The end and the beginning of the year are the best moments for audits. It’s valid in personal life and businesses alike. An objective audit is the basis of sustainable future growth and the most effective way to give up on unproductive aspects and embrace new ideas.
The depth of a website audit depends on factors like business size, industry, and budget. As a result, you will find dozens of modalities for performing a website audit. None of them are good or bad, these are just fit for a particular type of project. At the same time, some aspects are common to all website audits.
We tried to pull out the good practices from all the guides in this respect. It’s not perfect, but we did our best to publish a comprehensive and complete post showing how we do a website audit.
How to Conduct a Website Audit
Break the audit up into categories to simplify the work and save precious time. At the end of the audit, you can draw general conclusions, but these should be based on the results of each category of the audit. A complete audit includes the following parts:
- Website Performance
This classification allows a better understanding of the site pain points and helps you to take the correct measures. It’s of paramount importance what you did with the lessons learned from the previous audits. An audit for the sake of an audit is a huge waste of time and resources. The final report with the audit conclusions should be a guide for future site improvements. Before starting a new audit, you have to check the improvements based on the previous audit. Therefore, let’s see how to effectively audit your site!
Website performance is a major concern for all webmasters. A slow-loading site is a failure no matter how good the content published is. Google rolled out an algorithm update that favors fast-loading sites. Core web vitals are a set of metrics, proposed by Google, to evaluate the loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability. If you didn’t pay attention to these indicators – Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift you made a huge mistake! You must get the green light from Google before considering your site a good digital experience for users. It depends on your site complexity, but it’s rather challenging to meet the Google requirements.
Start your site audit by visiting PageSpeed Insights, and test your site. The results are the basis of your future measures to optimize the site. You should be happy if the web vitals are in the green area; as this means Google believes that your site passes the performance exam. Elsewhere, you have to follow the recommendations and improve the site.
Additionally, check your site with GTMetrix or Pingdom. These both offer hints about the site’s performance and provide lists of recommendations to speed up your site.
A good user experience is a top priority for all webmasters. Site visitors won’t appreciate your stellar content unless the site is user-friendly. The biggest problem of UX experts is that all site layouts should be constantly tweaked. The browsing habits of the visitors are diverse and dynamic and you have to do everything possible to satisfy their expectations.
A professional UX audit implies plenty of aspects to audit. Find good answers to the following questions if you don’t allow hiring a UX expert to audit your site.
- Is the site design in line with the industry standards? Indeed, you have to differentiate from competitors, but being at the other end of the spectrum isn’t a solution either.
- Are the fonts and the colors accessible to everyone? Use accessibility tools to test how users with special needs navigate through the site pages. You will be amazed that the colors and fonts used restrict the site browsing of many people.
- Is the menu helpful for visitors? A good rule of thumb says that a visitor should be able to access the needed information with no more than three clicks. Ensure that the site navigation is intuitive and simple.
- Is the call-to-action button visible? Your site is a business and the call-to-action button is responsible for converting site visitors into clients. Check the placement, color, contrast between button and background, and shape. This button should be visible but not annoying.
- Is visual hierarchy relevant and helpful for visitors? The placement of a layout’s elements is vital for a user-friendly experience. Pay attention to placing the important items frontally, but don’t clutter the design. Less is more in most cases!
The design captivates the users’ attention and provides them with a good experience. However, the content keeps them engaged and converts a few of them into paying customers. Hence, you should invest much time into auditing the content. Check the content of the most visited web pages – pay close attention to the homepage. Is it relevant to the current needs of the users? Does it reflect the values of the business? Is it engaging enough and does it resonate with the customer persona? Go further only if you have clear answers to these questions and fix the poor-quality content.
The blog is your next destination. Updating your content is almost as important as publishing new blog posts. It depends on the industry you are in, but it may happen that good content becomes irrelevant only after a few months. Potential customers consider dated content as a sign of unprofessionalism which definitely doesn’t help your business.
The SEO audit is strongly connected to content audit, but they are different. The quality of an SEO audit depends on the performance of the tools used. For instance, you get dozens of useful insights by using the paid versions of Semrush or Ahrefs. However, Google Analytics and Search Console are enough for small and mid-size websites.
Even though you are on a tight budget, an SEO audit reveals important data about your site. Start by verifying your site for indexation issues and penalties. Next, check your traffic stats and compare them against the stats from the previous audit. Don’t limit yourself only to the number of visitors, but look at engagement rate, too. Look at the keywords the site ranks the best and compare them against the keywords you expect to drive the most traffic. Ideally, these should be similar, but in practice, these have many differences. Create a list of the keywords that underperformed and a plan to improve the rankings. Similarly, create a list of the keywords that overperformed – those keywords that brought traffic, but you didn’t optimize the site for them. Are these relevant for your site? Make a plan for those keywords that unexpectedly overperformed and act to get a better ranking.
Over to You
This guide broadly covers what a complete website audit should include. Altogether, an audit depends on the website size and the budget available. This guide provides strategic directions and you should adapt the audit to your particular situation. I hope that this article gives you valuable ideas for your next website audit. I am eager to know how you perform a website audit, so leave a comment with your interesting thoughts.