Get Your Web Properties in Top Shape If You Want Online Success

Ever think about the health of your website? You should because site health is crucially important.

A healthy website works as expected and delivers the results you hope for. Trouble is it’s hard to tell just by looking whether your site is or isn’t in excellent shape.

On the surface, it might seem as if everything is working well. But then you probe deeper. Tests reveal serious problems. Perhaps site visitors can’t fully engage with your content. Perhaps they’re prevented from easily doing whatever it is you want them to do.

Mason James is a proponent of Valet's holistic, hierarchical site-health assessment approach.
Mason James is Valet’s cofounder and head of business development.

If you’re a Valet client, you don’t have to worry because site healthcare is among Valet’s retinue of services.

However, if you’re not a Valet client, let cofounder Mason James explain Valet’s very effective approach to giving your website excellent health.

Holistic Approach to Site Health

According to Mason, Valet takes a holistic approach to website health. Valet does this in part by evaluating site health hierarchically.

“There are many, many different metrics we look at to assess site health,” Mason indicates. “But in order for those metrics to produce intelligent insights, we have to put each metric into an appropriate level of the hierarchy we embrace.

“A total of five levels comprise our site health assessment hierarchy. They stack one on top of the other into the form of a pyramid that looks very much like Maslow’s hierachy of needs pyramid.”

Mason says at the base of this pyramid is the assessment metric of security.

After that comes usability, which relates to website responsiveness.

Then traffic, a reflection of how well the site engages the audience.

At the top of the pyramid: conversion—actions taken by the site’s visitors.

“This approach allows us to contextualize the health problems your site may be suffering and then know the right order to address them in.

“For example, we might discover vulnerabilities in your site that leave it open to hacking. This problem fits within the area of security. Since security occupies a place at the base of the pyramid, that makes it a foundational concern. As a foundational concern, it gets treated first. Until we address it, we can’t be successful treating problems we found higher up in the pyramid.”

Can Affect Multiple Levels

Mason contends that some site-health deficiencies produce problems felt across multiple levels of the hierarchy.

“Consider the 404 error code,” he says. “As a site-health issue, it fits into the usability level of the hierarchy because it creates a bad experience for the user. They click a link that promises to take them to the desired content but instead all they get is a ‘page not available’ message.

“Now suppose visitors encounter multiple 404s. Those affect your Google search engine optimization. They reduce your SEO, which limits your ability to reach your audience. So, in addition to a usability issue, the problem extends one level up, to traffic.”

Mason reveals that Valet measures a vast number of site-health metrics, and assigns to each a score of zero to 100 (with 100 being best).

“In order to score a metric, we track it over time,” he explains. “But we don’t simply give our clients a list of scored metrics because there are just too many of them for clients to wade through.

“We instead want our clients to see at a glance the good and bad of their site’s health. So for that reason we distill all of the scores into easily grasped reference points.”

Mason says this approach enables site owners and operators to more clearly understand the “surgery” or “medications” Valet will prescribe to bring about excellent site health.

“A healthy website is fully optimized for search,” he says. “A healthy website provides excellent usability. It delights visitors at every turn. It maximizes the potential for conversions. If you have good site-health, you’re golden.”

NEXT: Site health measurement tools you can use on your own (but beware—they have limitations).