They say a stitch in time saves nine. This popular proverb’s wisdom extends even to a website! Without proper maintenance, your website’s health can decline over time. So before you get there, consider a website audit. Identifying and correcting issues will go a long way in ensuring optimal performance, and preventing the need for damage control down the line at a higher cost.
You need to have a complete picture of your website’s performance and speed. This is why you need a website audit. Assessing these factors will give you an insight into how effective your website currently is. It will also pinpoint the areas that need improvement and optimization or correction. You can use this information to make focussed changes to enhance the overall effectiveness of your pages.
Components of a website audit
A website audit comprises various areas:
1. Technical audit
Technical issues may prevent search engines from crawling and indexing your website. This affects your website’s visibility and the traffic it attracts. A technical audit focuses on all the factors that go towards making sure that your website meets search engine requirements and is visible. These include broken internal links and redirect chains, content duplication, poor backlink profile, inconsistent XML sitemap and so on.
2. SEO audit
This measures the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. It extends to analyzing keywords, title tags and metadata, link profiles, image and video optimization, and more. Continuous optimization is necessary because Google is constantly updating its algorithms to improve the search results for its users. You need to keep up with these changes too.
An SEO audit also includes your website content, and how well it is optimized for search. Updating content with current relevant keywords, refreshing old content, adding fresh content, making sure the tone of voice reflects your business proficiently, and identifying the content that drives conversions are important aspects. Your content’s purpose should be valuable and answer your audience’s needs and questions. Your customers should look at your website as a source of accurate information.
3. Site health audit
This assesses the architectural effectiveness of the website. It identifies gaps in content structure, website speed and technical shortcomings, while discovering opportunities for key performance indicators.
4. Website security audit
This identifies vulnerabilities in your website to security breaches. Have you set up https for example? Have you installed a security plugin? How many times is a backup processed?
5. Competitor website audit
Looking at how your competitor’s website is doing could help you enhance the performance of yours. This audit helps you find out what’s working for your competitor so you can see if you can use that in your business strategy.
Now that you know what a website audit involves, when and why would you need one? There are different opinions on how often you should audit your website. If it’s a large website, you should aim to audit it at least twice every year. Smaller websites would do well with one website audit in the year. Alternatively, you could conduct an audit when you notice its efficiency reduce. Here are a few reasons why you need a website audit:
1. Your website takes too long to load
Internet users are lazy, and the longer your website takes to load, the greater the bounce rate you can expect. In fact, the ideal load time is 2-5 seconds. Each second beyond 2 seconds increases the bounce rate. 40% polled Internet users have reported abandoning a website if it took longer than 3 seconds to load. With website loading speed being an active factor in Google search engine rankings, you must look into this. You can use Google’s Page Speed Tool or GTmetrix to check your website’s current level of optimization.
A website audit will identify the cause of slow website loading speed. These usually include:
– images that are not properly compressed and formatted
– a large number of redirects
– Excessive characters and comments on the CSS
– Excessive plugins on your website
It is a great way to assess, clean up and remove everything that is not mandatory.
2. Your website risks being penalized by Google
Increasingly smart algorithms can identify keyword stuffing and other black hat SEO techniques. If your website has fallen prey to any of these techniques, it’s time to conduct an audit and clean up before it is penalized by the search engines.
3. Your website wasn’t optimized
Optimizing your website for SEO is essential. If you have not done this, then your website risks not being found by your audience. If your website has not been optimized properly, then too, you face the same risk. A website audit will identify what is lacking in your SEO efforts so that you can set things right. Some areas of improvement include:
– Content: Updating or refreshing it using relevant keywords, removing duplicate and obsolete content, and optimizing thin content.
– Images: Using your keyword in the image name and including it in the ALT tag.
– Metadata: Using unique metadata for each page.
– Headers: Using H1 as a must and structuring further with H2, H3 and so on effectively, when it enhances the overall content experience for the reader
– URL: Having an appropriate URL that ideally includes the keyword.
– Mobile responsiveness: Ensure your website loads well on mobiles and tablets.
– Indexability: All relevant pages need to be indexed, leaving out those that are not required.
– Links: Ensuring there are no broken links.
You can check our article on SEO for some on-page and off-page techniques you can apply to your website.
4. Your users find it difficult to navigate your website
It’s your website – so you know exactly where to find what. But what about your users? Some features on your website that may make it hard to navigate include:
– Excessive number of links: Users should not have to click more than 3 links to reach the information they are searching for.
– Excess content on the homepage: This has a way of diluting useful information.
– Excessive items on the navigation bar: Organize appropriate dropdowns to keep the number of tabs in your main menu to a minimum.
– Missing search bar: This is a big mistake especially for e-commerce websites.
– Full-screen pop-up for signing up with the website: Allow your user to access the homepage before hitting them with a CTA.
– Hard-to-find contact buttons: Ensure you have a clear clickable phone number and email address, and well-placed icons for social media.
5. You want to see what your competition is doing
You need to check out your competition’s online strategies in order to stay on top of the game. A website audit will first identify your main competitors, and audit their website for content, keywords, paid or organic search activity, backlinks, and social media engagements. A comparison will enable you to see where you stand in the industry and help you create new strategies to improve your position.
Now that you know why you need to audit a website, here is another fitting proverb.
Measure twice and cut once.
Make sure your website audit is done by an expert. A quality audit that is tailored to your goals will provide an accurate diagnosis of your website’s overall health. Then, once it has identified the areas that need improvement, you will know exactly what strategies to put in place, in order to have it up and running efficiently and successfully.
At Them You & Me, we undertake website audits to help in the digital transformation of businesses. We speak friendly technical words for you to understand what this is all about and feel more confident to embrace technology. If you’d like to discuss more about website audits, or have any questions, give us a call.
To know about what we do and the services we offer, please visit our website.