In the competitive online world, having a website that is not up to par can be like navigating through a minefield. Ignoring potential pitfalls, performance bottlenecks, and user experience mishaps can lead to declining user satisfaction, plummeting search engine rankings, and a subpar online reputation.
A website audit can act as a guiding light, helping you identify and disarm these problems. In this article, we’ll guide you through 5 different audits you can implement on your site and offer insights and strategies on each one to ensure that your website is operating at its full potential.
But first, what is a website audit, you may ask?
A website audit is a comprehensive and systematic process to evaluate various aspects of your website to uncover issues, optimize performance, and enhance user experience.
Beyond these objectives, a thorough website audit contributes to improved search engine rankings, better visibility, and, ultimately, greater success in the online world
1) Technical Audit: Fine-Tuning the Cogs Behind Your Website
The primary objective of a technical audit is to guarantee that your website can be effectively accessed, crawled, and indexed by search engines. This involves checking aspects like crawling and indexing to ensure all critical pages are accessible to search engines.
You’ll also assess your site is secure with an SSL certificate (HTTPS), evaluate mobile-friendliness, examine site speed, and ensure the XML sitemaps are correctly formatted. This analysis helps you pinpoint technical issues, such as broken links or slow loading times and prioritizes them for resolution.
A couple of tools we recommend are Ahrefs’ Site Audit, combined with the Crawl Stats report in Google Search Console so you can see how your site is being crawled and any issues that may have been flagged by the Googlebot.
2) SEO Audit: Improve Your SEO for Superior Visibility and Traffic
In this phase, the focus shifts to optimizing individual pages for improved search engine rankings and user experience. Elements like title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and keyword usage are scrutinized.
Essentially, the goal is to ensure these on-page elements are effectively optimized for relevant keywords, ensuring that content quality and uniqueness are maintained. Through this analysis, you identify opportunities to enhance elements like title tags or headers, making each page more SEO-friendly.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to consider off-page SEO, which consists of external factors like backlinks and online presence. For this, you’ll scour your backlink profile, anchor text distribution, and the quality of linking websites. The focus is identifying harmful links and strategizing to acquire high-quality backlinks, bolstering your website’s authority and trustworthiness.
2.5) The PageSpeed Optimization Audit
Pagespeed is a critical factor in user experience and SEO rankings. This audit, while it is a part of the larger SEO audit, we feel deserves special emphasis for the fact that
EVERY USER EXPECTS YOUR SITE TO LOAD QUICKLY. In fact, a 2-second delay in load time can result in abandonment rates of up to 87 percent.
With that being said, this audit focuses on assessing the load time of your website and its pages. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix can help identify speed bottlenecks. By optimizing pagespeed, you improve user satisfaction, reduce bounce rates (aka people leaving your site), and enhance SEO since Google places your site higher in rank ranks if it’s fast.
3) Content Audit: Crafting Compelling Narratives That Resonate
In a similar vein as the SEO audit, this audit measures the relevance, quality, and SEO-friendliness of the content on your site. During this phase duplicate content issues are addressed, content relevancy is evaluated, and content freshness is checked. Additionally, once the gaps and redundancies are identified, you can then update, revise, or create content better suited to your goals.
This process not only improves your SEO, but it makes sure your content is new and engaging for your users and it helps your company update its branding regularly so the site grows and changes with each new season of your business.
As far as resources go for this process, we’d recommend consulting your marketing team, if you have one. They can give you insight to the brand voice and the branding process for the site in question. If you are going solo, or just want some extra help with your site’s content, we like the Yoast-SEO plugin (if your site is built with WordPress), Grammarly, or Hemingway.
4) UX/UI Audit: Sculpting a Seamless Journey Across Your Site
Ensuring a seamless, user-friendly experience is the goal of the UX/UI audit. It involves evaluating site navigation, mobile responsiveness, page layout, and the effectiveness of call-to-action elements. By identifying issues like confusing navigation or ineffective CTAs, this audit helps enhance user experience and encourage conversions.
For this audit, we recommend platforms such as UserReport or Hotjar. Or if you are looking to go for the least expensive route, helpful analytics such as website traffic volume, traffic sources, or resources like A/B testing can be found and set up in your free Google Analytics or Search Console account.
5) Accessibility Audit: Encouraging Diversity in the Digital Landscape
Ensuring your website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, is paramount. An accessibility audit evaluates how well your site accommodates individuals with visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive impairments. This involves reviewing elements such as alt text for images, semantic HTML markup, keyboard navigation, and using ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) roles.
Overall, this audit identifies potential barriers that could hinder users with disabilities from accessing and navigating your site effectively. Implementing accessibility improvements makes your website more inclusive, aligns with legal requirements, and can positively impact your SEO as search engines increasingly prioritize accessible websites.
Furthermore, considering accessibility in your audit demonstrates a commitment to a broader and more diverse user base.
Analyze, Report, Implement: Converting Knowledge into Website Impact
After completing each audit section, you should consolidate the findings into a comprehensive report. This report includes recommendations prioritized by their potential impact, and it is presented to stakeholders clearly and understandably, using data and visuals to support the findings.
Executing the findings should involve implementing the changes in order of priority, addressing identified issues, and making improvements. Ongoing monitoring using tools like Google Analytics and Search Console ensures effective implementation of changes.
Review and Improve: The Journey of Continuous Digital Enhancement
And remember—even after implementing changes, it is imperative to conduct periodic audits and continuously monitoring your website’s performance is imperative. This ensures you’re proactively identifying new areas for improvement, ensuring that your website remains competitive and effective over time.
After It’s All Said and Done…
Regular website audits are essential to maintaining optimal website health and performance. The audits we list above uncover issues and pave the way for enhancements that improve user experience, boost search engine visibility, and drive online success. By following the comprehensive website audit process outlined here, you can ensure that your website remains a strong contender in the dynamic online world.
If you have any questions or concerns about what type of audit your site may need, you can contact us or leave a comment below!
P.S. Are you a part of a local St. Louis area non-profit? We’re currently offering FREE PageSpeed Optimization through our SwingSpan initiative! Go to https://swingspan.app/ for more info.
Website Audit FAQs
Why should I conduct a website audit?
Website audits help identify issues and opportunities for improvement, ensuring that your site is user-friendly, search engine-friendly, and aligned with your goals. It can uncover technical issues, SEO problems, security vulnerabilities, and usability concerns, helping you enhance user experience and drive better results.
A website audit typically involves a comprehensive examination of various aspects, including but not limited to:
– Technical SEO: Assessing website structure, speed, crawlability, and indexing.
– On-Page SEO: Analyzing content quality, keyword optimization, and metadata.
– User Experience (UX): Evaluating design, navigation, mobile-friendliness, and accessibility.
– Security: Checking for vulnerabilities, SSL certification, and data protection measures.
– Analytics: Reviewing website traffic, user behavior, and conversion tracking.
– Content: Assessing the relevance, quality, and freshness of website content.
– Backlinks: Examining the quality and authority of inbound links.
The outcomes of an audit typically include a detailed report with findings and recommendations. These recommendations may cover areas such as fixing technical issues, optimizing content, improving UX, enhancing security, and refining SEO strategies. The ultimate goal is to provide a roadmap for enhancing the website’s performance, visibility, and user experience.