You could be forgiven for thinking that nothing good ever came from the words “website audit“. An audit usually implies scrutiny, interference and evaluation. We tend not to enjoy these things in our business affairs. They have a habit of raising the hair on the back of our necks. However, an audit isn’t always something to be feared and dreaded.
In many cases, they can even help to make our lives and our operations better. Website audits, are an excellent way for you to ensure that your website is living up to its full potential.
If you’re currently undergoing a period of infuriatingly slow business, you can’t help noticing that conversions are down or you’ve noticed a gradual dwindling of profit margins, a website audit could be an invaluable tool.
If you do business in the 21st century, whether it’s through e-commerce or not, it’s almost sure that your business needs a website. No business is too small, to niche or too local not to need an online presence. Sure, a website can facilitate sales, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
For many prospects, your website will be the first exposure they have to your business. It’s how they identify with your brand and from it they will start to build an opinion of your business. As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
As such, it always pays to ensure that your website operates at peak efficiency. Open yourself up to the prospect of a website audit, and you may well find that it creates a range of solutions to many of your business’ problems.
If you’ve never heard of the term before, let’s clarify just what we mean when we talk about a website audit. There are many different kinds of audit (and we’ll examine them all later), but in simplest terms, it is when a third party service scrutinises every facet of your online presence.
They will laud you for what your site does well and suggest areas for improvement or further development. This can ensure that your online presence achieves maximum resonance with your target market while also ensuring that your business achieves its strategic goals. Of course, these outsourced service providers won’t work their magic on their site for free.
As a responsible business owner, you may well be a little skittish when it comes to additional overheads. However, as we will hopefully clarify, it is an expense well worth paying.
Right now you’re likely thinking “Sure, this may be true for many businesses, but my website is too small, too specialist to benefit from outside scrutiny”. You’re right to question whether any business expense is worth paying, but a website audit can offer a substantial return on your investment.
An auditing team can help to identify issues to which you may be completely oblivious to. Issues which could not only harm your search engine reach but also increase your bounce rates and reduce the chances for converting leads into customers.
All to often we make web design and development decisions from a purely aesthetic viewpoint. Of course, it’s essential to have an attractive website with an aesthetic that resonates with users, but even in the digital realm, beauty is only skin deep.
A visually impressive veneer may mask a range of issues which can hamper your site’s efficacy. Let’s take a look at the different types of audit a third party service can provide and how they may benefit your business.
There may be issues with your site that you are aware of. Likewise, there may be a plethora of issues beneath the surface of which you are entirely unaware. Just as there is a wide range of things that can cause your website to stall or lack, there is a wide range of different types of audit. These include:
There isn’t a hard and fast rule on how often your website should be audited, but it certainly pays to be proactive rather than reactive. If you only get your site audited after you notice a sharp drop in conversion rates or e-commerce purchases, you will only spend more and more time chasing your tail.
In a world where SEO changes rapidly, it pays to get regular audits to ensure that your site complies to the ever-changing values of search engines’ algorithms. If you can have a website audit every 3-6 months, you stand an excellent chance not just of ensuring that your site is issue free and SEO friendly.
Now that we are familiar with the different types of website audit are available to businesses let’s take a closer look at the issues they can fix. There are many technical and non-technical problems which an audit may uncover. These include:
Google is the most commonly used search engine, and as such it tends to lead decisions made about SEO, web design and web development. If there’s one thing, Google loves it’s secure and issue free websites. It will penalise those that do not conform to its rigorous and ever-changing criteria.
Regular auditing will not only prevent you from getting into bad habits that lead to search engine penalisation but will ensure that you’re never caught short by algorithmic changes.
Hopefully, this post has illustrated the many and varied ways in which your website may not be living up to its full potential. Crashes in conversions, high bounce rates and poor search engine visibility are all signs of needing an audit. With the aid of a website audit, you can help to steer your website back on the right path. After all, a healthy website means a happy business!