You’ve got a website, and you’ve got designers and copywriters, but the conversions are just not happening. It’s like you’re stuck in a traffic jam during rush hour with no end in sight. If this sounds familiar, you may be missing one key thing: a website audit. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you!
We’re going to walk you through the benefits of performing a website audit, give you a step-by-step guide on how to do it, and help you choose the right tools to get the job done.
Ready? Let’s do it!
What is a website audit?
A website audit examines a website’s performance and effectiveness in great detail. It entails looking at various website elements, including the technical framework, user experience, content quality, and factors involved in conversion rate optimization and search engine optimization (SEO).
A website audit’s primary goal is to find out where a website may be underperforming and to offer insights and suggestions for improvements.
By conducting site audits, businesses can ensure their website meets its intended goals, such as increasing conversions, improving the user experience, and driving traffic to the site.
Website audits can be conducted manually or using various tools and software designed for this purpose (we’ll share a few tools below).
Benefits of website audits
What are the benefits of performing a website audit? Let’s break them down.
1. Improve and optimize conversion rates
A website audit can find problems that affect the site’s conversion rate, such as poor navigation, weak calls-to-action (CTAs), and unsuccessful landing pages. After resolving these problems, you may improve your site’s conversion rate and boost your company’s revenue.
2. Boost website performance
Your site may be loading slowly due to technical and functional problems, hurting users’ experiences and your search engine rankings. By fixing problems, you can increase your website’s performance and speed.
3. Enhance user experience
By evaluating the usability of your website, a website audit can help improve the user experience, leading to increased engagement, longer visit times, higher conversion rates, and more customer loyalty.
4. Strengthen security
A website audit can help identify vulnerabilities in your website’s security, such as outdated software, weak passwords, or other issues, enabling you to strengthen and protect your website and users’ data.
How to conduct a website audit
Now that you know how a website audit can benefit your business, use the following steps as your website audit checklist.
Step #1: Define your goals and objectives
Defining your goals and objectives is essential to any successful website audit. Deciding what you want your website to do and how to optimize it to reach those goals is vital.
So, which key performance indicators (KPIs) should you consider measuring on your website? That depends on your company and what’s most important to you. However, some common KPIs include website traffic, user engagement, conversion rates, and search engine rankings.
Website traffic is an important KPI because it measures how many people visit your site. It’s essential to track this metric to see if your efforts to drive traffic to your site are working.
User engagement is another crucial KPI because it tells you how people interact with your site. This includes metrics like bounce rate, time spent on site, and pages per session. You may decide how to enhance the user experience by knowing how visitors engage with your website.
Conversion rates are also an essential KPI because they measure how well your website is performing in terms of achieving your business goals. This can involve anything from submitting a contact form to completing a purchase.
Search engine rankings are crucial because they impact how visible your site is to potential customers. You can refine your SEO approach and increase organic traffic to your website by keeping track of where your site ranks for relevant keywords.
It’s important to answer a few basic questions before starting your website audit. What do you want your website to achieve? What needs does your target audience have? Who are they? How can your website meet those needs? By answering these questions, you’ll be ready to make the most of your website audit.
Step #2: Analyze the website structure
Navigation is the first factor to consider while assessing your website’s structure and design. Any website’s foundation is its navigation, which is how users discover the content they’re looking for. Asking yourself the following questions can help you evaluate the navigation on your website: Can you quickly locate the main menu? Are the menu items clearly labeled? Do the submenus make sense?
In addition to navigation, you’ll also want to consider the overall page layout. Is the design consistent across all pages? Do you have a clear information hierarchy, with significant content prominently displayed? A well-designed website should be scannable and direct the user’s eye to important information.
Color scheme and branding consistency are also essential elements to evaluate. Consistency in branding across your website and other marketing platforms helps to strengthen your brand identity in the customer’s mind.
Having a responsive website is no longer optional. With the increasing number of people accessing the internet via their phones and tablets, having a mobile-friendly website will naturally increase your conversion rate. On the other hand, if your website is not optimized for all the devices out there, you may be losing customers.
User experience is key to driving conversions. Is your website easy to use and intuitive? Can users quickly find what they need without much effort? A well-designed website should enhance user experience, boost engagement, and increase conversion rates.
Step #3: Check website speed and performance
Website speed and performance are critical components that can make or break the user experience, and they also affect your ranking on search engines. It’s crucial to take the necessary steps to ensure your website’s speed and performance are top-notch.
