While your website may have been in tip-top shape when it was first launched, over time things change and your content will become dated. Also, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and site performance can slip through the cracks as search engines update their algorithms and users come to expect faster sites.
Performing regular website audits can help you stay ahead of the curve. Just as regular checkups at the doctor’s office keep people healthy, examining the state of your site can show you navigation pain points, and inaccurate content. This can also highlight how you can optimize your site for better visibility and speed.
In this article, we’ll explain what a website audit is and why conducting one regularly is important. Then we’ll explain how to audit four key areas of your website to ensure it’s at its best. Let’s jump in!
Why auditing your website is crucial for success
In short, a website audit is a full analysis of your site, usually conducted for marketing purposes. When conducting an audit, it’s important to take stock of your site’s state from top to bottom – including the front and back ends – to make your site more successful.
Regularly scheduled site audits have significant benefits to offer you. Improvements to your SEO can capture new users, and features such as streamlined navigation and high site speed can keep users engaged. What’s more, accurate, up-to-date content can help establish you as an authority in your niche.
Quarterly website audits should help you stay on top of things, and ensures the updates you make won’t be too overwhelming. While waiting an entire year could lead to a lengthy audit, assessing your site weekly would likely be overkill.
How to audit your website (4 key areas to consider)
Analyzing your entire site is an intimidating process, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, you can break your site down into four main areas of focus. ManageWPs myriad tools can help you quickly assess your site, so you can get started on making improvements.
1. Make sure your user experience is smooth and simple
User Experience (UX) is all about making your site enjoyable and easy to use. High quality UX encourages users to take action, such as subscribing to your email list or making a purchase. This improves the likelihood of users returning to your site and becoming loyal to your brand.
Unfortunately, it’s easy for UX to become dated. As web design and development evolve and new tools and techniques become available, users’ expectations change. For example, over the past several years mobile usage has grown. If your site is still running an unresponsive theme, your mobile UX will suffer.
One way to assess your UX is with Google Analytics. Data on how users interact with your site including pageviews, bounce rates, how much time users spend on certain pages, frequent behaviors, and behavior flows can show you areas where you can improve.
You might make your most popular pages more easily accessible, for example, or streamline navigation where users seem to get stuck. Clearly designated Call To Action (CTA) buttons can help users quickly make purchases or subscribe. At ManageWP, we provide easy integration with Google Analytics for your ManageWP dashboard.
2. Update and optimize your content to stay relevant
Relevant content is key to bringing in returning users. If your information is outdated users are less likely to see your site as reliable and authoritative. It could even cause confusion regarding your brand. What’s more, relevant content is excellent material for natural link building, which will improve your backlink profile and SEO.
Like user experience, it’s easy for your content to become dated. New technology released since you posted your article can make your site seem behind the times. Even so, even basic content such as your contact information can become outdated. Failing to update a change of address or phone number could prevent users from reaching you.
Changes in your brand identity could also cause problems for your site. For example, you might redo your logo and leave the old design on some of your blog posts or site pages. Inconsistency across your brand makes your site seem less trustworthy, so making sure all your stylistic considerations are carried out across your site is vital.
Running a blog is an excellent way to include more long-form content on your site. It also gives you a chance to show your authority on certain related topics, and increases your opportunities for backlinks. Updating old blog posts is a quick way to make sure you’re staying relevant, and to improve your SEO.
3. Ensure your SEO is up to the current standards
SEO is crucial to improving your site’s visibility and increasing your organic traffic. However, search engines are constantly striving to improve their algorithms’ accuracy. While this is good for searchers, it can cause difficulties for site owners, as they have to keep up with the changes.
It’s possible for updates to the algorithms to impact your rankings without any changes to your site. To use a dramatic example, in 2012 Google introduced its Penguin Algorithm. It made previously good SEO practices – including linkbuilding schemes and keyword stuffing – result in a penalty.
An easy way to monitor your SEO ranking is by using our SEO Ranking feature. ManageWP customers can see all their key metrics in one place to quickly assess how their sites are doing. We also include a timeline to show how your SEO has improved or declined over time.
SEO involves a wide range of factors. When auditing your site, make sure to take them all into consideration. You can check on-page factors, including your URLs, titles, keywords, and meta descriptions, as well as off-page factors, such as your backlink profile and social media presence.
4. Check and improve your site’s performance
Site performance plays a role in both user experience and a good SEO ranking. However, we feel it’s significant enough to consider it a separate area when running your website audit. With so much depending on it, it’s important to take your site performance seriously.
Many aspects of maintaining a site over time can lower its performance. Adding additional plugins to improve functionality, and more media files to produce high quality content for users, are two most site owners can probably relate to. While they have benefits for you and your users, they also have a negative impact on your site’s speed.
However. this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to remove all of your plugins and images. Media file compression, caching, and using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can all speed your site up. While it’s always wise to delete any plugins you aren’t using, in some cases you could also upgrade your server to help handle more traffic or files.
Generally, users expect a page load time of under three seconds, and over 99% uptime. Checking your performance as a ManageWP customer is simple with our Uptime Monitor and Performance Check features. You can automate these tools to send your scores on a regular basis, so you don’t even have to initiate the tests.
A full website audit can be an extensive process. Nevertheless, regular audits are crucial to maintaining a healthy site using prime UX, content, and SEO. Plus, ManageWP customers have access to our features, which can help make the process smoother for you.
In this article, we’ve talked about what website audits are and why they’re so important for your site. We also shared four key areas to consider when auditing your website:
- Make sure your user experience is smooth and simple.
- Update and optimize your content to stay relevant.
- Ensure your SEO is up to the current standards.
- Check and improve your site’s performance.
Do you have any questions about website audits? Let us know in the comments section below!
Featured Image Credit: Pexels
Performing regular website audits can help you keep one step ahead. Just as regular checkups at the doctor’s office keep people healthy, examining your site can show areas for improvement, such as navigation and inaccurate content, as well as show how you can optimize your site for better visibility and speed.
In this article, we’ll explain what a website audit is and why conducting one regularly is important. Then we’ll explain how to audit four key areas of your website to ensure it’s at its best!