Best Practices for Web Audits for 2021

Your website isn’t static – you need to change it periodically to make sure it’s up to date. In addition, search engine algorithms change frequently, and what worked to draw in customers when you first designed your site might not work now. 

That’s why website audits are so important. This post will discuss what web audits are, why they matter, and some best practices for web audits.

What Is a Web Audit? 

A web audit examines the performance of each page of your website before you optimise content for search engine discoverability or before you redesign your website. 

Here’s what you should be looking at during a web audit: 

  • How easy is it to navigate your site? 
  • Is it easy for a visitor to find information (such as what your business does, how to reach you, your hours, etc.)?
  • Are you using the right keywords to attract visitors to your site?
  • Does your website convince visitors to become leads, or more importantly, purchase your product or service?
  • Is your website too cluttered – are there too many ads, too many calls-to-action, or too many links?
  • Are there not enough internal links (meaning that you haven’t linked to pages on your website)?
  • What’s the checkout experience like – is it simple and intuitive, or complicated and frustrating?
  • How quickly does your website load?
  • Does your website crash frequently?
  • How well does your website work on mobile devices – does it look and feel the same as it would on a larger screen?
  • Do error messages constantly pop up?
  • How long are your URLs? If they’re too long, that hurts your search engine results.
  • Does your website contain too much Flash or JavaScript? If it does, search engines will have trouble reading and accessing it.
  • Have you defined how a web page indexes your site by adding tags and sitemaps?
  • Have you set your preferred (canonical) URL?

Why Are Web Audits Important for Your Business?

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Today, your website is your first impression for a large percentage of your potential customers, so you want it to be a good one. That’s why web audits matter so much.

A web audit reveals problems you might not have known you had, or can pinpoint the cause of issues. For example, you might have low website traffic, yet you’re not sure why. A web audit could show that your site isn’t optimised for mobile traffic, so you’re not coming up in the first search results a user sees when searching on mobile.

Web Audit Best Practices

To ensure a successful web audit that improves your website design, here are some web audit best practices to follow:

  • Automate the web audit process with a site audit tool
  • Set clear metrics for improvement
  • Create a checklist of all website issues, and set timelines as to when you’ll tackle them
  • Make improving user experience one of your goals.

Automate the Web Audit Process with a Site Audit Tool

Even if you have a site with only a few pages, a manual web audit is still a time-consuming task. Moreover, there’s a good chance that you might miss something.

A site audit tool automates the web audit process. These tools (some of which are free) are comprehensive, accurate, and easy to use. You don’t have to worry that you missed something during the audit – the tool will identify any issues affecting site performance.

Set Clear Metrics for Improvement

What will improvement look like if you fix the problems with your website – a 15% increase in visitors? Will it look like a 10% increase in the amount of time people spend on a page, or will it be an increase in conversions? 

To understand the effect of your improvements, set metrics before you launch any website design projects. Moreover, make sure those metrics are realistic; it might not be practical to expect an 80% increase in traffic if you revamp your website SEO. Research what metrics make the most sense, then think about what tools to put in place to measure success.

Create a Checklist of All Website Issues, and Set Timelines to Tackle Each One 

The web audit will likely identify at least one issue to work on so that you boost your site’s performance and traffic. Even if you have a few areas for improvement, it might seem overwhelming – what do you tackle first?

Creating a checklist of all website issues helps you catalogue what needs to be fixed. Setting timelines for fixing each issue ensures that:

  1. The issue will be taken care of
  2. There’s a definitive endpoint to the project, so it won’t drag on endlessly

When it comes to setting a timeline for fixing each problem, make sure that the timelines are realistic. If you know you don’t have the internal resources to fix the problem yourself, turn to a trusted third party.

Make Improving User Experience One of Your Goals

With web audits, it’s easy to focus on technical issues affecting your site’s performance or website SEO that drives users to your site. However, don’t lose sight of user experience

‘User experience’ refers to the experience a visitor has on your site. Everything about your site – from the website design to your content – influences a user’s experience. You might have a beautifully designed site, yet if the content doesn’t help visitors, they have a poor experience and don’t spend very long on your site. 

‘Everything about your site influences the user experience.’

Take the time to understand what your user experience looks like – is the design easy to navigate? Do you offer helpful content? Improving the user experience boosts the time visitors spend on your site, which increases the chances of conversion. 

Improve Your Website Design with Enlighten Designs

For over two decades, Enlighten Designs has delivered amazing digital experiences to our clients, including strong website design. Our Wed Health Check helps you discover how to improve your website, so it attracts more visitors, offers a better user experience, and boosts conversions. To learn more, check out our Web Health Check Package.

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