There's a lot that goes into establishing an online presence for your brand: social media, sales funnels, content marketing, link building, and more. But when you really drill down to the most important elements of your digital presence, it's your website that matters most. Your website is your home base and it needs to be cared for in manner that's indicative of its value.
With that being said, when was the last time you conducted a website audit?
What is a Website Audit?
A website audit is exactly what it sounds like: a critical review of your website so that you know what's working, what isn't, and where you need to improve. Generally speaking, a website audit targets two particular areas:
SEO. The thing about SEO is that you typically don't know if something is broken or inefficient until you check. It's such a technical aspect of your website that an audit is often necessary in order to see what's happening beneath the surface.
Content. A website audit will analyze your content in terms of SEO, backlinks, and engagement. Think of it as a critical look at the overall effectiveness of the content you're publishing and sharing.
"An audit will tell you where you need to focus your future efforts in terms of both an SEO and content marketing perspective," marketer Eric Siu explains. "And it can even give you insight into potential changes that will improve your lead generation, sales, and marketing processes."
However, a website audit can be just as practical as it is functional. In addition to making sure you have the nuts and bolts of SEO and content properly structured, you also need to think about web design and aesthetic appeal.
4 Tips for a Successful Website Audit
"You need a 360-degree analysis to identify your website's shortcomings so that you can correct them and put your site back on a more solid foundation. An audit can help identify glitches or deficiencies, both on and off page, that may be holding your website back from ranking for your targeted keywords," Higher Visibility points out.
Here are some tips for getting started:
Set Your Goals
The first step is to start with a set of goals. You need goals in order to understand where you're coming up short, where you're excelling, and where there are additional opportunities for growth.
Your goals will determine the purpose of your website. Are you trying to sell products directly to customers? Increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to a brick and mortar store? For best results, filter your goals through this lens.
The next step is to actually conduct the audit by gathering intelligence and data about how your website is performing. Some possible sources include website analytics and on-page data, SEO rankings, blog engagement, customer surveys and feedback, etc.
Research and Brainstorm Now that you have some raw data and information, you need to gather your team together to figure out how you can improve in an effort to meet your goals. It's best to have people from all departments involved in this - including content writers, web designers, and customer service.
Apply and Monitor What good is a website audit without some action-based follow-through?
Once you develop some possible solutions that you believe could improve your website, it's time to implement them. And once you implement them, you need to monitor the results. You may find that your strategies are effective, but it's also possible that you misinterpreted some your intelligence and need to revert back to a previous strategy or try something else. You won't know unless you're watching and listening.
Commit to Continual Optimization
If you want your website to continue serving you well for the future, you must commit to continual optimization. This doesn't mean you have to invest in a website audit every few months. In fact, you might only conduct one every couple of years. But in between these audits, you need to be constantly reviewing your analytics, gathering customer feedback, and using your intuition to identify flaws and opportunities.
In today's age of rapid evolution, continual optimization is the antidote to obsolesce. Stay tuned in and don't be afraid of change.
Larry Alton is a multi-talented professional with a diverse background in writing, sales, marketing, and account management. He has a wealth of knowledge in digital marketing and a passion for e-commerce, SEO, social media, conversion rate optimization, and creative digital design. In addition to his expertise in digital marketing, Larry also actively invests in real estate and is passionate about this field. His writing has been featured in prominent publications such as Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, and TechCrunch, as well as Business.com and TheNextWeb.com. With a proven track record in both the digital marketing and writing industries, Larry is a valuable asset to any organization.