Talking about a website audit, it’s important to consider that there are approximately 400 million active websites on the World Wide Web today. Considering that almost 60% of the global population uses the internet if you’re a business looking to make it, it’s probably a good idea to create a website. But creating a website isn’t enough, the internet is saturated with websites; millions belong to the same field, selling the same products, promoting the same services.
In this highly saturated digital space, brands need to stand out. Whether you run an organization or a solopreneur, you need a website that sets you apart from millions of other people and companies offering the same thing. Before you can start working on making your website stand out, it’s important to have the basics covered.
You need to have a ‘good’ website that functions properly before anything else. So, what makes a good website? Here are a few key characteristics of websites that perform well.
What We Mean by ‘Good’ Website
When we say a ‘good’ website, we don’t mean it in terms of content. While exceptional content is central to users liking your website, that’s not all that goes into it.
Websites. Source: Pexels
Let us elaborate with an example, the content of your website is like the embellishments you put on a building; the coats of paint, fancy Victorian windows, revolving doors, etc. While this is vital from an aesthetic point of view, your building needs to have a solid foundation; the web design of your building is the bricks, metal frames, and cement that constitute your building.
People need to step into the building and explore it without the ceiling collapsing or the floor being crooked. Similarly, users need to be able to explore the content of your website without encountering technical glitches and bugs.
So let’s get into what you need to do to make sure your users are able to navigate your website to its fullest potential.
You’ve probably heard this rather scary statistic: 53% of mobile users typically click off a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load! Needless to say, speed is essential to how well your website performs with users.
A high bounce rate is most often caused by low website speed. Although WordPress websites tend to run pretty fast, it’s still a bit tricky to get optimal speed for every region users will access your site from.
You need to ensure that your website is speed-optimized for every region possible, so whether your target audience is in your country or on the other side of the globe, your website opens and runs quickly!
Another top priority for website development is web security. That green lock icon next to your URL is important! It shows users that your website is secure and thus, their information is secure with it. Search engines also prefer secure websites when ranking them on search engine results pages.
Your website needs to be secure from potential hackers, which means having an SSL certificate. An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. SSL forms an encryption barrier between the link server and the host on a website, protecting data. This makes online transactions on your website secure, protecting user data from hackers and malware software.
3. Accessibility and Responsive Design
Accessibility shouldn’t be overlooked when creating a website you intend to be widely used. A good website has capabilities that allow differently-abled users to access it and use its features as fully as possible.
Additionally, your website needs to have a responsive, ‘mobile-friendly design. That means your website looks just as good on a mobile as it does on a desktop, with no compromise on its features or speed. Search engines like Google rank mobile-friendly websites higher than non-mobile-friendly websites.
So not only do you risk losing traffic through disappointed users, but you also risk losing traffic by simply losing visibility on SERPs.
Creating a speed-optimized, secure, accessible, and responsive website is better left to the professionals. We recommend hiring a web design agency or web design services to do the job right in designing your website.
Alright, now that we’ve discussed the key characteristics that qualify a website as ‘good’, let’s explore how you can achieve this and most importantly, maintain it.
Maintaining a Website
Website maintenance is not an easy task, and it’s not something you want to scrimp on. Website requires regular checkups, treating your website like an expensive car or a child, whatever you’re willing to pay more attention to.
We emphasize being regular because if your website is down or your users are encountering bugs, it doesn’t bode well for your brand image or web traffic. Users might click off and decide against coming back another time. First impressions are often the last impressions with internet users; we’re not exactly known for our attention spans!
Long story short, website maintenance is crucial to retaining a steady flow of web traffic and lead generation online. Brands often tend to overlook website maintenance after the initial completion. This is partly because business owners simply don’t know what to look for and their webmasters’ focus is shifted to driving leads and conversions instead.
The good news is that you don’t have to do it yourself, like most things these days, you can hire someone to do it for you.
What is a Website Audit?
A website audit is a thorough analysis of your website in terms of visibility as well as ease of navigation. There are three main types of website audits that are conducted, typically in tandem with one another. Here’s a quick breakdown!
1. Technical Audit
The technical audit of your website assesses the technical aspects of your website, this pertains to what we discussed earlier; speed, security, etc.
Technical audits also look for anything your site may be missing that keeps it from fulfilling search engine requirements. Search engines only crawl websites that meet their requirements, and only websites that get crawled get ranked.
For example, if your site doesn’t have an XML sitemap, a search engine is unlikely to waste its crawl budget on your website. A technical audit combs through the technical qualities of your website and devises ways for you to fix them.
2. SEO Audit
Similar to a technical audit, an SEO audit analyses how SEO-optimized your site is. This includes backlinking, metadata, if internal or external links are broken, and if the keywords you’re using are effective.
There’s no trick to cracking SEO, even if you’re doing everything right, it will take time for your site to get ranked as high as you want it to. The good thing about a website audit is it lets you know what boxes to check off so you can get started on the right path to a high search engine ranking. Start from on-site SEO, and then go to off-site SEO and backlinks analysis.
3. Content Audit
Content audits assess the content of your website as well as the website design complementing it. It analyses the copy of your site in terms of efficacy, tone, appropriate messaging, consistency, and whether or not your copy is actionable.
Content audits assess analytics such as heat mapping to see which content is performing well, and why. They are typically followed by suggestions on how to create just the right copy for your site that helps your audience through the sales funnel.
Now that we’ve talked about the types of website audits, let’s talk about how they can help you!
How Website Audit Companies Help
Website audits are important for you and your webmasters to see the possible flaws in their work. It’s vital to choose an objective commentator like an agency instead of an in-house team member.
This is because we often tend to see our own products through rose-colored glasses, and it can be hard to find faults in them. This is also because due to lack of experience, we don’t quite know what we need to look for.
You need the eye of a professional or a group of professionals to analyze your website from all possible angles to optimize it to its fullest potential. A website audit also helps you compare your site to your competitors, seeing what they may be doing right and what you may be doing wrong.
A website audit agency after auditing your website can let you know about the following risks that pose a threat to your website.
Why You Need a Website Audit
- Your website isn’t SEO optimized
- It is running slow
- It crashed or has broken links
- Has security threats
- May be penalized by a search engine
Your website is always a work in progress. Therefore, it needs to be treated like one. It’s an excellent idea to go back in for routine checkups every now and then. And this is best handled by professionals.
Your website ranking, performance, and functioning are instrumental in maintaining a favorable online presence for your brand. Have your website audited every few months to stay up to date and on top of things.