If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
On the big list of famous last words, this old adage – along with “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” – should be at the top.
You may not think of your website as “broken,” but without a comprehensive website audit, you could very well be leaving money on the table with each passing second.
Think of your website as your company’s window to the world. If it is not optimized for performance, leads, and search, those potential customers who are “window shopping” will just walk on by.
From a marketing perspective, there are three gigantic benefits to conducting a website audit:
- Performance – Evaluate your website’s framework and infrastructure health, while determining how intuitive, accessible, and – in turn – friendly it is for both human users and search engines.
- SEO – Refocus your efforts on the user, first and foremost, while identifying any missed opportunities and fixing any blatant SEO errors, such as keyword stuffing.
- Lead/Conversion Generation – Reconsider previously overlooked opportunities to convert website visitors into leads and ensure your Calls to Action (CTAs) are optimized for them.
Pursuing these benefits is another story, altogether. If time, resources, and/or technical savvy are hindrances, you might consider outsourcing the tasks to a third party.
Grading Your Performance
During the initial stage of your website audit, you should ask yourself the following two questions:
Is my website user-friendly?
You’re not Kevin Costner. It’s not as simple as “If you build it, they will come.” And even if it were – just attracting visitors to your site is not the end game. You must prove to them they made a wise choice with their mouse clicks.
In short, put your customers first. Make sure your site has been designed for them and make it easy for them to acquire the information they need. Main value propositions should be easily accessible and navigable. Page layout should be clean and uncluttered. Minimize distractions. This is applicable to your homepage, your blog, all landing pages, and any related content. Get to the point. Give your web visitors what they need, and make it clear what their next steps should be.
Is my website fast?
Fast-loading pages translate to better engagement, retention, and – ultimately – conversions. Page size, image file size, and HTML and CSS can impact the responsiveness of your site.
Faster-loading websites rank higher in the search engines than slow sites, all thing being equal. But it’s a balancing act. If you’re a landscaper or a hair salon, it might make sense to tolerate a moderately slower site in favor of lots of large, gorgeous photos of your product.
Send in the SEO
Content is king.
High quality content, that is.
Not only does your content need to appeal to the interests of your clientele, but it should be interesting, informational, concise yet thorough, and easy to read and digest.
Got all that?
Content should also be audited for on-page SEO. Conduct a keyword analysis to review the following elements:
- Keyword performance – which keywords are giving you significant gains in traffic and/or leads?
- Implementation – Are you efficiently integrating keyword performance into your content? What content are you adding to target these keywords?
- Backend evaluation – Make sure to review your URLs, page titles, and meta descriptions, including keywords, where relevant.
Optimize for Conversions
Keep users engaged with your brand via CTAs, special offers, and landing pages. Maximizing your reach is essential to your website’s success. Put your best foot forward with:
- Marketing offers (white papers, downloads) gated behind landing pages that appeal to various buyer personas.
- Optimized landing pages and/or conversion forms.
- Strategically placed CTAs throughout your site.
Let’s Get Technical
If you do outsource your website audit, the firm you choose should conduct a technical evaluation that checks for the following, among many others:
- Responsive design – Mobile accounts for more than half of all web page views worldwide. Your website must be mobile-friendly.
- Error messages – Response codes (typically beginning with “302, 404, and 500”) indicate the presence of broken links. Fix them.
- URL optimization – URLs with session IDs or multiple dynamic parameters make it nearly impossible for search engines to index your site, and ultimately result in lower click through rates (CTRs).
- Up-to-Date Versions – Are you running the most current version of WordPress? If not, you might have significant security risks. What about the various plugins?
If it’s been a few years since you’ve audited your site or, worse, if you’ve never taken the time – remedy that situation immediately.
Not technologically inclined? No worries. Pretty much every digital marketing company, including us, will do such an audit for free. Obviously, we all do that because it often leads to us gaining a new client, so keep in mind that your web firm may have a built-in bias to tell you everything is wrong! That’s very often true, but they might overstate things. If your BS-detector is going off, listen to it.
We think there are a ton of good digital marketing firms out there and we often tell clients that their website is just fine and they should direct their resources elsewhere. But more often than not, there are critical changes or updates to be made, so be sure to find someone you trust to do the audit. If you don’t trust them, you won’t have any idea what to do with their recommendations.
Need some help? Contact us today.