What’s a website audit?
Sounds kind of official, doesn’t it?
But it’s actually pretty simple.
A website audit is a troubleshooting exercise that’s designed to figure out why a website isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do.
Specifically, your website should be:
- Showing up in the Google listings
- Bringing in new visitors
- Converting visitors into paying customers
- Making sales or generating enquiries.
If your website is not doing these things, a website audit should help to work out why and give you the guidance you need to fix it.
Why get a website audit?
I started offering website audits as a service because I kept talking to business owners whose websites weren’t working. Some had never made a single sale or brought in a single enquiry.
And rather than trying to find out why, they were thinking of scrapping their existing site and either not having one at all or investing in a new one.
Not having a website at all is a bad idea. Because customers expect to be able to find you online these days.
Investing in a new website could also be a bad idea. If you don’t know what your existing problems are, what’s to stop you making the same mistakes a second time? You could end up spending a lot of money and being no better off.
A website audit is a more sensible and cost-effective solution to the problem of a website that isn’t working. It will help to identify where the problems are and give you practical advice to help you fix them.
Why trust me to do your website audit?
You might be thinking ‘But you’re a copywriter. What do you know about websites?’
Well, yes, I am a copywriter, but I specialise in websites. I’ve been using them on a daily basis since 1995, writing them since 2010 and have even built several from scratch.
In that time, I’ve learned a lot about:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- User Experience (UX)
- Good and bad design
- Navigation and structure
- Effective written content.
This helps me to find the overriding problems on most websites.
You can also trust me to be honest and tell you straight where the problems are. If it takes me longer than 30 seconds to work out what you do, I’ll tell you. And if you have a design that could make small children cry, I’ll make sure you know that too!
What if the audit doesn’t find the problem?
If I go through all my checks and don’t find anything wrong, then there could be a deeper issue with your site coding or SEO. If this happens, I’d need to refer you on to a technical specialist.
This won’t mean the audit has been wasted, because it will have narrowed down the search by eliminating a long list of possible problems.
What does the audit include?
When the upfront payment has been received, we’ll start with a consultation.
This will give you a chance to tell me how your website isn’t working, when the problems started and if you’ve already tried anything to fix them.
If you have Analytics data for your website, I can take a look at that. This can be revealing and give hints as to where the problems might be.
Then I’ll move on to looking at the website itself.
Most website auditors focus on one or two things. It might be the technical SEO side or the quality of the copy. My website audit checklist is more comprehensive and focuses on five distinct areas:
- Design, layout and structure
- Functionality, speed and performance
- User journey and experience
- Organic Search Engine Optimisation
- Effectiveness of the written content.
These things can all be crucial to the way your site performs and serves its visitors. So let’s look at each of these areas in a little more detail.
Website audit checklist
1. Design, layout and structure
Research shows that people process visual information much more quickly than text. In a mere fraction of a second they can decide if they like your site or not and whether they want to stay.
If your website has a high bounce rate, it might be because people are arriving then leaving straight away.
So I always start with my first impressions:
- Is the site well designed and inviting?
- Does it look professional?
- Does it look modern?
- Is the company name prominent?
- Is it clear what the company does?
- Do the images help to convey what the site is about?
- Is the design appropriate for the theme of the site?
- Is the site pleasing to look at?
- Do the colours work well together?
- Are the typefaces easy to read?
Layout and structure
- Does the structure make logical sense?
- Are all the elements well laid out with plenty of space between them?
- Is the text laid out well with short paragraphs and relevant headings?
- Is it good for skim-reading?
2. Function, speed and performance
- Does the website work well?
- Is it responsive for mobile devices?
- Is the security certificate up to date?
- Are all the links working and directed to the right pages?
- Do the contact forms work and go to the right email addresses?
- Are there annoying pop-ups or interstitials that spoil the user experience?
- Does on-page media, such as videos, work properly?
- Are the images all showing correctly?
Speed and performance
- Is the website slick and streamlined or slow and clunky?
- Does the site load quickly enough on desktop and mobile?
- Does the on-site media load quickly enough?
- Have the images and other media been optimised properly?
3. User journey and experience
The user journey
- Is there a clear user journey through the site?
- Is there a logical pathway for each kind of customer?
- Are the CTAs placed at the right points?
The user experience
- Does the site follow an accepted format?
- Is the navigation logical and does it make sense?
- How easy is it to find information?
- Does the site inspire confidence and trust?
4. Organic SEO
- How is the site ranking against its competitors?
- Does each page have an optimised title tag?
- Have the on-site SEO keywords been applied correctly?
- Are the SEO keywords used still current and relevant?
- Are the images optimised and labelled correctly?
- Is there any room for improvement?
5. Written content
- Is the content clearly written and easy to read?
- Are there any obvious errors or spelling mistakes?
- Is it easy to understand what the company does?
- Is the content formatted correctly for the web?
- Is there a clear and compelling sales message?
- Is the content persuasive?
- Are the CTAs effective and positioned well?
Is your website working hard enough for you?
Is your website costing you money and contributing nothing to your business?
Do you want to make it profitable, but don’t know where to start?
As a website specialist working outside your business, I can look at your website objectively and impartially. And I won’t just tell you what you want to hear. I’ll tell you what you need to hear to make it better.
My website audit will show you where you’re going wrong and give you the insight you need to help you put it right. All for much less than the cost of a redesign.
If your website isn’t working and you want to kick it up a gear, please get in touch.