How to Audit Your Website to Enhance Your Online Presence and Achieve Your Business Goals

Your website is a key hub for prospective clients and customers. 

Like other marketing initiatives, a website offers the rare opportunity for people searching for the solutions you provide, to discover you without prior knowledge of your business. 

It can be a platform for making sales or sharing supportive information (like this blog post) depending on your business needs. 

And it allows people considering purchasing your product or service the chance to learn more about you, develop a sense of trust, and browse your offerings without pressure or commitment. 

Your website can shape user perceptions and influence customer decisions. In order to ensure potential clients and customers are swayed in the intended direction though, you need to ensure your website is thoughtfully designed and user friendly. 

A website audit can support you in developing an understanding of where you currently stand, and where you might be able to make improvements to optimize user experience and reach your unique business goals. 

Note: ultimately you want to ensure your entire online presence is optimized, which includes your social media accounts, your Google Business Profile, your email marketing efforts, and any ads you have running, among other digital marketing efforts. I’ve written an entire post about conducting a digital marketing audit, which you can review here. In the post below, I go into more detail about your website specifically as a hub for your customers.  

Whether you’re aiming to increase traffic, improve engagement, or boost conversions, conducting a thorough website audit is a critical step. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you perform your own website audit, review your web data, and optimize your site’s performance.

1. Clearly define your goals and objectives

First, I recommend taking some time to clarify what you’re hoping to achieve with this website audit. 

  • Are you aware of any major pain points with the usability of your website? Have you received feedback from users about things like site speed, navigation issues, and/or accessibility concerns?
  • Have your sales shifted recently (whether in a positive or negative way)? Maybe you’re wondering if this change can be traced back to the website? 
  • Is the information on your website current or does it need a refresh? 
  • Are you low in search rankings and hoping to improve your SEO?

While I recommend going through an entire website audit regularly (even if you don’t have a specific cause for concern), having clear objectives and goals in mind for your website audit can help you focus your efforts and prioritize what matters most to your business. 

2. Look at your website speed 

One of the most frustrating experiences as a website user is slow site speed. In fact, stats show that conversion dropoff is incredibly steep as sites get slower, 

“When pages load in 1 second, the average conversion rate is almost 40%. At a 2-second load time, the conversion rate already drops to 34%. At 3 seconds, the conversion rate begins to level off at 29% and reaches its lowest at a 6-second load time.” – Portent, Site Speed is (Still) Impacting Your Conversion Rate

Think about your own habits as a consumer. Are you likely to wait for a slow site? Probably not! You need to assume your audience is the same way and do everything you can to mitigate slow load times. 

Speed checking websites like pagespeed.web.dev can help you see how your website is currently performing. This site also provides suggestions on how to speed things up. 

In general? 

  • Condense image size as much as possible. Large images can cause slow site speeds, but can often be resolved through image optimization.
  • Limit redirects. This is when a user gets to one webpage only to be forwarded to another. While sometimes unavoidable, they should be removed where possible. 
  • Reduce the number of plugins. While a common component of many websites, since they are managed by third parties, plugins require more resources to run them and can cause slow site speeds among other issues. 
  • Look for 404 errors. A 404 web page means that the page no longer exists. While you can’t avoid URL typos on the user’s end, you can ensure that you have no broken links on your website. This is also why in general you want to avoid changing website links after they’ve been published. 

There are a lot of other ways to speed up your website, but they’re quite technical! If you know site speed is an issue on your website, consider enlisting the support of a web developer like myself

3. Review your analytics to better understand user navigation

How easy is your website to navigate? Take some time to review your website analytics to look at key components like: 

  • How visitors move through your website. Where are they dropping off? Where are they spending most of their time? Is this resulting in conversions or do users seem “stuck”? Look for stats like bounce rate, average session duration, and pages per session to understand user behaviour and make tweaks accordingly. 
  • What path(s) are users taking to get to your sales or booking pages? Is it straight-forward? Once they get to the sales or booking pages, are they converting? Optimizing these paths can improve your conversion rates. 
  • Do you have clear CTAs (calls-to-action) on your pages? Are they visually appealing? Are visitors using them? 
  • What are your most popular pages? Are these helping you achieve your sales goals? 
  • Do you have any broken links or 404 error pages? 

Each of these pieces of information can help you form an understanding of your audience and their journey throughout your website. 

From here you can make changes to better serve the user, and to encourage them to take the action(s) you desire.  

4. Look at your website structure

Your website’s overall structure impacts both user experience and search engine optimization. 

Ensure that your site has a logical hierarchy, making it easy for users to navigate and for search engines to understand your content.

