Your website may look amazing but is it really working at its best for you and your business? Conducting a thorough website audit can give you the confidence that your website is performing at its best and is the perfect partner for your sales team.
This 10 point website audit checklist looks at all areas including web design, content, security, SEO, performance and device support.
Each time you’re updating, refreshing or creating a new website, refer back to this checklist and then sit back and relax knowing your website is working overtime for you and your business!
10 Step Website Audit Checklist
- Client focused content
People visiting your website are usually there because they have a problem that needs solving and they’re looking for the answer. Instead of focusing your content on your products, services and business this should be written solely with the reader in mind. Focus on the customers’ needs and how you plan to meet that need and fix their problem.
As with everything, you need to grab their attention quickly to show them they’re looking in the right direction and their answer lies with you. A clear headline showing your reader you understand their need and are on their side will keep their interest and ensure they stay on your page and find out more. Your whole website should include content that:
- Speaks to your readers needs and shows that you relate to them and their needs
- Is backed up with examples / case studies on how you’ve previously solved these problems
- Shows your reader that you’re able to meet their needs better than your competition
- Clear and visible call to action
The main aim of your website is to create some form of future interaction with your visitor, and so call to action buttons are vital. A lot of websites will 1-2 call to action’s somewhere on their website but will rely on their visitors actively looking for these themselves. This, we know, can often lead to the reader losing interest and clicking off the website to look elsewhere.
Ensuring each page and section of your website has a clear and visible call to action will substantially increase the likelihood of an immediate response from visitors to your page. Lay the path out nice and clear to begin the process of converting to a lead.
- Make your contact page pop
Many businesses fail to grasp the importance of their contact page and see this as a tick box page without giving this much thought to its design and content. This page is what can promote your visitor from casual browsers to possible clients. Your contact page should not only be easy to find but also quick and simple to navigate. It should:
- Include direct forms of communication, e.g. chat box, click to call buttons
- Include a simple contact form so people can contact you 24/7
- If you have a physical premises, add directions / link to Google Maps address
- Set clear expectations on reply time from messages
- Ensure these work well on mobile devices (see blog on mobile first design!)
- Include links to all active social media accounts
- Keep your design clean, professional and on brand
Fussy, over-crowded websites are a sure way to lose your visitors’ interest. Yes you want to show off all you have to offer but information and sensory overload are not the way. When people visit your website, they want to see a modern, clean, professional page that is both easy to digest and navigate.
Carefully pick your images and style to make it eye-catching, include headers, subheaders, bullets and white space to nicely format your content. Make every sentence a selling point and educational. All of this will keep your visitor engaged and encourage them to explore further.
Take inspiration from other highly used websites but make sure to keep your own brand at the forefront of everything. Yes something may look and work amazing for one company but that doesn’t mean it fits in well with your brand.
- Simple, clear navigation
The second a person needs to search for something on your website, you’ve lost them. Well organised content ensures your visitors can always find what they’re looking for quickly and simply. Ideally visitors should be able to get to wherever they want on your website with one click. The more they need to click through the site, the less likely it is you’ll keep their interest.
During your audit, check that your navigation is straightforward with visible text-based links to each page to ensure visitors can use your website as you intended. Remember, most people will be visiting via a mobile device so keep this in mind too!
- Website built for all devices
As we know, most people have ditched their desktops for mobile devices when it comes to browsing the internet. Are you confident your website performs just as well across all devices?
You need to ensure:
- All images properly respond to all devices
- Navigate is clear and easy to use
- Headers and content collapse to fit each device
- Pages load quickly and as intended when site is adapted to different sized screens
- Fully optimised website to support online visibility
Optimising your website each time you update anything on it will ensure your pages are found on web searches. To do this you need to ensure:
- Pages and posts are optimised using a single unique keyword to ensure these are properly indexed on search engines
- Meta description tags are used to help entice viewers to click on your post
- Your content is written for the reader with suitable keywords used appropriately
Images are a great way of keeping your reader interested and engaged but these should be carefully thought out. Only use images that clearly support your content, resize to ensure your page loads quickly and rename these images using your main keyword. Optimising your images is an easy but important task to ensure any images support your SEO.
- Fast loading speed
Any time someone clicks the back button and leaves your website due to slower loading time, a notification will be sent to Google about the quality of your website and can significantly impact its visibility.
Areas that could affect your loading speed include:
- Large / heavy images – before you upload any image to your website, ensure you first reduce the size of the image for web via compression. You can use WordPress plugins such as SmushIT as these will not only reduce file size but also improve its performance and SEO.
- Your hosting provider – ensure you find a web hosting provider that offers optimised WordPress hosting as part of its package. Shared hosting without regular optimised servers can result in a much slower website.
- Slow / unnecessary plugins – Although plugins are essential to a well performing website, choosing the right ones are even more vital. Poorly coded plugins can make your website slow and glitchy. Ensure you use premium plugins and get rid of any you don’t really need.
- Fussy WordPress themes – select a WordPress theme that is simple and clear as this will significantly improve your loading speed. If you’re unsure how to choose the right one, speak to someone who can advise you.
- SSL Certificate
All websites must now be secured with an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, even if they aren’t planning to sell anything or believe they won’t be gathering personal information. It’s no longer an option.
Adding an SSL will:
- Add a necessary level of trust to your site from visitors. Visitors will feel much more comfortable sharing personal data to your website when they see the SSL icon next to your web address. Soon, Chrome will also show a much more visible warning sign if a website is not encrypted with SSL which will significantly push visitors away from your website.
- Give your site an advantage over those without SSL. We know that Google favours websites with an SSL so use this to your advantage and get ahead of those without!
Adding a SSL to your website couldn’t be easier. Most web hosting companies now offer a one-click install which makes setting up SSL fast and cost-effective. Once set up, you then need to redirect your old HTTP address to HTTPS (and ensure this new address is set up across all sites, social media, etc.!).
- Website security
Hackers are now everywhere and unfortunately will be constantly trying to hack into your website. Your website security is therefore essential and needs to be managed regularly. Here are a few things to consider:
- Get rid of any accounts on your site that include the username ‘admin’ as this is usually the first word hackers will attempt to access your site
- Have a clean backup ready! Should your website be compromised by hackers, you should have a clean back up ready to install to WordPress to reduce any downtime.
Install a security plugin. WordPress has a number of quality security plugins that can be installed easily: All in One WP Security, iThemes Security, Wordfence and Ninjafirewall. Have a look and see which might work best for you.
Need some extra help? Contact our team to find out how we can support your website health!