An In Depth Guide to Auditing Your Website

Posted by Scott Blanton on July 24, 2017

An In Depth Guide to Auditing Your Website

When it comes to your website, you’ve probably been given countless pieces of advice. Your graphics need to be updated. Your content should be fresh and engaging. You need to be professional, but casual at the same time. You need to be different and stand out from your competitors. With so many different voices telling you what to do, how are you supposed to know which one is right?

This in-depth guide is all about conducting a website audit. If your site is 10 years old or only 3 years old, it’s outdated. Today’s web design trends are always evolving, but it’s not just about staying on trend. Your website should be a 24/7 salesperson that always delivers your key messaging to your target audience. Your website should create an incredible user experience, generate leads, drive traffic, and nurture users through a digital sales funnel.

Is your site doing that right now?

If it is, great. You probably shouldn’t spend your time reading the rest of this post. But, there’s a much higher chance your website isn’t performing the way you wished it was. There’s a higher chance that you need to perform a website audit and figure out where your digital strategy could use some major improvement.

Your Guide to Performing A Website Audit

No two websites are created equally. At least, they shouldn’t be. That’s step number one. Make sure your website content is original and that you don’t have a copy and paste site. If you do, then you’re going to want to skip to the end of this audit. You don’t need a website audit. You need a new website.

If you have an original site, then follow the steps below to audit your site and discover what needs improvement and what’s performing well.

Your website is built on a content management system (CMS) that allows you to update the site easily whenever you need to.

Before you start the rest of the website audit, you need to know what kind of platform your site is built on. It’s your site. It’s your sales tool. You should have the ability to edit content, update images, and do whatever else needs to be done to get your marketing messages out there. Can you do that right now?

When it comes to choosing a CMS, we recommend WordPress. Why? The statistics speak for themselves:

  • Over 72 million websites use a CMS run on the WordPress platform
  • There are 29,000 plug-ins and integrations available for customization
  • Over 10,000 themes are supported
  • It’s 5x more popular than other CMS platforms

If you’ve spent $99 to build your website, there’s a good chance that you can’t update it. Not because you couldn’t figure it out but because the system it’s built on isn’t intuitive.

Brands all over the world have websites built on proprietary systems or sites that have been written solely with code. Unless you’re a computer science whiz who understands code or has access to that proprietary system, you’re gonna find it incredibly difficult to actually update your site and manage your own content.

Your website makes an incredible first impression on any visitor who lands on the site.

Think first impressions don’t really matter? Think again. In marketing, first impressions mean the difference in closing a sale or missing out on opportunities. When it comes to your website, you have 500 milliseconds to make that impression. If it’s a bad one, most visitors are just going to leave.

That means your messaging won’t be heard. Your content won’t be read. Your visuals won’t be seen. In essence: your website will become a desert that no one wants to visit.

If you aren’t making a great first impression, then everything else on your site is a waste. In order to get your message across, generate leads, nurture sales, or accomplish any of your other digital strategy goals, you need a website design and site that impresses visitors. Remember, when it comes to marketing, perception is a huge game changer. Once your target audience has built a certain perception of your brand, it’s hard to change it.

The navigation on your website should be easy to understand and follow.

Here’s the deal: your website navigation shouldn’t be so complicated that visitors aren’t sure where to go or what to click on. Your information architecture should be created and presented in a way that makes moving from one page to the next natural.

Is your content and site laid out in a way that gives visitors clear direction of what they should do?

If you give visitors too many options, they’ll simply leave. OR, visitors will find themselves on a “choose your story” adventure that leads them down a path they don’t really want to go down.

In short, less is more. Be upfront with your content. Be genuine and provide the information logically.

Visitors are engaged visually when they land on your site.

It might be obvious that your website needs visuals, but it might not be obvious as to why.

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. When it comes to your website, the visuals shouldn’t be haphazard. They should serve a function. They should communicate your message and support the content throughout the site.

Are the images and graphics on your site supporting your message in a clear way?

If you include graphs or charts showing statistics, then make them pop off the page. These are important aspects of your brand or your offering. You don’t want to hide these visuals. You want to make them stand out in a way that site visitors won’t miss it.

As you conduct your website audit, take notice of how the visuals are directing site traffic, if at all. If your website is strategic, then visuals should lead visitors to the pages and content that are most important to your digital strategy. If they aren’t, then it’s time to rethink the way you’re using them.

The text on your site should be scannable and digestible.

Like every good meal, your website content should be just enough to fill someone up. If you’re stuffing the pages, then no one is going to actually read it.

Let’s face it, if you visit a website and you’re greeted by a huge wall of text, you don’t read it. So, why expect visitors to your site to do that?

Instead, you should be offering snippets of content that can be scanned by readers. Headlines should be focused on the benefits your offer and not the features. Bullet points should be strategically used on pages to convey the most important content. When performing your website audit keep this in mind: 79% of visitors scan a page while only 21% of them actually take the time to read all of the content.

Your website should be optimized to increase traffic.

SEO.

It’s a tough beast to tackle even for those with extensive training, but without it, you’re likely to be lost in the weeds and buried by your competition. SEO isn’t a quick fix to get higher rankings. It’s not an overnight solution. It’s a long game that you have to be willing to play if you expect to compete online.

When it comes to your website audit, you should look for optimized webpages. Do you have set keywords? Have you stuffed those pages with keywords? Are you using meta descriptions? Do you regularly update content on your website? Does someone write blog posts for the brand?

There’s a lot that goes into SEO. These questions are just scratching the surface of what it is, what it does, and how you should be accomplishing it.

Your job is to be honest with yourself. Is your website properly optimized for search engines? If it isn’t, then you need to do something about it.

Want an even more in-depth website audit?

You might be surprised as to where your website stands right now. What you thought might have been a great website, might only be lackluster. The website audit areas above aren’t the only things you need to look at when it comes to your site. We encourage you to download our website download checklist to get a better understanding of your website and digital strategy.

When you’ve done that and answered the questions in the checklist, the digital marketing team at Iconic can help turn your website audit into a full strategy designed to get your website back up to speed with where it needs to be.

Ready to get started? Download the checklist!

Download our website infographic.
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Scott Blanton

Content Writer at Iconic Digital Marketing
As Iconic Digital's content writer, Scott works with clients to develop brand stories and key messaging. When he isn't typing away at his computer, you'll find him exploring new coffee shops, spending time with this family, or working on a new home improvement project.