Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in an Expert Evaluation?

Practical suggestions that will make your website more effective – looking at all the major pages of your website, not just two or three. My Quick Look evaluation is based on first impressions and can only hit the high points. But with the Expert Evaluation, I pore over your website with a practiced eye, sometimes for hours, analyzing its usability, suitability, effectiveness and accessibility. Using a long customized checklist, I search for any problems. I test your shopping cart – short of actually making a purchase. If you want to increase the profitability and usefulness of your website, you’ll know what to do next.

How long does it take to get my evaluation?

Sometimes you’ll receive your Quick Look evaluation the same day, usually by the next day. We think you’ll find it insightful, so you can imagine what your full Expert Evaluation will be like.

Your professional Expert Evaluation will arrive by email within three days, often within one day. I figure you don’t like to wait unnecessarily.

What if I’m not satisfied with my Expert Evaluation?

I offer a 100% guarantee of your satisfaction. If you feel I haven’t given your money’s worth, let me know. I’ll try to make it right. If not, I’ll cheerfully refund your money.

Will you sell my email address?

I use your email address only to provide the services you requested. I don’t give it to anyone else, and I won’t even reuse it ourselves. Email marketing may be a useful tool for other people, but until the worldwide problem of spam improves, I don’t plan to get involved with it.

Is my personal information secure with you?

The nice thing about our objective, unbiased evaluation service is that I don’t need to collect personal information about you, nor do I want to. I want to look at your site as a total stranger would. So almost everything I know about you comes from your own website (except possibly your name and address).

All your financial information, such as your credit card number, is kept secure by PayPal and not shared with me. When you make a payment for our services, PayPal tells me that you’ve sent the money, and processes it for us. I’m not involved with any of your personal financial information.

My staff consists of just myself. Can your evaluation service help small office and home office (SOHO) businesses?

Yes, very effectively. Most similar services cost much more, often thousands of dollars. With our initial consultation, and our low-priced evaluation service, anyone can afford us. If you have thousands of dollars to spend on critiquing your website, I encourage you to do so – wisely. If not, you are wise to trust me to evaluate your website.

Why don’t you charge more?

Probably I could. After all, I’ve been doing this on the Web since 1995, and on paper for much longer. But I’m making a deliberate choice to serve website owners who have smaller budgets and greater expertise. I don’t want to add any barriers to good people getting ahead on the Web.

Do I detect a rant coming on?

The Web has too many bad websites: bad in purpose and execution. So many websites are not what they appear to be. Keyword arbitrage and domain squatting mean that search engines often send searchers to websites or directories with all ads and no real information. It is the local people like you, the specialists, who can change that with their websites. Your website can offer authoritative, first-hand information for decision-making in a way that faceless databases can’t.

Do you guarantee top rankings on search engines? Why not?

Your rankings depend on your competition. If yours is the only website of its kind, talking about things that no one else talks about, you might easily gain a number one position. Poems are one of the most popular search topics on the Web. If you write custom poetry, you would have a very hard time coming up on top when someone searches Google for “poems,” or “love poems,” but maybe not for “custom cowboy love poems.” On the other hand, how many people search Google for “custom cowboy love poems”?

What are the costs in website evaluation?

Three factors are time, expertise, and testing. A quick look at your website might be free. An exhaustive analysis might be expensive. Your brother-in-law’s opinion might be free (and often is). An expert opinion based on 20-years experience might be expensive. Running your home page through an online checker might be free. Running a multi-variate testing program with paid users might be expensive.

Like any direct-response marketing, testing a website costs money. The larger the testing sample, the more reliably you can work with it.

For example, if you had 1,000 visitors to your site each day, you could test alternative web pages by sending some to one page, some to another. One page might say “DON’T DELAY, PURCHASE TODAY” across the top and another might have the same headline across the bottom. Other pages might have a pastel border around each paragraph, or a bar graph in the middle, or a bar graph combined with a pastel border, and so on. By tracking visitors to your website, you can record the ones who ultimately make a purchase, and what pages they viewed along the way. Analysis of these records will indicate which factors (the headline, the border, the graph) were most effective.

The problem with this kind of analysis is that you have to have a large sample. It might give you reliable results with 10,000 visitors but not with 10. And at 30 cents per click on Google Adwords, 10,000 visitors would cost $3,000. Even if you had 10,000 visitors a day without having to advertise, you would face what economists call an “opportunity cost”. That is, while testing, if you send 4,000 visitors to a page that’s half as effective as your best page, you’ve lost half your opportunity for sales from those 4,000 visitors. Imagine what that would mean if you only had 10 visitors a day. So testing has a cost.

On the other hand, not testing also has a cost. If you ran a website for a year before finding out there was a way to double your sales by making simple changes, you would realize what the cost of not testing was.