That includes elements like:

  • A clean URL structure
  • Proper use of headers (H1, H2, etc.) to structure content effectively
  • A logo linking back to your homepage 
  • A clear navigation bar, with 4-6 main links clearly directing visitors to different parts of your website 
  • Consistent, recognizable branding so that users know they’re in the right place
  • A curated home page which informs your visitors, letting them know if they’re in the right place or not. There are a lot of considerations to make here which is why I have an entire blog post about what should be on your website homepage

Each of these elements will help direct your users, allowing them to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. If thoughtfully designed, they will also help you reach your intended business goals.

Note: you likely know how to navigate your own website quickly and efficiently because you’re so well-versed in it. But when doing this website audit you need to look at your website with fresh eyes – as if you were seeing it for the first time. 

If this is proving challenging or you’re not sure how your website is being perceived, you have a few options: 

  • Ask for feedback from your audience. What’s working? What isn’t? 
  • Put together a focus group where you ask people to perform certain actions on your website and can monitor how they get from point A to B, or where their hang-ups are. 
  • Get support from a third-party web expert like myself who is used to looking at websites through an impartial lens and can assess your stats and user experience for you. 

5. Review your website accessibility 

Right alongside user navigation is website accessibility. The Internet is meant to be accessible by all, but unfortunately, poorly designed websites exclude many people from using it. 

I have an entire blog post on the importance of web accessibility, along with 8 ways to make your website more accessible.

Here are some of the key recommendations I cover: 

  • Add alternative text for photos
  • Add captions or transcripts for video or audio files
  • Utilize contrast and whitespace appropriately in your web design to improve readability 
  • Choose appropriate fonts and font sizes 
  • Use headings appropriately 
  • Avoid content that flashes, is time-based or auto-plays 

Not only will prioritizing accessibility help expand your reach, it also can improve your searchability in Google! Search engines prefer user-friendly, web accessible websites. 

6. Analyze SEO elements 

Speaking of SEO, search engine optimization is key for getting more traffic and potential leads to your website. 

In addition to the SEO elements we’ve already discussed (site speed, web accessibility, user experience, etc.), there are a few other ways you can ensure your website is discoverable. 

Audit elements like your page titles, meta descriptions, and keywords to ensure that you are targeting appropriate users, and directing them to helpful pages. 

I have a full blog post on how to improve your search engine optimization, which you can browse here

7. Assess your content quality and relevance 

Content marketing is key in the digital marketing world. 

Blog posts, and other content-centered site pages like your about page, services page, and potentially an FAQ page are great ways to boost SEO (by letting search engines know what your business is about), drive traffic, and gain trust with your audience.

In order to ensure this content is effective, consider: 

  • What are your audience’s pain points? How can you clearly articulate how you can support them through those? 
  • What are their hesitations in working with you? How can you mitigate these? 
  • Is your content answering the questions your audience is asking?
  • Is your content valuable? Original? Informative? Good quality? Relevant?
  • Is the content easy to read? 

Regularly auditing your website content can help ensure you’re appealing to the right audience.

8. Ensure your website is secure 

Security is crucial for protecting your website and maintaining your visitors’ trust. Ensure any software or plugins you’re using are up-to-date, and that your website has an SSL certificate. 

An SSL certificate helps ensure that data passing between a server and a browser (for example passwords or purchase details) stay secure. 

Lack of this security measure means your site will likely be flagged by Google Chrome, which will make people a lot less likely to enter your site and make purchases through it. 

Image via Pressable.

9. Look for mobile responsiveness 

Another key element of website user experience is mobile responsiveness. More than ever people are opting to visit websites on their smartphones

So, you need to ensure that your website is just as functional on a mobile device. 

Take a look! Can you see all of the content on the page or do users have to scroll from side-to-side? Is the font size appropriate? How are load times? Are all of the buttons still functional?

If the navigation of your website on mobile is frustrating, chances are you are going to lose those prospects. 

Continuous improvement is key 

Your website should be a constant work-in-progress. From tweaking content and pages based on user feedback or analytics, to regularly uploading new blog posts or other content, your work is never truly finished. 

Regular website audits can help to pinpoint any major pain points with your website as it is, and can provide you with an action plan for moving forward based on your findings and business goals. 

Set a timeline and clear goals for these changes so you can later review the impact those changes had. Did they support your goals? Do additional changes need to be made? Adapt as necessary. 

And hey, if this process reveals that nothing about your current website is working, sometimes the best path forward is creating an entirely new website which better suits your needs. Check out this blog post on how to prepare and plan for the launch of a new website.  

Whether you need support with this website audit or a complete website overhaul, I’d love to support you and your business. Book a free consultation call with me here to learn more.