Building a website for your company is neither cheap nor easy. What it is, however, is necessary for 2019. And once you’ve completed the entire process – from pre-design to launch – you might think you’re completely done.
In reality, you should approach your website as though it’s living and breathing. Like all living things, that means it requires regular “checkups” or audits. Keep your website healthy by reviewing these technical, design, lead generation, content, and SEO elements.
Performing an audit of the technical aspects of your website can provide insight into the underlying technology of your site. Because this affects every other aspect of your site, you should conduct these audit items first. Ask your team questions such as:
Is the site using an SSL certificate and if so, is it implemented correctly?
SSL, or Secure Socket Layers, is a layer of security that prevents sensitive information from becoming vulnerable to outside sources. If you collect any information like emails or passwords, you should ensure you’re using SSL to be secure. To do this, enable HTTPS across your website. If it breaks, or is not working in certain areas, you’ll be able to notice in the URL, or you’ll receive a “Not Secure” warning in a web browser. HubSpot has a wealth of further information on this if you have more concerns.
Are you filtering out your internal traffic in all analytics platforms, like Google Analytics, HubSpot, Hotjar and more?
To get a real sense of the traffic your website is receiving you should exclude visits that come from your organization. It’s probable your sales or marketing team frequently references your site, which may skew your traffic numbers and thus, your reporting will be tainted.
Have you done a crawl errors report and cleared any potential errors?
Website crawl errors can prevent your website from appearing in search results, which subsequently can hinder your marketing and sales efforts. With Google Webmaster Tools, you can perform a crawl errors report that looks for site and URL errors throughout your website. Once you’re alerted to any errors, you can also resolve them in the same platform.
Is your site speed too slow?
Loading time matters, and if your website is slow, you’re losing visitors. According to KissMetrics, 40% of consumers abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load. In many cases, oversized images cause your site to load slowly. With PageSpeed Insights, you can check your load time across multiple platforms, and see what’s contributing to your site speed.
Are you utilizing structured data?
Structured data is a type of code that makes it easier for search engines to organize, crawl, and show your content. This, in turn, helps you rank higher. Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool can run tests on your website, and provide code snippets to enter into your web page’s HTML.
Your website’s design is your users’ first impression of your company. So, when conducting a website audit, it’s important to consider your design factors as they’ll affect whether a person stays on your site or leaves. Design elements your team should question include:
Is your page structure easy to distinguish for visitors?
Things that help your users navigate and understand your webpages include clear headers, titles, footers, and navigation bars. If any – or all – of these elements are missing, your website will become confusing to understand, steering people away.
Does our website design align with your company’s brand?
The look and feel of your website should always reflect the branding your company uses throughout all of its messaging. If your website doesn’t emulate your physical sales enablement pieces – brochures, flyers, and more – for example, your visitors may feel a disconnect. Likewise, if your team is emailing potential contacts with a logo that’s not featured on the website, they’ll also feel something is amiss.
Is your design responsive?
The influx of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices means your website is being accessed on different platforms. Therefore, your design needs to look great on all of them. With a responsive design, your website fits the sizing and nature of whatever device it’s being viewed on. If your design looks pixelated and small on a phone, then it’s time to seek out a responsive design.
Do your visual elements transition smoothly?
Another way to look at this question is to ask yourself, “does your website design make sense?” Are your visitors following a consistent design journey or are they being bombarded with large, overwhelming graphics in places they shouldn’t be? Does the design lead them naturally to a call-to-action or is your CTA lost in the footer?
Your website acts as a virtual salesperson; you should equip it with lead generation tools to help propel your business. When auditing your site, ask yourself this of lead generation:
Does each page have a clear CTA?
Generally, your homepage and product pages should have CTAs featured on them. Ultimately, it’s up to you to identify where to place your CTAs. But A/B testing can help you determine where to put them. It can also help you decide the visual and content portions of your CTAs. To take it a step further, HubSpot offers smart CTAs, which display a customized button to your visitors based on data stored in their HubSpot contact record or from information known about their device, language and more. No matter what though, your CTAs should reflect the content of the page where they’re housed.
Are you using the appropriate number of CTAs on a page?
While CTAs are great at capturing information, too many can confuse and prevent your users from filling them out.
Are you using pop-ups?
When appropriately applied, pop-ups are useful. For example, if someone abandons a form, you can utilize a pop-up to encourage them to finish it. You can also use pop-ups to grow email lists.
As a major component of both your website and inbound marketing, you should include your content when conducting a website audit. Reference these questions when examining your website’s copy and content:
Does your content reflect your buyer personas?
If you’ve taken the time to fully understand your target audience, their buying behavior, their preferences, and more, you need to speak to them properly through your copy. If your website doesn’t reflect their pain points or offer solutions to them, you’re not effectively utilizing your buyer persona research.
Are there spelling or grammar errors on your website?
Everyone makes mistakes, but if those errors are present in the final, live version of your website, your credibility falters. Avoid these errors by enlisting several members of your team to review your website’s content.
Are you using social sharing buttons?
Social sharing buttons can improve your brand exposure, get your information in front of your target audience’s minds, and increase your search rankings. If you don’t utilize them now, start by adding visually appealing buttons to the major pages of your website, like your blog.
Search engine optimization makes your website visible to a broader audience. Without good SEO, your website becomes buried in Google results – and no one wants to be on page two of Google. Consequently, a proper website audit is nothing without an SEO audit. Here’s what to ask your team when it comes to SEO:
Are your site pages using appropriate tags?
Every page of your website should have a keyword-optimized title tag and meta description. You should also have appropriate image tags and H1 tags. Without these, your rankings lower, and if someone does find your page in a search result, they may have trouble understanding what your page is about and turn away. To see if you have optimized tags, navigate to a page, right-click your mouse and select “View Page Source.”
Do your pages use relevant keywords?
Keywords are the words and phrases that your users type into Google to find pertinent information and sites. If you haven’t done an SEO analysis and determined what keywords you should be targeting, you must. Because without appropriate keywords, users can’t find you, and the users who do may not understand that your service is what they’ve been looking for.
To Sum It Up
Auditing your website may seem unnerving – especially if you’re closely examining the technical, design, lead generation, content, and SEO portions of it, but once you do it, you’ll be glad you did. An audit will ensure your website is working correctly, ranking accordingly, connects with your visitors, and reflects your business. For help conducting your website’s audit, contact Lynton today.