What is a Website Audit?
A website audit aims to identify areas of improvement to help your website work better, improve customer experience, and also help to improve search engine results.
Why do I need a website audit?
Most business websites should be considered as self-service tools which potential customers find easy to use, and which allow them to make the decision to either buy or make an enquiry.
If you make it difficult, slow, confusing, overwhelming, or give potential customers any reason to doubt you, they'll leave and you lose.
Reasons why people leave a website early
These may include:
- Slow load time (especially for mobile users)
- Confusing layout.
- Buttons or links do not work.
- Not relevant to the needs of the user.
- Poor website content, and missing images.
- Amateur looking website suggests a lack of professionalism.
- Poor overall experience.
Reasons why Google likes a website
These may include:
- Fast load time.
- Good page stability.
- No broken links, missing pages or images.
- Relevant to the needs of the user.
- Good website content, which is up to date and well written.
- Good overall experience on mobile and desktop versions.
- Good quality
backlinkswhich suggest that other people rate your website highly enough to link to it.
So you can see that by giving potential customers what they want, you’ll stand a better chance of being successful in search engine results, and this is where a website audit can really help.
A poor user experience is not always obvious
Sometimes a poor user experience is not easy to detect on your own website, because you’ll be naturally biased to what your own website looks like, what it does, what it says, where things are, and what YOU think your potential customers want and should do.
But that’s not necessarily what your customers think…
This is confusing.
I need X but all I can find is Y.
The text was too small to read.
I don't understand all of this jargon. Why can't they use plain English?
This popup keeps opening and covering the form I’m trying to complete.
It tells me that the credit card in my profile has expired, but it doesn’t let me update it and I can't complete my purchase.
Every time I use a filter on the list of items it displays, the page freezes and I have to start over.
I added another item and the price has gone up by more that it should have done, but it doesn’t explain why.
This annoying popup keeps asking me to rate my experience, but it’s actually making the experience worse!
I really need to contact this company, but they make it so difficult. I give up!
I’m sure we have all experienced these and many other frustrations when we have visited websites. How many times has this caused you to personally abandon the website?
Technical and visual audit results
Now whilst many of the examples listed above are of a technical nature, some things are far less technical and can be quite easy to fix.
For example, is your copyright date current? It is not unusual to find websites displaying last year's copyright date, but worse still are those websites which display copyright dates at least two or three years old.
What about your website content?
You might have many pages on your website which have not been updated recently, but most visitors to your website are unlikely to notice. What they will most certainly notice is when a page, blog or post actually displays the date that the page was published or last updated.
Is that important?
Well if you visited a website and the last visible updates to that website showed that they were made in 2016, what would you think? It suggests a lack of attention to detail, but are they still business?
Don't give people a reason to leave your website
A slow website, or a website which is confusing or overwhelming to a visitor will encourage them to leave quickly. And Google knows this...
If someone has found your website on Google and clicked the link in the search results, Google will record that click. But it will also monitor how long they stay on your website.
If the visitor stays on your website for a few minutes or more it will deem that to be a successful match for what the visitor was searching for. But if that visitor left after a few seconds, Google will interpret that as a bad match or poor experience.
Google's objective is to serve up the best websites which meet the search criteria for each user, but when someone leaves a website early, it is deemed to be a
bounce and a poor bounce rate is bad for SEO. After all, what value is it to Google or it's users to send people to a website which people tend to leave just seconds after arriving?
Organic search results are free, but can be costly
Let's remind ourselves that
organic search results provide free traffic. Whilst organic search traffic is free, it does come at a cost to you when that traffic is being directed to your competitors.
So keep ahead of the game, get your website audited, pay attention to the feedback, prioritise what needs to be fixed or improved, and then look forward to increased quality traffic and better conversion rates.
There are certainly overlaps with some of the things covered in a website health check but we have both covered and can advise accordingly.