The Web-site Survey Service
 
What Is A Web-site Survey?
Having a presence on the Internet, and in particular on the WWW, has become an essential part of almost any modern business.

Most companies and traders are aware of this and, as a result, already have or are considering the launch of a website.

New Zealand is fortunate to have some of the best web-design talent in the world and this usually means that, providing some care is taken in selecting the company you use to design and build your site, the results are of a very high quality.

However, even the best sometimes make mistakes or overlook small details that can have a huge impact on a website's effectiveness.

The best way to minimise the risk of your website containing potentially embarrassing errors is to have it reviewed by an independent third party.

A growing number of companies are realising that spending a small percentage of their total budget for building and maintaining an online presence on obtaining an independent third-party appraisal is a wise investment that pays huge dividends.

This type of independent review is commonly known as a "site survey."

Why Use Aardvark's Site Survey Service?
There are actually very few companies offering totally independent site survey services. Many less-capable web-design companies will try to tell you that they are an unnecessary expense -- ask yourself why they might say that.

Aardvark's site survey service has been used by a number of local, public and multinational companies to ensure the correctness and effectiveness of their web-sites. The list includes:

  • major automotive manufacturers
  • telcos
  • major trading banks
  • ISPs
  • branches of the public service
  • and even one or two web-design companies!

On many occasions, clients of the Site Survey Service are dismayed to find that their seemingly "perfect" website actually contains a number of errors, many of them categorised as "critical."

They're also often delighted to discover that after implementing some of the recommendations of the report, they have significantly improved their site's visibility and effectiveness as a publicity, sales or marketing tool.

What are my credentials to provide such a service?

Well I've been formally and informally reviewing and surveying other people's web-sites for over five years and my experience as someone who knows how to harness the power of the Net to build an online presence is beyond question.

And...

Aardvark Is Totally Independent
As regular readers of the Aardvark Daily website will know, I am a free agent with no allegiance to any ISP, web-designer or other part of the industry.

Thanks to this independence, customers of the Site Survey Service can be guaranteed that the results delivered are not influenced by any factor other than the design and implementation of the web-site itself.

Can You Hire Aardvark To Build Your Website?
No, Aardvark is not a web-design company. To offer such services while reviewing the work of others would be a conflict of interests and call into question the value of the Site Survey.

However, I will happily work with your chosen web designer to assist them in identifying areas where changes need to be made and improvements can help boost the performance of a website.

How Much Does It Cost?
The price for a Site Survey depends very much on the size and complexity of the web-site concerned.

Prices generally run from around NZ$300 (US$140) for relatively simple sites comprised of mainly static pages -- with more complex sites costing proportionately more. I'm always happy to provide an obligation-free quotation for performing a site-survey.

What Does The Report Contain?
A standard Site Survey report contains an evaluation of the web-site with the results grouped into a number of categories which may include (but are not necessarily limited to):

Critical Errors: These are errors such as broken links, missing graphics, broken scripts, significant HTML errors, major browser incompatibilities,etc.

Non-critical Errors: These include such things as inconsistent linking conventions, spelling mistakes, obvious content errors, cosmetic browser incompatibilities, etc.

Ergonomics: Problems relating to the human-interface component of the website. This may be as simple as a bad choice of contrasting colours or rationalising a menu system to improve navigation.

Security: Although not a replacement for a full security audit, the report advises of any obvious security holes in the site's design or implementation.

Performance: Problems such as excessively large graphics, inappropriate use of plug-ins or other factors which might influence the site's performance are listed along with recommended methods of improving such bottlenecks.

Visibility: An indication is given as to the site's visibility on key search engines and recommendations are provided to help improve ranking and general "presence" on the web.

Do I Need One?
If you've commissioned a web-site to be built for you then you really should consider spending just a small percentage of the cost of that work on having an Aardvark Site Survey performed before it launches.

Consider it an insurance policy that will help guarantee that you're getting a good quality result. Don't sign that cheque until you've got an independent 3rd-party evaluation in your hand.

Perhaps you've already got a web-site but are disappointed with the results it's producing -- in that case an Aardvark Site Survey can represent a very worthwhile investment.

By establishing just why your web-site isn't fulfilling its full potential you can significantly increase its performance -- often for just a fraction of the original amount it took to build it. Remember, if your web-presence isn't providing a return on the money you've invested in it then it is wasted money.

How Do I Get A Site Survey?
Just drop me a line including the URL of the site you'd like surveyed and I'll quote you a firm price for performing a Site Survey.

And remember -- if the company building or maintaining your web-site doesn't recommend that you obtain an independent third-party report on their work then ask them why.

 

FAQ: Why Don't I Fix This Site?
Before anyone asks why I don't fix the occasional broken links, sometimes errant HTML and other errors that creep into the Aardvark Daily website I have to say that this is a plumber's bathroom.

Nobody pays me to maintain this site and the overhead of regularly checking and fixing every little fault would kill what is already pretty much a labour of love.

The Aardvark Daily page is hand-edited every day to a very tight schedule, so it's only natural that errors and omissions will creep in.

 

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