, is your company mission clear throughout all online communications? Are there answers to frequently asked questions?
How well-aware are we of our audience? Has there been any formal market research performed to verify data regarding target niche?
Are the brand values being conveyed throughout all online communications?
Is the main message and key points being communicated clearly and consistently across all digital media?
Custom Domain Name
Does the website have a well-branded domain name or could it be improved to something better? Does it match the name of the business? Are initials, numbers or dashes being used?
Custom Email Address
Are there associated email addresses with the website domain or are key players in the company using a third party email system like gmail?
Overall, are communications consistent and look in unison from the website to social media to online advertising?
Coming up on this 6-part series will be a guide to positioning your business, how to formulate a comprehensive marketing plan and how to become an industry leader.