What is a Website Grader?
Website Grader is a great tool created by HubSpot and is available at www.websitegrader.com. It evaluates a website’s “marketing effectiveness”. HubSpot compares the website to the millions of websites that it has evaluated and generates a website grade on the spot. The grade is between 1 and 100, with 100 being the highest possible. It’s a really effective way of measuring a number of factors that influence your website’s ability to attract readers. We use it almost every day to track improvements to our clients’ sites and regularly score our own site to make continual improvements and adjustments. Best of all, it’s free!
How does Website Grader come up with your grade?
The exact algorithm that Website Grader uses to evaluate a website is, according to the site, a “proprietary blend of over 50 different variables, including search engine data, website structure, approximate traffic, site performance, and others.” Put simply, it’s a measurement of your ability to get found, engage readers, and start converting interest into sales-ready leads!
Some of the 50 variables that are included on the report are:
- Website traffic volume
- How many other websites link to your website
- Is the website metadata complete (page title, meta description, page headings)?
- Is there ALT text for all images?
- Is a blog linked to the website? If so, it generates a grade for the blog.
- Is a Twitter account linked to the website. If so, it generates a grade for the Twitter account.
- Domain age and expiration date
- Moz Rank (from SEOmoz)
- Does the website (or blog) have an RSS feed?
- Does the website have conversion forms?
How to Improve Your Grade
Maybe you’ve already run a Website Grader report for your website and you’re wondering how to improve your grade. Here are ten ways to quickly improve your grade on the Website Grader report.
1. Make sure your domain expiration date is more than one year away.
The search engines like established websites that have been around for a while and will be there in the future. HubSpot says that the search engines don’t like temporary websites. Signal your plans to be around for a long time by buying a two or three year subscription. Don’t let your subscription run down until there’s just one month left before it expires. Since one year’s domain service costs around ten bucks, there’s no reason to not have that expiration date out at least a couple of years into the future.
2. Make sure that you have a 301 redirect pointing yourdomain.com to www.yourdomain.com.
Search experts claim that if you are missing this redirect between www.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com that your SEO juice is getting split across what Google sees as two separate domains. By creating the 301 redirect, you ensure that all of the SEO authority that belongs to your domain gets concentrated on it.
3. Make sure that all of your images have ALT text.
The Website Grader report will ding you if you have lots of images on your website without ALT text. Fortunately, this is a quick fix. ALT text is a way to let Google and the other search engines know what the image is about. The search engines can’t read images. A good strategy from an SEO perspective is to use the same keyword from the web page in your ALT text for the images.
4. Fix the problems with your website’s meta data that are highlighted on the report.
Your website’s metadata should reflect your search engine optimization strategy. Your metadata should be meticulously cared for. The Website Grader report checks several types of metadata – Meta Description, Page Titles and Page Headings. Do you pages have a meta description? Do they have a heading that’s designated as H1 (a CSS designation)? Fix any errors mentioned on the report and your score should rise.
5. Create a conversion page.
A conversion page (or landing page – two names for the same thing) is a key component of any inbound marketing strategy. You need a web page with a form requesting visitors contact information in order to convert anonymous website traffic into leads that you can place into a lead nurturing campaign. These pages often offer some kind of downloadable content in exchange for the visitor’s contact information.
Call to Action buttons, conversion pages, and downloadable content all go hand-in-hand as the key way to generate leads from your website. If you don’t have them, how can your website be a source for leads?
Don’t stop with just one conversion page. A HubSpot study shows that businesses with over 40 conversion pages got 12 times more leads than those with only 1-5 conversion pages. Check out the diagrams on the right.
6. Add a blog to your website.
If you’re not blogging you are missing out on a sure-fire way to increase website traffic. HubSpot conducted a study that shows that businesses that blog have 55% more website visitors than companies that don’t blog. Need further motivation? HubSpot also found that B2B companies that blog get 67% more leads each month than companies that don’t blog.
7. Create an RSS feed for your blog
This is another quick fix. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a allows users to subscribe to web content – blogs, news, any content that is frequently update – without having to visit each site individually. You use an RSS reader, or aggregator, to read all of the content that you’ve subscribed to in one place.
A best practice for blog sites is to offer readers two ways to subscribe to your blog: by email and by RSS. As your library of blog article grows, so will your subscriber base.
Adding an RSS feed to your blog is usually very simple. Most blogging platforms offer it as a standard option, or plug-in. You go into your blog configuration panel and click the option for an RSS feed and an email subscription field. Usually, no coding is necessary.
8. Open a twitter account and start tweeting about each new blog article.
Assuming that you have a blog, this is another quick hit. If you’re blogging and not promoting your blog articles on social media, you’re missing out on an easy way to let the world know about your new blog article. After all, there are over 200 million Twitter users. Twitter has a 140 character limit per message, but for a number of reasons it’s best to keep your message below 120 characters. Include a link in your tweet to your blog article URL. Also, use a URL shortener, such as Google’s (http://goo.gl/) to save characters for your enticing message.
Many people are searching for content on the web. Google and other search engines index Twitter, so in addition to Twitters own user base, your tweet may get found by someone using Google.
9. Ask a friend or co-worker to retweet your blog article messages
Another quick hit. The website grader report looks at some of your recent blog articles and checks to see how many times the articles have been retweeted. If many people are retweeting your blog articles, that’s a sign that people enjoyed your content and the content is good. Getting others to tweet or retweet messages about your blog articles will expand your reach and build a following.
10. Create some inbound links to your website.
Inbound links are considered to be an important indicator of a website’s authority. More links, especially high quality links from relevant, high traffic websites, will not only bring more visitors to your website via the links, they help with your rankings on Google and other search engines. You can request links from your business partners. You can also build your own inbound links by participating in discussions relevant to your products and services. Simply include a link that points to a page on your website within the body of the discussion. For example, you might point out a recent blog article or white paper that you wrote that relates directly to the discussion. You can easily build inbound links at sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Pinterest, and many more social media websites.
The Website Grader report is a great free tool for giving your website a quick check-up. If you want help improving your grade quickly, follow the ten steps listed above. Or, give us a call at Espresso B2B Marketing. We can help you improve you Website Grader score, and more important, we can help you generate more leads from your website.