Conducting a website audit is an important first step in our web-related projects.
Before embarking upon the design and development of new websites, or before making significant improvements to a client’s website, we conduct a detailed audit of their existing site.
The Benefits of Conducting a Website Audit
Analysing each and every element of the website, these audits document how we propose the site be improved moving forward, in great detail.
They act not only as a guide for us later on, in terms of website design and development, website content, and the fundamentals such as conversion point placement, but they give the client the opportunity to digest our thoughts, respond with theirs, and get a feel for what their new site might be like.
Providing total transparency, helping to ensure there are no unusual surprises for the client later in the process, these audits paint an in-depth picture of the innerworkings of the client’s website, helping them to gain a deeper understanding of their soon-to-be transformed digital universe.
For those running their own businesses, or for in-house marketers with website-related duties, website audits are a hugely valuable way to prepare for digital success, offering an overhead view of the website you want to produce.
Whether or not you’re embarking upon a new website build, or working to improve your existing site, conducting a website audit could shine on a light on untapped opportunities that could help your business achieve greater results.
Conducting a Website Audit – Areas of Focus
Optimisation is a key part of our auditing process; however, we provide a second SEO Audit document to thoroughly explore this fundamental website essential.
These two documents work together, and SEO should be considered throughout your entire website audit, informing the decisions you make.
We’ll cover SEO Audits in a future blog.
If you’re making changes to an existing site, it’s a good idea to analyse your site’s load speed, before you begin the deep dive into your website.
Excessive loading times lead to loss of conversions, and there are a number of factors across your site that could contribute to poor load speeds, and to your users ‘bouncing’ in frustration.
From high resolution imagery to Java script bloat, to caching issues and beyond, it’s important these issues are identified and resolved to provide the ultimate user experience.
There are numerous tools available to analyse your site’s load speeds and to identify offending website elements slowing it down, however, GTMetrics is a great free resource.
How long has it been since you thought about your audience?
It may seem overly simplistic to go back to basics like this, but so many businesses fail to consider their numerous potential users, their different kinds of customers, and the knowledge these customers arrive onsite with, when designing their website and crafting its content.
We see it time and time again, website content that is impenetrable for 80% of site’s potential users, wacky site architecture, navigations that expect a level of industry knowledge some users may not have, and most commonly, websites that fail to clearly expose what the business does and the value it provides through its various products/services at all!
Who are your possible users? While conducting a website audit, ask yourself if each element of your website and its content serves them.
Architecture and Functionality
Whilst auditing your website, consider its architecture.
Is every page necessary? Is every page providing value to the user?
By taking a page away, could you provide the user with a shorter route to conversion, whilst still providing the information they need to make that conversion?
Do you need to rethink your navigation?
Some websites are guilty of causing ‘user page paralysis’, when one page leads to the next, and to the next, with only crumbs of valuable content on each one.
The goal is to create a clear route through your site, leading the user from one page to the next relevant page in a logical and helpful way, guiding them towards the conversion points.
Get this route right, and place your conversion points well, and you’ll really see the results.
Inspect your links, your contact forms, your downloadable resources/materials, ensuring buttons, navigational items and all clickable elements are still working, and point to where you intend. Don’t forget your footer too!
Whatever your business, it’s essential that your website is optimised for mobile, and that improvements made to desktop versions are replicated for mobile users, to ensure they’re retained on site and convert.
If you don’t know what percentage of your users are visiting the site on Desktop Vs Mobile devices, we recommend exploring Google Analytics.
Pages and their Content
Your audit must not only carefully consider the pathway your pages create through the site, as we covered in the Architecture section of this blog, but the content of each page and the value it offers to each of your possible users.
It’s key that each of your pages has a clear purpose for the user, and that they expose the work you do, the value you deliver, and the products/services you offer, in a logical way, both for on-site users, and those in search.
Your pages are at the heart of your SEO strategy, which in turn will likely inform your social media efforts, Email marketing, PPC advertising and more. This is why proper page planning is so essential.
Are your pages a little copy-shy?
Well-crafted copy converts, and you should be utilising your page content to drive the user towards conversion, giving them all they need to know to make that purchase, book your service, or take the action you desire.
Detailed, optimised copy is also key to achieving the coveted top positions in search engine rankings. While the desired word count for optimised website pages differs between different SEO tools, we advise your pages contain around 500 words or above, though we’ve achieved high position rankings in smaller markets with less.
To read more about optimising WordPress websites read our Top 10 SEO Tips for WordPress Websites blog.
When conducting a website audit, become the user. Ask yourself if the page content answers the questions a likely visitor may have, and if it needs to provide more answers for those users with less knowledge about your work, industry, products/services. Put your content under scrutiny.
Is your page copy formatted in a way that makes the detail digestible?
Ask yourself, does the page have a conversion point? A call to action? Does it need one?
If not, ask yourself how you can lead the user to the next part of the site, or a page relevant to the one you’re auditing.
Possible Problems and Post Audit Action
For small business owners tacking their own marketing, though it might be easy to spot the areas of weakness across your site, and identify the elements you’d like to change or rectify on your upcoming new website build, detailing the solution in your audit could be tricky.
For in-house marketers able to identify untapped opportunities, and propose the work required, time may be in too short supply to undertake the job outlined in your website audit.
Enter The Marketing Optimist. If your website isn’t producing results, we can help.
From audit to website success, our specialists help a huge variety of businesses to increase conversions, accelerate lead generation, and enhance their brand online.
This content was originally published here.