Welcome back to EPIC Score Friday!

This is week 3 of our EPIC Scoring coverage for 2018.
Missed out on last week’s scores? Check them out here.

We knew it was coming, and now the time has finally come… This week we turn the EPIC Score lens towards our own site, and dissect it with the same tools and methods we use for our own clients.

Our mantra still applies:

If your corporate website sucks, then every prospect, customer, partner, investor and employee interested in your company thinks you suck!

In the interest of being fully transparent, this week we’re scoring ourselves!

This week’s site

EPIC Score Results

EPIC Score Results

EPIC0

Before

EPIC0

After

Engagement
70
75
Presentation
80
93
Infrastructure
72
90
Content
52
92
SEO
55
88
Conversion
86
89
Optimization
74
96
Reach
38
50
Events
39
42

LEGEND
>85 = Great, 75-85 = Good, 50-75 = Average, <50 = Bad

Detailed Analysis

AtreNet (Before) — 63 Overall

Strengths:

  • Strong preservation of backlinks month over month
  • Page load speeds in Chrome and Firefox are very fast at 1.3 seconds on average, which helps bounce rate
  • Responsive design works well across a variety of mobile devices, screen sizes and browsers
  • Mobile Google PageSpeed scores are solid overall but could be better (81)

Weaknesses:

  • Implementation of an event calendar for industry events, tradeshows, webinars, etc — We could be much better about including the events our clients attend as well as upcoming events of note (especially if we’re attending), for added SEO benefit
  • Missing meta data and alt tags site-wide
  • Uncompressed, oversized images with a homepage site load of over 5mb
  • Desktop Google Pagespeed scores are poor (25)

The Punchlist

Ouch! A 63?!?  Not where we want to be. Trust us, we feel your pain.
Our next step was to compile a detailed punchlist to address some of our glaring weaknesses, as well as a “tidying up” of our messaging and content for SEO.

 

  • Engagement (70):
    *Site bounce rate isn’t too shabby at 33.8%. As a future initiative we will A/B test adding an “abandonment form” that happens when you navigate outside of the browser frame with the mouse cursor for lead capture
    Estimated time to complete: 3-5 hours
  • Presentation (80):
    *Tune site copy and messaging to further improve Flesch Reading Ease scores
    Estimated time to complete: 2-3 hours
    *Add a YouTube icon to the site footer, crosslinking to the AtreNet YouTube channel
    Estimated time to complete: 15-20 minutes
  • Infrastructure (72):
    *Update XML sitemap to correct URLs
    Estimated time to complete: 20 minutes
    *Configure Slack alerts for critical CMS updates via Rock the Slackbot
    Estimated time to complete: 20 minutes
    *Add and configuring the robots.txt file
    Estimated time to complete: 15 minutes
  • Content (52):
    *Revise site messaging to better leverage Latent Semantic Indexing using tools such as LSIGraph
    Estimated time to complete: 3 hours
    *Increase overall word count on Case Studies and homepage content
    Estimated time to complete: 1 hour
  • SEO (55):
    *Complete a full review and optimize all site metadata
    Estimated time to complete: 2-3 hours
    *Validate all images contain correct ALT tags
    Estimated time to complete: 1 hour
    *Integrate keywords into H1 tags when applicable
    Estimated time to complete: 30-45 minutes
  • Conversion (86):
    *Further optimize analytics reporting with revised event tracking for form CTAs and blog posts
    Estimated time to complete: 3-4 hours
  • Optimization (74):
    *Compress and optimize imagery into web-ready formats and sizing
    Estimated time to complete: 1-2 hours
    *Minify CSS and implement lazy loading functionality
    Estimated time to complete: 1 hour
    *Target Google PageSpeed desktop performance and perform an optimization pass
    Estimated time to complete: 1-3 hours
  • Reach (40):
    *Facilitate better social media sharing (and traffic) and add more options to the blog (Slack, email, Google+)
    Estimated time to complete: 1-2 hours
  • Events (39):
    *As a future initiative, implement an Events page with calendar for industry events in the B2B space
    Estimated time to complete: 5-8 hours

Once we had our list, it was time to get to work. Once we finished addressing the immediate items on the list, we scored the site again:

 

AtreNet (After) — 85 Overall

Our end result was a much improved, higher-performing, and more SEO-friendly site.
There’s always value in checking your own backyard before yelling at the neighbors, right?