You can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to test your website’s speed and performance.
These tools provide insights into metrics affecting your website’s performance, including page load time, page size, and requests. Based on the results, you can optimize your website to improve its loading time.
Did you know that one way to optimize your website’s loading time is by minimizing the size of your images? That’s right. Large images can significantly impact your website’s loading time, so you can consider compressing the images without compromising their quality using tools such as Adobe Photoshop or TinyPNG.
Another optimization technique is compressing your code. This technique removes unnecessary characters, spaces, and comments from your website’s code to make it smaller and easier to load.
Additionally, you can minimize HTTP requests by simplifying your website’s design and reducing the number of images and scripts on your web pages. The fewer requests your website has to make, the faster it can load.
Implementing a content delivery network (CDN) is another effective way to improve website speed and performance. A CDN is a network of servers located worldwide that stores your website’s static files, such as images and videos, and serves them to users from the server closest to their location. This can reduce the distance and time it takes for data to travel, improving your website’s loading speed.
Step #4: Review website security
According to SiteLock, websites encounter an average of 94 attacks per day and receive 2,608 bot visits per week based on an analysis of 7 million websites. Paying attention to your website security has never been more critical.
One way to improve website security is by implementing HTTPS encryption. By using HTTPS encryption, all the data transmitted between the website and the user’s browser is secure and encrypted, which prevents any unauthorized access or interception of data. HTTPS also adds a layer of trust and authenticity to your website, as it verifies that the website is legitimate and not a phishing site.
Regularly updating software and plugins is another crucial step in improving website security. Outdated software and plugins are often the targets of hackers, who exploit vulnerabilities in the code to gain access to the website. By regularly updating software and plugins, you can patch any security holes and prevent potential attacks.
Using strong passwords and two-factor authentication can also help improve website security. Weak passwords are easy for hackers to crack, so it’s essential to use strong, unique passwords. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of authentication, such as a code sent to a user’s mobile device.
Scanning for malware and viruses is another important step in maintaining website security. Malware can infect a website and compromise user data, so it’s essential to regularly scan the website for any potential threats and remove them promptly.
Finally, regularly backing up website data is crucial in case of any security breaches or website crashes. Regular backups ensure that you have a copy of your website data in case of any loss or damage.
Step #5: Check Google Analytics
By analyzing data from Google Analytics, you can identify areas that need improvement and optimize your website accordingly.
One way to use Google Analytics effectively is by setting up goals to track important KPIs. Goals can help you track specific actions that users take on your website, such as filling out a contact form or making a purchase. By tracking these actions, you can measure the success of your website and make data-driven decisions to improve user experience and conversion rates.
You can analyze user behavior on your website using Google Analytics. By looking at metrics such as bounce rate, session duration, and pages per session, you can identify areas where users may be experiencing difficulties or losing interest. This information can help you optimize your website’s content and layout to improve user engagement and reduce bounce rates.
You can also use Google Analytics to identify your top-performing pages. By analyzing which pages receive the most traffic and engagement, you can optimize those pages to drive even more traffic and engagement. You can also identify which pages may need improvement and adjust them accordingly.
Analyzing your website’s traffic sources can help you understand where your visitors are coming from and how they find your website. This information can help you optimize your marketing strategies and focus on the channels driving the most traffic.
Evaluating user engagement metrics such as time on site, scroll depth, and click-through rates can provide valuable insights into how users interact with your website. By identifying areas where users may be dropping off or losing interest, you can make adjustments to improve user experience and increase engagement.
Step #6: Ask for feedback from your visitors
As a website owner, it’s crucial to understand your visitors’ needs and preferences to improve their user experience. One way to gain valuable insights into your visitors’ opinions is by asking for feedback directly from them. This feedback can come in the form of surveys, forms, or feedback widgets.
By gathering feedback from your visitors, you can identify issues that you may not have even considered like difficulties in finding certain pages or confusion with specific features. This information can help you make targeted improvements that will ultimately benefit your visitors and improve their overall experience on your website.
To encourage visitors to leave feedback, consider placing feedback widgets or links in prominent locations on your website. You can also incentivize feedback by offering discounts or other incentives to those who take the time to provide feedback.
