On a daily basis I receive a lot of spam mail about how I can make my website better and drive more people to it. Thus I was a little skeptical when I came across BDC's Free Website Evaluation tool that promises to make it so you can “start improving your website today!” At the same time, I do find it hard to understand how the Demonstrating Value website is performing, particularly as it relates to other websites out there, and I have some confidence that the tool's host, the BDC, is fairly reputable as a federal crown corporation. I always like the idea of free assessment tools.
So I took the step of entering www.demonstratingvalue.org into the little box, and very quickly (before I could even multi-task and get distracted) I got a great report that was pretty insightful and very easy to navigate and interpret. Not only did it score the website out of 10 for 19 different criteria, but it also rolled up these criteria into an overall score, and scores for accessibility, experience, marketing and technology. It clearly showed what the test was, explained why it was relevant and how to improve the score. Very cool!It does this based on 5 pages of your website and you have the option to receive a personalized PDF report instantly.
It is remarkable what was revealed in a few minutes. I have learned that our website is the 1,178,225th most popular website in the world (Google, watch out!), it’s associated with 685 tweets to 400 followers, and that you may be a little frustrated if you want to print out our webpages (Sorry, will try to work on that one), or find us on Facebook or Google+. On the bright side, we are well optimized if you are looking at us on a mobile device. There were also a lot of technical points about the coding and search engine optimization that will take me some time to work out, but there is a really useful help feature to click on.
Overall, demonstratingvalue.org scores 7.1. So what does this really mean? Beyond being able to quickly dissect the score to find the strengths and weaknesses, it is pretty easy to benchmark against other sites that may have similar functions and audiences, just be entering those websites in the same tool.
You can find the BDC tool on their website.