How do you know when it’s time to perform a website audit? Well, if you’ve never done one before or even thought about it, the time is probably now. Even a very basic website can have many moving parts, which means there’s plenty to go wrong. If you’ve ever found a broken link or similar on another site, you know how frustrating it can be – but site issues can also undermine your SEO efforts and end up costing you money.
Firstly, realise that there are an endless number of optional steps, but we’ll be covering only the basics here. Here at Fibre we offer a free internet marketing audit and can also take a more detailed, technical audit of your site to see what’s working, and what isn’t. But if you’d like to have a go at it yourself, here’s a few key steps to get you started with your audit.
Is your design fresh and functional?
Yes, your design matters. Don’t put customers off with a dated looking site. Get an external opinion or try looking at your site in Google’s incognito mode to see what your customers are seeing. Kill popups, obnoxious ads, illegible fonts, and boring colours. Next, scan the copy. Are your CTAs clear, above the fold and repeated throughout? You need to be able to glean everything you need to know about your company from the images, colours and branding alone. Finally, double check that everything is looking as it should on mobile – there are now some apps available to help you do this quickly.
Is your navigation easy and logical?
Again, put on the perspective of a visitor and see how quickly you can navigate around the site. Your menu has to be visible, make sense, and preferably be quite minimal. Be honest about what your customer really wants to read (authentic reviews!) and potentially downplay things like blog posts, About Us sections or news.
Are you using HTTPS?
A site audit is also about safety – you need to make sure that potentially sensitive data going to and from your site is encrypted so it can’t be intercepted by others. Using HTTPS (or getting an SSL certificate) is a non-negotiable if you’re selling on your site or collecting customer info, but it will also result in better Google rankings.
Is your loading speed OK?
It’s not fair, but visitors have very little patience and will simply click away if made to wait too long for your page to load. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is free and can tell you how you’re faring, as well as give you recommendations for how to improve.
How good is your content?
After you’re happy with the overall design and user experience, making sure your content is performing well might take the bulk of your audit time. You’ll need to make sure your content fits your overall strategy (is it offering unique, genuine value?), that it’s structurally sound (grammar, spelling, formatting) and overall high quality (skimmable, with other media mixed in, at the right reading level). Add proper headings and be honest about how well-written and informative each piece is. Could you reuse the content in an updated format like a social media post or video instead? Perhaps it’s time for an edit.
Do you have any broken links?
Dead end links or error pages can make a site feel neglected. Do this manually if your website is small or try a professional service or specialised software to help you weed out broken pages.
Is your SEO up to scratch?
Doing a site audit necessarily means appraising the performance of your SEO strategy. Are your titles for each page descriptive, unique and optimised? Make sure you’re including your keywords here where possible. For a thorough SEO check, you might need the advice of an industry professional to help you examine your organic search ratings, your LSI, and any buggy code to see how you compare to your competitors. A more in-depth exploration can check on the health of your meta-descriptions, images, overall site architecture, URLs, tags and backlinks. You need to gain a comprehensive idea of exactly how “healthy” your site is, inside and outside, and how it’s performing out in the market.
You may be surprised by what a comprehensive audit turns up – some people are shocked at the hidden ways their rankings were being lowered, or how many ways they were losing customer interest. Maintaining smaller websites is not too difficult with a little know-how, but you can make the process even easier by scheduling regular automated site “crawls” to do the work for you, or getting some expert human eyes on the site once in a while.