Reasons Why Should Audit Your Website on a Regular Basis?
Early diagnosis of any problems your website has will save you the potential loss of numerous customers. That might raise a number of questions in your mind. What is the website audit, or website content audit? Why is the website audit necessary? How to audit your website? What website audit tools are available? How can you generate a website audit checklist? What website audit services are available? What are the benefits of a website audit? What is involved in a comprehensive website audit? Well, these are the questions we will cover in this article.
What is involved in a website checkup?
Website content audit has to basically do with the contents on the website, the text on the page and how that affects the website’s ratings. However, a comprehensive website audit includes looking into a number of additional parameters to ensure the overall health of the website. It is this health that ensures that the website works for you, generating sales and bringing it profitability. A comprehensive website audit is a thorough analysis of all aspects of your website to ensure its visibility in the search engine. It evaluates the effectiveness of your website, its performance, and speed. It looks at aesthetics and user interface, as well as identifies problems that could be damaging to your business interests.
Why a website audit is necessary?
There are a number of tools available on the internet that offer to audit your website for you. We will be looking at some tools later on in this article. At best, what these free tools offer you is a report of what could be potential problems you have on your website. The reports are simple, generic, confusing, and often misleading. Therefore, it requires an expert web auditor to look at the different reports generated, understand the exact nature of the problem and recommend a course of action to remedy the situation.
How often should a website audit be done? For large websites, it is good to audit it semi-annually. Smaller websites can get away with an annual audit. However, if you find that your website is not generating leads the way it should, and if the conversion rate is very low, it is showing signs of illness and requires an immediate checkup with remedial action.
Aspects of website checkup and checklist
A comprehensive audit of your website would involve looking into all the relevant aspects of your website. Let us consider some of them. We will also look at a few website audit tools available, and consider aspects that could go into a website audit checklist.
- Technical Audit: A technical audit considers the technical aspects of the website. All the links and chains have to be checked and investigated. With patience running thin, people will not wait for your website to open and long loading time will affect your ranking. Proper indexing will ensure that the pages load quickly. It can help you reduce the bounce rate for your website. Image optimization is a factor that affects page loading speed. It involves reducing the file size of your picture without sacrificing picture quality. Check your web pages URL to ensure that it is less than 115 characters long. Ensure that the URL is meaningful. Today the number of those accessing the internet on mobile phones is spiraling. The website thus needs to work on a mobile phone’s small screen in an aesthetically pleasing manner, or it should be mobile friendly.
- Checklist: What is your page loading speed? Do all the links and chains work properly? Are all the relevant pages indexed properly? Is picture optimization cared for? Is the website mobile friendly? What is the URL nomenclature of your web pages?
- SEO Audit: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) audit has to do primarily with the text that appears on your website. It looks at the use of keywords, link profiles and the overall quality of text on the website. Each image needs to be tagged so that search engines know what they are and can be accounted for in search. Traffic behavior on the website is studied to see which keywords work and how conversions take place. Each page should have unique and relevant Metadata.
- Checklist: Analyze the traffic on your website. Which keywords generate the maximum hits? Are all images tagged properly? How can appropriate keywords be more skillfully used to generate more hits and conversions? Which SEO functions should you focus on?
- Content Audit: Take a look at the content you have. It should be well written, engaging, compelling and motivating. The tone of voice should match the profile or the image you wish to project of your business. Check for duplicate content and ensure that it is cleared. Periodically fresh content should be put up. Give thought to the structure of content on your website. It should be naturally progressive. In other words, the information provided should move the reader’s natural thought process forward to the next point you mention, and so on until it eventually culminates in a conversion. The chain of thought should not be broken or interjected with unnecessary information. If your website is not generating an appropriate amount of business you would have to give consideration to rebranding your product. If you decide to do so, it would require fresh content, not just rewritten content, modified from your previous web pages. Each web page should have sufficient text to be meaningful to the reader. It is good to ensure that each page has about 300 words of text on an average. However, if the page is too loaded with text, most readers will skip it rather than take the time to read it. So a balance is required here. Strictly avoid keyword stuffing, keyword cannibalization, cloaking, and link farming.
- Checklist: What message does your website convey? What is the tone of voice? Does that match the profile or the image you would like to project your business? Is the content naturally progressive? Does your website content studiously avoid the pitfalls mentioned above?
- UX Audit: User experience is a key factor in how beneficial the website is to your business. Do not have too many items on the navigation bar and have a minimal number of tabs on your main menu. Categorize the different options you wish to offer on the website and structure them properly in submenus. Ensure that users have no more than three clicks to reach their desired web page. The options to return to the home page should always be available. The home page should not be cluttered with too much information. The information can be properly structured in succeeding pages. A search function is very important, especially if you have multiple products on offer. Your contact information should be properly structured and designed. Your e-mail address should be a clickable one. Your phone number should allow for a one-click call. Since a number of users will be mobile phone users, the website should allow them to call you by just tapping on the number.
- Checklist: Is the home page cluttered? Are the menus/tabs logically structured? How many clicks does it take for a user to find the information he is looking for? Does the search function work properly? Is your contact information properly designed?
- Link Audit: It is important to ensure that all your links work properly. Broken links result in the lost value. Check that all incoming links are authoritative and of high quality. While incoming and outgoing links are valuable it should be from/to respected websites. Identify toxic links and disavow any bad links such as those from websites that contain illegal content or have pornographic content.
- Checklist: Are all incoming and outgoing links related to respected websites? Are there any broken links? Have all bad links been disavowed?
- Competitor Audit: While you should check your website’s health, it is also good to see how your website fares in comparison to that of your competitor. First, find out who your competitors are and then evaluate their website. Go through their content and examine their social network activities as well as organic and paid search activity. Check their links. This will provide you with information that would help you make your website more robust. You could then be one step ahead of your competitors.
- Checklist: Who are your key competitors? What information do they have on their website and how have they structured it? How can you be one step ahead of your competitors with regard to social media activities, search activity, and linking?
- Other Aspects: Besides these key audits there are also other kinds of the audit such as Markup Audit, Social Media Audit, and Conversion rate audit and so on.
Tools for Website Audit
The Google Analytics Suite is helpful in a website audit. Some of the other helpful tools include:
- Annie Cushing’s Site Audit
- MozBar (Moz’s SEO toolbar)
- Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider
- SEO Browser
- Web Developer Toolbar
- Ahrefs site audit tool (check for more than 110 common issues)
- Website Auditor by SEO Powersuite
- Raven Tools
- Website Grader
- BeamUSUP (free tool)
- Gunning Fog Index (how the average reader will understand your content)
- MozRank (check your backlinks)
- Quantcast (gauge your audience and how unique your website is in comparison to that of your competitors)
What are the benefits of a website audit?
A comprehensive website audit is the kick-off point towards improving the online presence of an organization and looks at all the aspects of the company’s website. It considers issues that the current website has and factors that decrease the efficiency of the website. It includes a complete assessment of what could be done to improve the functioning of the website.
It is good to remember that the Google search engine is constantly evolving. There are regular changes to how the search spiders work and how the results appear. They are constantly innovating to ensure that the most relevant results are rated high on the list. For a website to be robust it has to keep up with these changes and adapt itself accordingly. Otherwise, it will find itself sliding down the rating list, and your business will find itself on a downward spiral.
Website Audit Services
It is good to engage the services of an expert agency so that the necessary checks to our website could be carried out, appropriate diagnostics could be made, and remedial steps could be initiated. The goal is to have a robust website that builds up the business