Website Design Audit

Remarkable websites for remarkable brands.
Andrej Hribernik
I
January 25, 2021

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Website Audit

A website is your shop window to the global marketplace. Take a second to think about that. Would you go into a shop with a window filled with dust-covered mannequins and sun-bleached clothes? Maybe you would, out of morbid curiosity. But you wouldn’t think, this is definitely the shop to buy my new outfit from. A website redesign is the equivalent of putting out a new display in the shop window. A website audit is the way you find out how to make any redesign work better for your business and vitally, its customers. Just like a shop displaying the latest season’s fashion, a website audit needs to be done regularly to ensure your business is seen as fresh and relevant to potential customers. 

However, auditing your own website can be really tricky. It is hard to get an objective view on something you might be using or editing every day. That is where a handy checklist can help you get the ball rolling. A professional website audit conducted by experts will give you an in-depth analysis allowing you to create a targeted digital strategy that delivers you results. 

Table of content:

  • How often should I audit & why?
  • How to do an audit
  • Set a goal
  • Design and User Experience Audit
  • Navigation and Links
  • Lead Generation Audit
  • SEO and Technical Audit
  • Website Maintenance Audit 
  • Social Media Presence Audit
  • Support 

How Often Should I Audit & Why?

analyze your website with ubersuggest

You could do an audit every day to keep up with the pace of technological innovation. But then you wouldn’t have any time to implement the changes. Stretching the shop window metaphor to breaking point, this is the equivalent of constantly having a ‘coming soon’ sign up but never any displays. Therefore, successful and sensible businesses usually stick to a bi-annual audit. There are several organizational reasons for this:

  • Regular audits can be put into the diary, allowing teams to prepare and plan accordingly. 
  • Bi-annual audits allow websites to be refreshed based on the previous six months of data.
  • Bi-annual audits allow you to respond within a tax year, allowing you to adjust methods to meet targets.  

However, more crucially, there are also several customer based reasons why an audit needs to be undertaken every six months:

  • Lead Generation. Growing a business usually means expanding the customer base. You should be analyzing how you are using your website to develop leads through newsletters, subscription purchases, loyalty schemes, and social media. Focussing on lead generation allows you to constantly reinvigorate these platforms. 
  • Content and SEO. You will soon begin to fall down the search engine rankings if you do not maintain your SEO and ensure your website has high-quality click-worthy content. Search engine algorithms are constantly updated, and you will need to ensure you are creating new content to stay relevant. 
  • Consistency. If you have large teams working across your website to list products or services, your brand consistency may drift. An audit will bring your website together creating a better user experience. 
  • Conversions and Profit. If your website looks stunning and makes you smile, then brilliant. You might even be getting thousands of views a day. But it is totally worthless unless you convert those viewers into customers. An audit can help you identify the journey a viewer can take to becoming a customer. This means an audit might start making you big bucks. That will be sure to impress the boss. 
  • Segmentation. As your business develops, your knowledge of your customer base will deepen. You want to plug any learnings into your website to ensure each segment of your customer base finds your website appealing and easy to use. 

Finally, a website audit is your opportunity to examine your website through the eyes of a user. If you can create a flowing and intuitive user experience, you can get your visitors to do what you need them to do in order to achieve the targets you’ve set out. Beautiful user experience is not mind control. But it's the next best thing, making sure your customers click the shopping cart and complete the purchase or order your services. 

How To Do An Audit

Ok, now you are convinced that an audit might be a good idea, it’s time to put that plan into action. The first thing to learn is an audit will take a little bit of time. That’s because a good audit should thoroughly review your website from multiple angles. The more time you put in, the more precise and thorough the recommendations you produce will be. That being said, time is money, so here are some handy pointers to help you kickstart the process. 

Set A Goal

Start by setting a goal

What do you want to achieve with an audit? Profit, of course. But how? 

  • Do you want to get more customers signed up to your mailing list? 
  • Do you want to understand why a product line is not doing as well as your others? 
  • Do you want to figure out why your competitor is always above you in the Google rankings, no matter what you search? 

Figure out your question and then think about how you can get the answer. For instance, your mailing list. Do you have a Call To Action on every page that easily clicks through to a sign-up sheet? If you do, is it visible enough? Are there some pages that get more sign up clicks than others? Why is that? Examining your user’s experience may illuminate answers. 

The question has now become a goal. Create a better path to the mailing list sign up page throughout the website. 

The question about your competitor’s SEO ranking can generate new goals too. The audit will let you know how often you add content to your site and how relevant your content is for your customers. Looking at the back end of the website will ensure pages accurately titled, tagged, and filled with the correct metadata. 

Design and User Experience Audit

Design and user experience audit

After you have established a concrete goal or set of auditing priorities, your first point of analysis should always be user experience. Your design dictates whether a user will hang around or click onto a new tab. Google commissioned research suggests that it takes less than a second for us, humans, to judge a website. We don’t know how long it takes animals, but they don’t have thumbs, so it's harder for them to click away. 

