If your website is your online storefront or virtual business card, shouldn’t you take advantage of your digital image by keeping it updated? There are many things you can do to keep your customers coming back, and to grow your business virtually.
By periodically performing a website audit or review, you can work on continually improving the content and appearance of your website, and learn about the needs and preferences of your customers.
What is a website audit?
A website audit is simply a process to review your website along with the behavior of the visitors to your website. Once that is completed, you can discover areas of the website which might need improving.
Regular review of your website, along with visitor behavior, can also help keep you on top of the continually changing needs, interests, and preferences of your customers.
Besides looking at the content and structure of your website, it’s critical to regularly review your website’s visitor behavior. A common tool to measure this behavior is Google Analytics, a widely used, free website visitor measurement system available from Google.
Five common elements of website audits
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
SEO is the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine is more likely to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword. When it comes to SEO, there’s you, the search engine, and the searcher.
SEO is an evolving art and science relying on search data for keywords. A keyword is the word(s) that that are typed into a search engine to search for information and content. By matching the content on your website or a particular web page with the words a user is typing into a search engine, you can improve the chances that your website will appear in the search results.
In a website audit, the search engine readiness (or optimization) of a website is examined to see how well it’s set up to generate website visitors from search engines. There are a number of elements to this examination, which include reviewing use of web page address (URL), certain HTML code elements, and text (on a page, image, link, and etc.).
In addition to the coding and content on a page, an audit examines the number of links from another website back to your website (referred to as backlinks). These backlinks are important since they signal to a search engine that someone else thinks your content is useful and informative enough to link to it.
Usability is how well a website will perform across different types of devices. For example, if your website doesn’t work well on a mobile device, it won’t get a great grade for usability. And since search engines want to send users to websites that work well and have content that matches what they’re searching, a poorly performing mobile website won’t be included in the results.
Website performance in terms of page load speed, is another element of a website audit. Website performance is important to ensure a good user experience and reduce bounce rates, which is when people leave your website right after landing on it.
4. Social media activity and presence:
Social media activity is an important element of a website audit. More social media activity helps search engines evaluate how popular, active or important you company (and its website) may be. The more social activity you can generate, the higher your search results will be.
5. Website security:
Website security is an important element in a website audit. The better your website security, the better you are at protecting your visitor’s and customer’s information. This reflects well on your company and therefore will result in a higher search engine ranking.
How to check website traffic
Another important element of a website audit is website visitor traffic review. Google Analytics provides invaluable information and can yield some powerful insights into customer behavior and preferences.
For example, in the Google Analytics Behavior Report, you can see important historical data for any time period going back to when you first installed Google Analytics code on your website:
- Pageviews over time (chart)
- Total pageviews
- Unique pageviews
- Average time on page
- Bounce rate
- Percent (%) exit
This report also includes a list of your web pages ranked from highest visitor traffic. This is great data for seeing which pages are most important or interesting to your website visitors.
With this data in hand, you can make decisions on changing content, adding new content or redesigning pages. You can create new content related to what’s popular on your website. You can fix web pages that have high bounce rates or high exit rates to help keep visitors on your website longer.
Website audits are a worthwhile business investment
Performing website audits and reviewing website visitor data in Google Analytics is truly a worthwhile investment in your business. These are activities and skills that will develop with practice and will pay off in the long run.
There are few shortcuts to success, but there is often a clear path to help you make progress. In digital marketing, using the combination of website audits and data from Google Analytics, you can see the path to success in front of you. This path includes learning more about your customers, meeting their needs better than your competition and enjoying more repeat customers and increasing sales.