Every year we schedule a physical with our doctor to check our general health and make sure everything is functioning as it should. It is, if you will, our own physical audit. Throughout the rest of the year, we do continual self-audits, learning to listen to our bodies for any indication that something is amiss.
In the same way that we stay attuned to our physical health and fitness, when it comes to business, it is important to be aware of the health and fitness of our website. Even the smallest issue—a broken link, a slow page load speed, an ineffective call to action—can dramatically impact search engine ranking, website performance, and whether or not your site visitors become paying customers. The answer? A comprehensive website audit.
A website audit is your first line of defense against the little (and big) issues that can impact leads, sales, and your company’s overall growth. It is both preventative and diagnostic, a way to review every aspect of your digital presence and discover the best ways to improve your performance. Whether you’re losing leads or you just can’t tell if your website is in peak condition, it may be time to invest in a website audit.
What Exactly is a Website Audit?
A website audit is an in-depth analysis of all of the elements of your website that impact your visibility and ranking on the internet. Often used in marketing, website audits are also a key factor when redesigning a website, rebranding, or determining how to increase traffic to your business website.
There are several different ways to audit your website. Some audits look at a single aspect of your web presence, such as search engine optimization or technical performance. As a web design company, however, we understand that having a complete picture of your business is the best way to make practical, informed decisions about how to grow. That’s why we offer a comprehensive website audit that looks at more than the average site review.
Our website audit focuses on your business’s overall digital effectiveness (traffic, conversions, engagement) based on design, technical performance, SEO, and social media. Social platforms play an important role in driving traffic to your website, and including them in your overall audit helps you gain deeper insight into how your audience interacts with your business.
Reasons to Audit Your Website
We’ve already discussed a few of the reasons people opt to have their website audited, including rebranding or starting a website redesign.
Audits are also important when establishing new marketing strategies or campaigns. With the right information in hand, you can more easily determine how to organize marketing budgets and resources to get the highest ROI. Audits also give you the data you need to approach higher-ups with the best and most cost-effective digital marketing plan for your business.
When it comes to the everyday function of your business, auditing your website helps you keep track of your efforts so far. Like your annual physical check-up, website audits are a way to check that every part of your digital presence is working properly—gaining a snapshot of where you are at currently, so you can decide where you want to go from there.
They provide a way to identify any hidden issues that could be impacting your traffic or conversions, as well as establish new goals for your business. If you want to grow your business, reach new audiences, and be forward-thinking in your approach to audience engagement, then the best place to start is with a website audit.
The Comprehensive Website Audit Methodology
Our comprehensive approach to website audits means that we look at four key areas of your website: Design and user experience, technical performance, SEO, and social media.
We use a variety of tools to help us gain an understanding of how search engines, customers, and prospective clients interact with your site. How do your visitors behave? What pages do they visit the most? What devices do they use to view your site?
We also take a look at how your site’s design, content, and code impact both your marketing effectiveness and conversion rates. Every piece of your website, from the size of your images to the wording of your calls to action influences how visitors—and search engine algorithms—experience your business.
Here are some of the more detailed aspects of our website audit:
Design Performance and User Experience
How well does your website design and navigation allow users to go through the sales funnel? Does your website copy, information, and CTAs convey who you are, what you offer, and how to make a purchase?
A website audit reviews your website from the perspective of both marketing (internal) and the user (external) to determine what changes can be made to improve customer experience and maximize conversion opportunities.
Using our extensive resource of digital tools, we review many key factors on the backend of your website, including:
- Page size
- Page load speed
- Broken Links
- Mobile responsiveness
- Search engine rankings/interaction
Technical reports are incredibly thorough and often difficult to interpret. If you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy, this is where the expert eye of a professional web developer can save you both time and money.
We interpret the technical performance of your site and summarize the results in a way that provides you with any necessary changes or upgrades. Our report is presented in such a way to help you visualize both where your site is performing well and where it can use improvement.
Search Engine Optimization
There are so many different elements that impact SEO, including your website’s design and technical performance. We take a deeper dive into search engine rankings and performance by looking at the following:
- Keyword analysis: You receive a full list of keywords with your ranking score
- On-page and off-page SEO
- Content quality and effectiveness
- Links, backlinks, and meta descriptions
Part of our SEO strategy is to determine if there are any current SEO practices that are damaging your site’s performance and ranking. Some older habits, such as keyword stuffing and low-quality backlinks can actually negatively impact your website. We can identify these issues and make recommendations for SEO practices that will support your business goals.
For many businesses, social media is still an afterthought with regards to marketing. How you are perceived on social media (and how active you are) can have a direct impact on website leads. In fact, consumers discover new businesses on Facebook more than any other platform or avenue. That means that if you aren’t reaching your audience on social media, you could be missing out on key lead generation and overall sales.
Our comprehensive website audit reviews all of your social platforms and provides recommendations for immediate improvement and/or future growth.
At the end of your website audit, we provide you with a 10-page audit report, a complete overview of the above four areas along with our recommendations for improvement. Your final report will show three levels of recommendations: Priority, Next Steps, and Maximum Potential. This gives you the opportunity to prioritize your changes based on the most urgent (priority) to the least urgent (maximum potential), keeping in mind that the ultimate goal is to achieve maximum potential with your website.
Self-audit vs. A Comprehensive Audit
Much like the physical self-audits that we continually perform on our bodies and overall health, it is also possible to self-audit your website. Given the right tools and a basic understanding of what the results are telling you, you can perform regular check-ups to see how well your website is performing with regard to speed, SEO, and mobile responsiveness.
Some of the tools I love—such as Hubspot’s Website Grader—are even free to use. Simply plug in your website URL and your email address, and you are on your way to gaining quick insight into your web performance.
Other tools that are worth the time, and money, include Ahrefs (especially for keyword and competitor research), SEMrush (for analysis of social media, content, and more), and GTmetrix (website speed and performance).
While each of these tools is incredibly valuable in helping you discover how to improve your site’s performance and SEO, it is the combination of reports and the overall technical analysis that provides you with the key recommendations you need to optimize your digital presence.
Self-audits are a great way to learn and grow as a website owner, but they only serve to provide a basic insight into your site’s overall impact. Most free tools, and even the paid options, don’t provide the recommendations and customized feedback that will help you gain momentum.
A professional, comprehensive analysis of your entire digital presence will give you the data and feedback you need to skyrocket your website performance and grow your business.