But what this means for you, is you have less than a second to grab someone's attention. You then have another four seconds for them to grasp what the website is about. That means in five seconds you need your above the fold on any landing page to answer:

  • Who you are?
  • What do you offer?
  • And what do they need to do next?

If your website is too complicated or difficult to navigate, you will lose your customers. Think carefully about how your website creates a journey for the user from the homepage to bank details or wherever you need them to go to meet your goal. 

Navigation and Links

If your website has a lot of pages then you need to ensure that the multiple routes a visitor can take are thought through and considered. Examine the following:

  • Does your design have enough Calls To Action (for example Buy Now buttons or Subscribe Here or Watch The Tutorial)
  • Does your design have breadcrumb navigation, and is it used by visitors?
  • Are the links clear to see, and do they stand out from the rest of the content?
  • Does the website navigation work across all devices? 

Once you have analyzed the user experience, you should have a clear set of modifications you can make within the design to create a website that will better achieve your goal(s). 

Phew, that was some hard work right. Time to put your feet up and give yourself a pat on the back (although maybe don’t do both at once, you might lose balance). Once you’ve taken that small congratulatory break it's time to dive right back in.  

Lead Generation Audit

Lead Generation Audit

Ask yourself if your user experience converts visitors into leads. If you don’t have a good conversion rate, then examine your lead generation strategy. 

  • Do your pages have clear Calls To Action
  • Are users bombarded with too many Calls To Action on any page?
  • Does your Call To Action lead users back into the site, or does it create dead-ends?
  • Do you remind users and give them multiple opportunities to complete Calls To Action

The more you can analyze this with objective eyes, the more likely it is you will spot the flaws within the system. If you don’t have useful user data, try to ask many people to use the site to gather feedback. 

Woo Hoo! The lead generation audit is complete. Time to move on to level three of the auditing process. 

SEO and Technical Audit

Performance testing with tools, like GT Metrix

Your SEO Audit looks at the backend of your website to ensure that your website is discoverable. Here are a few things you should look out for during this part of the audit. 

  • Are your tracking tools giving you the information you need? Do you have your entrance and exit pages identified? Do you know what keywords are generating your hits?
  • Is your content all accurately tagged with titles, images, and descriptions all tagged? Is your meta-data tagged too?
  • Are your keywords and their synonyms distributed through your website? 
  • Do you have any broken links? Nothing’s worse than a 404 page. 
  • Do your external links create too many clicks away from your site. Can you bury them deeper into your design or link to your own content? 
  • Do you have trustworthy websites linking to your webpages to drive up your search engine rankings? 

Again, use these questions and apply them to your goal. That will leave you with a set of clear deliverable action points. This time bypass the pat on the back and go get a coffee because there’s more to come. 

Website Maintenance Audit 

Polish your website

Every website will develop a few glitches as they become more complex. Regular maintenance is about ironing out those creases. Here are a few common pitfalls to avoid. 

  • Check if your website loads well on different browsers and different devices
  • Ensure images or video loading doesn't slow down the user experience. 
  • Is your website caching data? (This one is super useful for your next audit - that data is pure gold user experience insight)
  • Check your optimization with Google PageSpeed (a handy little tool that gives you implementable recommendations)

Ok. Breathe. Almost there. 

Social Media Presence Audit

Check for consistency

Let’s just launch straight in here with the checklist:

  • Is your company well represented on social media?
  • Do your accounts signpost users back to your website?
  • Is social media embedded into your website with easy links to generate new likes and followers?
  • Do you engage with users across your platforms, or is your content stagnant?

Social media is about engagement. If you are just a foghorn blaring out your website details every few hours people will stop listening. Think about campaigns on social media that can help you generate web content and use your web content to provoke discussion and conversation on social media. When you have this working well, you 


Phew. That was a lot, right? No wonder so many people get in professional experts who can guide you through the process and also offer you in-depth objective insights. Now, remember, if any of your audits changes user experience, you should always road test it before launching it to make sure it does what you need it to do. 

Support 

Freelancers and agencies can help you conduct an audit by utilizing their expertise in the field. They also offer you a fresh pair of eyes who can give you honest criticism that will help you mold your user experience. The insights they offer are invaluable if you want to come out of an audit with clear recommendations that will help you achieve your goals.


Finally, one top tip is to always conclude a piece with a call to action. So, let’s leave you with this thought: If you want to get serious about your online business, download the website audit checklist and order an expert impartial website audit today!



FREE WEB DESIGN AUDIT

Get your website professionally audited with an actionable checklist to improve your brand, UX design, UI design and performance.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
WRITTEN BY
Andrej Hribernik
A freelance web designer and developer, working with big and small companies who want to build remarkable web presence with a remarkable brand. You can find him at www.andrejthefreelancer.com.

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FREE WEB DESIGN AUDIT

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