October 11, 2017
You may never have heard of a website audit. Yet, it may be just the thing to help your business succeed. Consider it an in-depth check-up on what is your most expensive online asset – your website.
By Andrew Gregory
As usual, the easy answer is that it depends. So, no, a website audit does not make sense for everyone. Yet, there are many instances where it is a perfect fit.
If you have a long-standing website (in the internet world, this means 3+ years) without a major overhaul.
If you have a complex website with a significant number of pages and regularly updated content.
If you are confident that your website does not need a major overhaul, but you have noticed little things that are not quite right.
If you have experienced a drop in visitors, sales, leads, or other website metrics and want to know why.
If you are unsure that your website is performing to its potential.
If you have a major concern about some aspect of the website.
On the other hand, a website audit does not make sense in these cases.
If you have an old website that you know that is out-of-date. In this case, it is better to spend the time and effort on planning for a new website.
If you have a brand new website and have a great team supporting it.
If you don’t have a website. Seriously, you don’t have a website?
A website audit is a deep dive into your website. It includes running tests, reviewing analytics, user testing, and reviewing related marketing efforts. Here are a few of the areas that audits help with.
When content is added, moved or, removed from a website this can cause broken links. The more complex the website, the more likely this happens. This can cause issues for visitors as well as the loss of search engine ranking value. Proper redirects can prevent this.
The technology that your website’s visitors use to access it changes (at a ridiculous pace). Just look at the mobile revolution. Over just a few years we went from visitors using (almost exclusively) desktops/laptops to view a website, to the majority of visitors using mobile devices. A website audit will test how your website functions on the latest browsers and devices.
Google, Bing, and other search engines are constantly working to improve their results. While we recommend the long-term approach to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), this does not mean you can sit back and relax. With each search engine update comes new recommendations and best practices. For example, search engines used to care less about websites that were mobile friendly, used HTTPS secure connections, and loaded slowly. These are now all important factors in how well your website ranks.
Have you added a product? Did you stop offering a service? Often these business changes are not reflected on a website or are retrofitted into the existing structure. It may be better to rethink the structure of the website to make sure it highlights what is most important now.
Website security is extremely important. A website audit will check your website for critical software updates and other security issues.
Most businesses collect a ton of data from their websites. This includes data from Google Analytics, HubSpot, Facebook Pixel, and order history. A website audit helps to find the important correlations and insights from this data.
Have you ever purchased a new computer. How fast it felt the first few days. A few months later, was it slower? One of the problems with software is that performance can degrade over time. Proper maintenance and cleanup can improve the performance and reliability of your website.
One of the biggest benefits of a website audit is having an industry professional's insights. They bring a different set of expertise and come from a different perspective. Since a website is a complex system, having a fresh set of eyes reviewing it can be very beneficial.
You will receive a detailed website audit report. This will identify issues that were found and provide recommendations for improvement. Also, findings about any specific areas of concern that you identified (such as declining sales) will be included.
It is up to you to decide on the next steps. Often this means working with your team or marketing agency on the recommendations.
If you have concerns about your website, then a website audit may be the perfect fit. Over time technology changes, content is changed, and performance or security issues can arise. A website audit will identify issues, provide recommendations, and give you peace of mind about your website.
When you consider the total investment in your website, the value of a website audit is huge. It is one more tool to ensure that you are not missing out on using this investment to its full potential.
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