9 min read
Website Audit: How to Evaluate Your Website to Drive More Traffic
By: Taylor on October 6, 2022 at 9:00 AM
You’ve noticed that your website is underperforming and you’re wondering what to do about it. You’re considering redesigning your website, however, you want to be certain that you do things right this time to ensure your desired results.
The best way to figure out what’s gone wrong with your website is with a website audit. These simple evaluations can help you discover any areas that aren’t functioning cohesively with your desired results in order to make essential changes.
Read on to find out the most effective ways to evaluate your website during an audit in order to increase your traffic.
What is a Website Audit?
A website audit is an evaluation of a website before it undergoes redesign. When you perform an audit, you are looking at certain elements to determine if your website is designed and optimized for the results you desire. A website audit not only shows you if you have an effective design, it also shows you areas that should be improved to move you closer to your goals.
Overall, a website audit evaluates your website based on its content and its technical performance. It looks at a variety of components such as its technical viability, infrastructure, and friendliness, as well as user navigation and experience.
There are a number of steps to take when you are performing an audit of your website, including determining your goals, auditing your technical performance, reviewing on-page SEO, evaluating content, link-building and off-page SEO, and user experience. All of these steps will help you gain the broadest look at the various components of your site to help you determine where you’re on the right track and where you should focus during your website redesign.
Why Should You Evaluate Your Website?
Website evaluation is important for everyone, but especially those who feel that their website is underperforming. The thing about websites is that they are actually an essential component of any B2B marketing plan. Just as other digital marketing components need monitoring, updating, and changes over time in order to be relevant and produce results, websites need the same care and consideration.
Successful modern website design includes elements that simply can’t be ignored. Without these features, you are putting your business at an extreme disadvantage when compared with your competition.
When you decide to update or create a marketing plan, evaluating your website needs to be part of it. Finding out where your website is lacking and determining what you can do to change that, makes all the difference.
There’s a fine line between a worn-out, redundant website and one that is a seamless, integrated, lead-generating magnet bringing you traffic and helping you gain conversions. Many businesses stumble upon a problem because they don’t know how to tell the difference and move to the next level, or because they’re unaware that they need to.
Understanding that a smart, modern website can help you drive results and growth is one of the first steps towards effective marketing. Getting your website there, however, is another story. The good news is that once you’re aware, you’ll be ready to take the necessary path that leads to a top website and marketing success.
How to Audit Your Website (in Consideration of Traffic)
If you already have a website, performing a site audit is essential. Even if you have a dead, non-performing website, you don’t need to start from scratch. You can discover how and where your site is failing in order to redesign and rebuild it in a modern and relevant way.
Before you begin your audit, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of the purpose of your website. Many businesses throw their websites together without much thought, their idea simply that they need a tool people can use to find them online. However, a website is more like their home online. It’s their storefront, their online face, their voice. It’s not simply a small component of their online presence, it IS their online presence and it needs to represent them accurately.
Think about it. If you meet someone in person and they want to know about your business, you’re going to sit down with them over a cup of coffee, smile, and share your heart. You’ll talk about why you started your company, what you want to accomplish, what keeps you going. You’ll tell them some neat stories about how far you’ve come and where you’re headed. You’ll share your very best, endowed with authenticity and connection. In most circumstances, your new friend won’t just walk away and forget all about you. Instead, they’ll be wooed and they’ll stick around. They might even eventually become your customer.
Your website is your online opportunity to share these same things with people, to help them feel the heart and soul of your business, to make your business personal and important. It’s where you virtually share a cup of coffee and have that chat and share the things that make your business shine. When you come into this understanding, you’ll be ready to perform that audit and begin your redesign with the right perspective and expectations.
Here are the steps you’ll want to take as you dive into your website audit:
You need to have a good understanding of your goals before you get started on your audit and on your website redesign. Without goals, you don’t have anywhere specific that you’re headed, which makes it quite difficult to create a map. If you set out without goals, you’re going to drive around in circles for a while and most likely end up back where you started.
Using the concept of SMART goals, you can clearly determine where you are headed and design a detailed plan to get there. SMART goals include making sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound. The idea ensures that you are headed in a direction that makes sense for your business and will help you make the changes needed to reach your desired results.
2. Technical Performance Audit
Once you have clarity about where you’re headed, you’re ready to perform the actual audit. The technical components of your website are some of the most important because if your website isn’t running and functioning smoothly, your visitors are going to have a poor experience and won’t stick around long, or they won’t have any experience at all because things just aren’t running well.
