An audit of your website can deliver improved performance and results
An audit of your website can deliver improved performance and results
Just as we review our business processes looking for efficiency gains and improvements, so to review or audit of your website should be performed on a
regular basis. Invariably this is necessary because of changes in your business, technologies and/or your market. Too often we see websites that are
no longer aligned to business goals and market needs.
In determining whether an audit of your website is necessary you could start by asking yourself the simple questions;
Has my website been reviewed and updated in the last 18 months
Are we regularly updating our website content
Are we measuring website activity AND analysing the results regularly
To a large extent, an audit of your website is something you can do yourself however in some areas you will most likely need to involve your web developers
or an external Web consultancy.
Before looking at what you need to do to perform an audit of your website is probably worthwhile understanding why it is necessary and the benefits of
carrying out an audit.
Why a website audit is necessary
Sadly, most businesses build their website pouring in lots of money and
effort than just leaving it there waiting for the leads to coming. As I regularly say, "this is like sticking your neon billboard up in the middle
of the Simpson Desert". An exercise in futility.
There are a number of factors that influence your website all contributing to the need to possibly rethink your site structure, branding and content. These
The changing needs of your market
Changing market segmentation
Changes in your competitor profiles
Your own business changes by way of objectives, branding, product range and delivery
Technological advance and with web delivery platforms
Market expectations of how websites should deliver content
Changes in the delivery channels for marketing your products and services
Changes by the search engine providers
Over the past 1 to 2 years we have seen huge ships in business websites with the growth in the use of mobile computing, new web technologies and delivery
platforms (HTML5, CSS3), the changes made by social media channels and lastly builds changes to its search engine algorithm (panda and penguin).
Many of these changes have invalidated current website designs and SEO strategies. In some instances they have led to the direct downgrading of many websites
What you can gain from a website audit
The benefits are wide and varied and the results can be significant or indirect stop it is important to understand that generally, no single change leads
to a significant result on its own stop some of the benefits to be gained include;
Improved performance - search engines are not only concerned with content but also efficiency of your site, organisational structure,
SEO friendliness and robustness.
Enhancing SEO - factors not originally considered significant have had a dramatic shift in importance and at the same time some old
practices are now irrelevant or even worse, detrimental to your SEO rankings
Conversion - is one thing to attract traffic but how effectively that traffic is converted to sales prospects? How well you bring
them into the sales lead process nurturing the relationship? How well does your website deliver to your overall site objectives?
Conducting your website audit
1) Assessing your content
Is content current and relevant to your business and your market
Does your content delivered to the market's needs a solution to a problem
Are "calls to action" clearly articulated
Are your pages following SEO best practices
Does your Google analytics highlight errors
Are your pages optimised on identified keywords into the results demonstrate success with these
Are basic on-page SEO elements such as title, meta description and URLs in place
Is your site content updated regularly
2) Web credibility and authority
This is all about your presence on the Internet in places other than your own website. Where and how references to your site found elsewhere adding to
your reputation in a positive manner.
What is the mix and quality of references to your website in other locations
What is the size of your "social footprint"
What is your "influence" factor
The nature of your inbound marketing
How effective is your digital marketing
3) Technical Assessment This will most likely require technical input from your own or another Web developer will stop it using an external party be sure they know what is
required, have the capabilities to truly assess your site and can do so impartially stop you might firstly see a preliminary audit before engaging
in a complete audit engagement. Sectors to be considered would include;
Is your site mobile friendly and should be
Is the site is free of errors such as broken links and missing pages
Are all urls seo friendly and optimised for your keywords
Is your site reliant on flash or java code
Is your site structure optimised search engines
You will pages load in a satisfactory time
Is your site being regularly crawled by search engines and are appropriate site maps and robot files in place
4) Business processes This is how well your site integrates with your business processes and supports those processes.
As we said earlier, you most likely review of business processes for efficiency gains a regular basis. The nature of your business, your market and even
your product mix changes as well.
If any of these to have changed, is the content and structure of your website still relevant? Do your website features support your business processes
or are they making the process more complex? Can your website be updated to bring about business process improvement?
With changes in web technologies many business processes can be incorporated for much lower costs now than you may have had to consider a couple of years
5) Website maintenance and management An aspect not always considered or overlooked is your ability to update your website. Not just
content but the ease with which you can extend functionality by enhancing current features and upgrading to new features.
Another factor gaining greater prominence and relevance is the security of your data. Are you encrypting secure content (particularly online payments)?
Is your server secure, how well protected if your site from packets? A growing concern is those websites running on open source content management
systems (CMS) platforms such as WordPress and Joomla! Incorrectly configured and failure to be regularly updated can leave the door open to hackers
on some of these sites.
In order to deliver a total solution, any websites rely on the use of several services;
Web hosting and content
An e-commerce engine for online shops
CRM systems for managing customers
Invariably, these are separate systems each with their own databases that all need to be kept in sync. There are considerable disadvantages which can outweigh
any benefit from such an approach. Ideally you want a solution that delivers all the systems through a simple single platform such as Adobe Business
It is well worth your time to consider your overall business and Internet strategy and examine the relevancy of your current web infrastructure to those
Top Left Designs is a total Web solution provider who works with clients in identifying strategic plans for putting their businesses online and then delivering websites and digital marketing packages orientated to the needs of its clients. We can assist businesses in the website audits, development of web strategy and delivery of a total integrated Web presence aligned to your business and marketing needs.
Written by: Greg Tomkins