How to Write a Website Analysis
By David Weedmark
Updated September 28, 2017
A website analysis is a generally a comprehensive report that compiles data from a website, as well as from the people who use it, to determine how the website is performing compared to the goals for which it was designed. The scope of an analysis will vary depending on the reasons why it was requested, but page design, security, ease of navigation and search engine listings are usually included in a website analysis. Try to refrain from using acronyms or overly complex technical terms. While a webmaster may know XML from PHP, the company president or office manager often may not.
Begin the analysis with an “Executive Overview.” This uses brief sentences and bullet points to summarize the purpose of the analysis, findings and a summary of recommendations.
Identify stakeholders in a “Stakeholders” section. These include every person and group that has a stake in the website. For a corporate website, this could include company departments, suppliers and clients. For a non-profit organization, it could include field agents, donors and contributors, associated groups and government agencies that contribute to the organization. Stakeholders should be interviewed to determine their requirements for the website and experiences with it. Information gathered from stakeholders should be summarized, without quoting them, or identifying an individual directly.
Identify the website audience in an “Audience” section. This can include demographics like geographic location from services like Google Analytics, as well as information from people who contact the organization through the website. The intended audience should be compared to actual data. For example, if analytics show that most visitors are from Asia, but the website is intended for a U.S. audience, this may represent a new audience, or point to changes required for the website.
Describe the structure of the website in a “Structure” section. This should include a diagram, using basic text boxes to represent the major pages of the website, with lines connecting them to signify links between pages. Most websites are structured in a diagram with the home page at the top, two or more major sub-pages beneath it and then third-tier pages below each of those.
Analyze the website design in an “Analysis” section. This should include strengths and weaknesses. This is where the bulk of your data should be documented. The information will vary depending on the purpose of the analysis, but usually includes information such as broken links, oversized pictures that slow down navigation, security issues, data backup, poor usage of meta data that affects search engine results and so on. Each area of analysis should be contained in its own subsection.
State all of your recommendations in a “Recommendations” section. Each recommendation should reference information from the other sections and include a plan of action. If it is your intent to do the work yourself, price estimates can be included in this section, as well as time required to perform the work.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful technology businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines and online publications on computers and other technology topics.