Strengths:

  • Improved PageSpeed Desktop (84) and Mobile (82) scores
  • Alt tags and metadata optimized for SEO
  • Overall page load reduced by 50% (down to 2.56mb)
  • Multiple CSS files condensed into 1 file and minified
  • Latent Semantic Indexing used in messaging to drive relevancy and SEO
  • Flesch Reading Ease score increased by 16% (67.2)

Weaknesses:

  • Implement an events page for crosslinking
  • Add a modal abandonment form for increasing lead gen and lowering bounce rate
  • Leverage new social sharing functionality to increase low social media traffic to site

Wrap Up

In the end, we were able to bump up the EPIC Score to an 85 after implementing the majority of the items on our punch list.  It’s important to keep in mind that the EPIC Score is a snapshot of your site at a specific moment in time.  It’s not a “one and done” affair, as your site is constantly evolving.  We made a 23 point increase today, but there’s always room to grow — and the sisyphean quest for a “perfect site” never ends.

As of this post, our current maximum possible score is a 94 — but we’ll need to grow our social media and AdWords traffic a bit more.  The increased traffic will also eventually lead to higher page and domain authority.  We can also score a few extra points if we participated in more industry-related events, or hosted our own user conference (like some of our clients).

Our next steps in the coming months will be to work towards crossing off some of the additional revisions that didn’t make it in time for this post (or that take time to take effect):

 

Big Rocks

– Create a filterable Events page (with a variety of conferences, tradeshows etc) that crosslink to the event sites for major tentpole events in a variety of industries
– Set aside marketing budget for a new PPC campaign in AdWords to drive additional traffic to the site
– Continue to share quality content via social media, to drive (and measure) traffic to the site

 

Small Rocks

– Create a custom Google Analytics dashboard for measuring blog page views and time on site to determine what blog content works, what doesn’t — and tune accordingly
– Monitor site Trust Rank scores, which are based on site traffic and referrals (ranked via Woorank)
– Monitor Domain / Page Authority scores, which are also traffic and referral-based (measured by Moz tools)

 

It’s a moving target.  The EPIC Score is a living, evolving process.  The weights and metrics change alongside industry (and search engine) benchmarks.  Your score today may not be your score next quarter, or even next month.  By design, the EPIC Score is supposed to be challenging to score above 90, and difficult to score better than 95. Why you ask? Because nobody’s that perfect.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aspire to greatness.

We’re here to help.

Check back in a few months, when we revisit our scores in a follow-up post when we talk about our progress. Thanks for reading!

 

Want to know how your site ranks against your competition?

Get your EPIC SCORE

How do we measure your EPIC SCORE?

EPIC SCORE looks at your website vis-a-vis your competition. We pull from over 100 data points to create a scoring system that is highly quantitative. We leave room for qualitative analysis, drawing from our decades of experience.

Outlined below, are representative questions and data points that are included as part of the larger aggregate EPIC SCORE.

E – Engagement

How do visitors interact with your site?*
How many pages do they view?
How far do they scroll?*
How long do visitors stay on your site?

P – Presentation

How easy are the menus and navigation to interact with?
Is the site responsive?
Does the site work on a variety of browsers and devices?
Is the correct markup in place?

I – Infrastructure

Does your site have any errors (404, broken links, etc)?
Is your CMS updated to the most recent security release?
Do you use a CDN to speed up page load times?
Does your site use HTTPS vs HTTP?

C – Content

Is your site easily readable?
What’s the overall word count and how dense is it?
Do you leverage Latent Semantic Indexing?
How prominent are your keywords?

S – SEO

What is the quality of your backlinks?
How many images are missing alt tags?
What are your page and domain authority ranked at?
Do you leverage keywords in your H2 and H3 tags?

C – Conversion

Do you use event/goal tracking?*
Do you measure scroll depth?*
Do you use AdWords and if so, is it configured properly?
Do you utilize Google Tag Manager for scripts and tracking code?

O – Optimization

How long does the site take to load?
Does the site work well on mobile and desktop?
Are your images web-ready and optimized?
How many HTTP requests does your site make?

R – Reach

Do you utilize social media consistently and update regularly?
How much traffic does your site get from social media?
Who is your top social media referrer?

E – Events

Do you list the events you’re attending/presenting at on the homepage?
Do you have an events page, and is it sortable by content or date?
Do you participate in any industry events?
Do you host industry conferences?

*These are measured via Google Analytics, when available.

About AtreNet

AtreNet has been crafting corporate websites for Silicon Valley tech companies since 1996. We created the EPIC® score as the definitive ranking of your website versus the competition.

Tushar Atre

About the Author – Tushar Atre

The EPIC Score is a culmination of the 20+ years Tushar has been principal at AtreNet, Silicon Valley’s enterprise web agency. When he’s not pushing his team to bend the limits of quality, speed, and value to ensure the best possible outcomes for clients, you can find Tushar surfing in Santa Cruz. The AtreNet team figured it out early — live where you love, and create the rest from there. You can ask Tushar about his favorite construction projects, food, Wim Hof, and the best ways to get from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz on a mountain bike.