Every portion of your website is affected by the technical aspects. If things aren’t functioning behind the scenes, things aren’t functioning on-stage. Checking out the technical performance of your website is essential and should be the underlying foundation of any website audit.
As you perform your audit, make sure to look at each of these areas:
- Ensure you have an updated and working SSL certificate.
- Check on your content management system (CMS). Make sure you are using one and that it’s up-to-date, that default settings have been changed or obscured.
- Test security practices.
- Test your site on every major browser for proper rendering. Attempt cross-browser testing.
- Test your site on mobile devices to ensure mobile-friendliness.
- Install and use Google Analytics.
- Ensure that your site is set up for regular backups and 24-hour restoration.
- Make sure all software plugins and modules are updated.
- Check to see if site logins, social media integration, and contact forms are working properly.
3. On-page SEO Review
On-page SEO is made up of all of the details on your website that determine your search engine ranking. There are multiple components to on-page SEO and once you develop an understanding of them, you can work to consistently create and maintain your website to move towards a top ranking.
Pay attention to these factors as you audit your on-page SEO:
- Check for keyword optimization for title tags and meta-descriptions on every page.
- Ensure all text is keyword focused and relevant.
- Check relevancy indicators- phone, address, social media links, etc.
- Make sure you have easy share integration with social media platforms.
- Test XML sitemap for indexing and crawlability.
- Check header tags and links.
- Check for easy, cohesive navigation through content pages and categories.
- Check images for optimization.
4. Content Evaluation
Your website content is a huge part of its success. The content you publish is what sets you apart as an expert and helps you stand out from your competition. Content includes all of the text on your website, your articles, videos, and images. This is where you can truly make your business shine and showcase the value that you have to offer.
As you audit your website, you will want to include your content, ensuring that everything on your website is pointing you towards your goals. You’ll want to focus on these content aspects as you check out your website:
- Do you clearly know your target market? Is your content specifically directed towards them?
- Make sure that all content pages are relevant, useful, and speak clearly to your intended audience.
- Check out every landing page for optimization, ensuring that each offer has its own page.
- Ensure that pages of content are 1,000 words or higher.
- Make sure every piece of content fits in with at least one step on the customer journey.
- Check every page, article, image, and video for relevance, value, and aesthetics.
5. Link-building and Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO includes the optimization of your online presence and reputation as a whole. It focuses on turning your website into a trusted site and you into an accepted expert across the internet. In fact, the authenticity and relevance of your website don’t matter as much to search engines if they are unable to validate your reputation in other places.
Off-page SEO focuses on the way that “off-page” places on the internet back up your claims and your website. When your website can be validated elsewhere, your expertise is accepted and you can achieve a higher search engine ranking. Off-page SEO includes backlinks and social media, which are used to share your website and boost your traffic.
As you audit your off-page SEO elements, pay attention to these areas:
- Check backlinks leading to your website.
- Check backlinks to specific content and landing pages.
- Keep an eye on weekly backlink growth. Backlinks should be increasing.
- Check backlinks for relevance.
- Use online tools/resources to remove any bad backlinks.
- Check the number of shares you are regularly getting on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others.
- Make sure you are gaining visitors from your social media accounts.
6. User Experience
The experience that your visitors have on your website is essential to its success. A poor user experience is akin to someone visiting your physical location and being unable to get in the door, or not knowing where to turn once they’re inside, or wanting to leave because they’re overwhelmed by clutter, smells, or any number of things.
It’s important that your website visitors experience ease of use when navigating your site, that they’re easily able to find the information they are looking for, and that they get to know your business in a positive and genuine way. Here are the things you’ll want to look at when auditing the user experience of your website:
- Test load time- all pages should load in less than three seconds.
- Make sure navigation menus and on-page links are easy to use.
- Ensure minimal advertisements and lead-capture methods.
- Check that videos are embedded without auto-play and other frustrating elements.
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
- Check out image load time and ensure they have a seamless transition.
Is Your Growth Stalling Out Because of an Underperforming Website?
Your underperforming website could greatly benefit from a redesign. Making adjustments that help you reach a wider audience and increase your traffic can make all the difference for your business. However, before you jump right into a redesign, you need to truly understand the areas of your website that aren’t performing adequately.
The best way to do this is with a comprehensive website audit. You can learn about the various aspects of your site and which ones need the most help. With an audit, you will be able to redesign your website effectively and see the uptick in traffic and conversion that you want.
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