Once you receive feedback, make sure you analyze it carefully. Look for common themes or issues that are mentioned repeatedly, and prioritize addressing those issues first. Follow up with visitors who leave feedback to let them know you value their opinions and appreciate their input.
Step #7: Use heatmaps
Heatmaps provide a visual representation of how visitors interact with your website. They show where users click, how far they scroll down a page, and which areas they spend the most time on. This information can help you identify problem areas and improve your website’s design and content.
Using heatmaps, you can understand how visitors behave on your website and use that information to optimize their experience.
Step #8: Perform an SEO audit
Your website audit should include an SEO audit. This involves analyzing your website’s content for relevance, quality, and optimization.
It’s vital to provide trustworthy, meaningful, and high-quality content for your visitors. This will be appreciated not only by your visitors but also by search engines.
Google wants to provide only accurate, reliable search results for its users. So make sure that you’re providing content that is well-written, informative, and relevant to your target audience.
Step #9: Fix technical issues and broken links
In addition to having the best content possible, you also want to address any technical problems that may arise and reevaluate your link-building strategies.
Broken links, sluggish page loads, duplicate content, and other technical faults can hurt the functionality of your website. It’s crucial to periodically check your website for technical problems and take immediate action to address them.
Also, analyzing your link-building strategies will help you see potential issues with your website’s backlink profile and make the required adjustments to improve its search engine ranking.
Your website can function at its peak by addressing technical issues and refining your link-building strategy.
The 5 best website audit tools
Now that you know the different steps you’ll need to take while performing a complete website audit, it’s time to take a look at the tools you can use to get the best results from your audit:
Ahrefs is an all-in-one toolset for search traffic and optimizing your website. Ahrefs crawls the web, collecting tons of data and making it accessible to the user. With Ahrefs you can get an in-depth look at the backlink profile and search traffic of any website.
Pricing: You can get free access to their Webmaster Tool Account. Basic price starts at $99.
2. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free website audit tool that collects data from your websites and apps to create reports that provide insights into your business.
The service is part of the Google Marketing Platform, and it can help organizations determine top sources of user traffic, gauge the success of their marketing activities and campaigns, track goal completions (such as purchases, and adding products to carts), discover patterns and trends in user engagement and obtain other visitor information such as demographics.
Small and medium-sized retail websites often use Google Analytics to obtain and analyze various customer behavior analytics, which can be used to improve marketing campaigns, drive website traffic and better retain visitors.
Pricing: This is a free platform.
3. Lumar (previously DeepCrawl)
Lumar is a robust platform that crawls websites and doubles as a site architecture analysis tool. The software is used by SEOs and web developers to understand a site’s staging environment, analyze data, monitor external sites, conduct backlinks, and organize sitemaps.
Pricing: Prices are available upon request.
ScreamingFrog is a powerful tool that allows you to find broken links, examine page titles, meta descriptions, and meta keywords, and get a view of all the external links. With this tool, you will get clear tips on what to improve to better prepare the site for search engines, web browsers, and users.
Pricing: There’s a free version available. Prices start at $259/year.
5. Google PageSpeed Insights
Another excellent tool from Google is PageSpeed Insights. PageSpeed Insights (PSI) reports on the user experience of a page on both mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page can be improved.
PSI provides both lab and field data about a page. Lab data is helpful for debugging issues, as it is collected in a controlled environment.
Pricing: It’s a free tool.
Here are some short answers to the common questions you may have:
What is a good site audit score?
Typically, a good site audit score falls in the 80-100 range. This means your site meets the highest quality standard for technical SEO, content and UX, and mobile usability. You can check your score using tools like Ahrefs or Semrush.
What should be in a website audit?
A website audit typically evaluates technical aspects such as website speed, mobile-friendliness, and security and content-related factors such as quality, relevance, and optimization. A website audit often includes SEO-related elements like keyword research, on-page optimization, and backlink profile.
How often should a website be audited?
The frequency of your website audits should depend on the website’s size and activity level. Generally, you’ll want to perform a website audit at least once a year or whenever there are significant changes to the website, such as a redesign or a major update.
Staying profitable online today is a battle of constant improvements. To keep your competitive edge, you have to eliminate the guesswork, discover what’s working (and what’s not), and make improvements.
Performing a regular website audit is one of the best ways to achieve all of these. In this article, you’ve learned about the benefits of a website audit, how to perform one for your company, and the best tools to use.
Now it’s time to put everything you’ve learned to work!