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.

Website Design

Originality

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?

Features

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?

Page Content

Is each page being utilized optimally? How compelling is the photography, copywriting, call to actions and page layout composition?

Visual Hierarchy

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?

Website Responsiveness

Code Quality

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.

Mobile-Friendly

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 Everything

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

Empathy

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?

Simplicity

Necessary elements are succinct and make sense. Are there any features or elements in the interface that are simply not necessary?

Consistency

A consistent interface design enables users to have a better understanding of how things will work, increasing their efficiency.

Strategic

Every user interface design decision should be purposeful and never aimless. Is the entire navigation process thoughtful and effective?

User Experience (UX) Design

Usability

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?

Pleasant Experience

Does the website meet or exceed user expectations while providing an easygoing experience?

Memorable Experience

Was there anything charming or particularly enjoyable about the website that was inspiring in some way?

Site Speed

Webpages should load instantly to avoid visitors abandoning the site due to slow loading time. There are a variety of things to check for here including the host server, JavaScript, CSS, missing files and images.

Provide Feedback

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)

Page Titles

Is every webpage properly titled and optimized for search engines? Is the name of the website included in each page title?

URLs

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?

Meta Description

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.

Headings

Google scans website content, so organizing body copy with headers and subheadings will help move the crawling process along quicker.

Alt Tags

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.

Outbound Links

Are there a good amount of links within the web content that leads to other webpages outside of the website, including social media pages?

Sitemap

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?

Social Media

Facebook

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.

Twitter

Famous for its 140-character limit and #hashtags, Twitter allows businesses to access customers and enhance brand reputation especially from a customer service standpoint.

Instagram

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

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.

Valuable Content

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?

Engagement

Are you properly engaging with your followers and networking with like-minded others?

Conversion

Are you monitoring how well your social media efforts are performing? How many posts lead users to your website and into a customer?

Online Advertising

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?

Adwords

If you’re looking to increase website traffic, grow online sales, get the phones ringing and keep customers coming back, Google AdWords can help.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

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?

Branding

Controlled

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?

Clear Mission

Overall, is your company mission clear throughout all online communications? Are there answers to frequently asked questions?

Target Niche

How well-aware are we of our audience? Has there been any formal market research performed to verify data regarding target niche?

Brand Values

Are the brand values being conveyed throughout all online communications?

Brand Message

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?

Consistent

Overall, are communications consistent and look in unison from the website to social media to online advertising?

What’s Next?

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.

If you enjoyed this, please 💚 + follow me for more.

I’m Alyssa Leverenz, a brand strategist helping startups and small businesses articulate their purpose with authority and authenticity.

Head to my website to get in touch with me.