Just like businesses, websites require periodic reviews and updates. Whether it’s refreshing the aesthetic design or evaluating indexing and security, conducting a website audit is a crucial yet challenging process.
Websites are intricate digital entities, each with its unique characteristics, issues, and complexities. Performing a website audit is essential to optimizing your online presence, providing valuable data to review, maintain, and rectify your website comprehensively.
In this article, we delve into the process of understanding how to conduct a website audit, and the tools used.
Additionally, we present the essential items in a website audit checklist to ensure your website functions at its best. So, let’s dive in and learn how to perform an effective website audit.
What Is A Website Audit?
A comprehensive website audit entails a thorough examination of various factors that impact a site’s visibility in search engines. These factors encompass technical, user experience, and SEO aspects. By adopting this systematic approach, a website audit provides a holistic understanding of the site’s performance, overall traffic, and visibility.
The primary objective of a website audit is to gain insights into the overall performance of the site and uncover any underlying issues that require attention.
The process involves analyzing different types of variables, rather than focusing solely on a single aspect.
What is the Purpose of a Website Audit?
A website audit serves as a planned health checkup for your website. It is a comprehensive analysis of various factors that impact your site’s search engine visibility and user experience.
Regularly conducting a website audit allows you to identify and address issues that may be hindering your website’s performance and preventing it from achieving top rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) like Google.
By optimizing your website based on audit findings, you can enhance user engagement and ultimately drive more business.
To ensure a thorough and systematic examination, an audit checklist is invaluable. This checklist provides structure to the audit process and ensures that no critical areas are overlooked, enabling you to discover more opportunities to connect with your site visitors effectively.
What are the Key Components of a Website Audit Checklist?
While each website may have unique priorities based on its purpose and target audience, a well-rounded website audit checklist should include the following components:
Evaluate the technical aspects of your website, such as website speed, crawlability, mobile-friendliness, URL structure, and proper indexing by search engines.
Analyze individual web pages to ensure they are optimized for relevant keywords, meta tags, headings, and content quality.
Assess external factors that impact your website’s authority and visibility, such as backlinks and brand mentions from other websites.
Review your website’s design, layout, navigation, and overall usability to enhance the user experience.
Analyze the performance of your website’s conversion paths, forms, and calls to action to improve conversion rates and achieve your digital marketing goals.
While this list provides a strong foundation, tailoring your website audit checklist to your specific goals and target audience will ensure a more customized and effective audit process.
What are the Different Types of Website Audits?
General SEO Audit
This type of audit assesses the overall level of search engine optimization on your website.
Content SEO Audit
The focus of this audit is on evaluating the quality of your website’s content and identifying any gaps that need to be addressed.
Technical SEO Audit
This audit isolates and examines backend and technological issues that may be affecting the performance of your website.
The performance audit delves into aspects like page speed, load times, and Core Web Vitals to ensure optimal website performance.
This audit deals with the user experience and functionality of your site, including navigation and design elements. It aims to enhance user satisfaction and usability.
How to Perform a Website Audit?
The process of conducting a website audit can be tailored to your preferences, but most audits typically involve a combination of manual examination and the use of specialized tools and resources. Here is the standard approach that many people follow when performing a website audit:
Start with a Manual Website Audit
Begin by manually analyzing your website’s performance and elements. While this approach may require more time and effort, using a website audit checklist along with the right auditing tools can streamline the process and yield accurate results.
Utilize Website Audit Tools
Website auditing tools are valuable resources that can comprehensively assess every element of your site and provide detailed audit reports.
Some tools are available for free but may lack certain checks and options needed to cover all essential checklist items. On the other hand, paid tools offer more in-depth insights and information to enhance your audit process.
What are the Top Tools for Website Audit?
Here is a compilation of tools discussed in our guide that can help you assess various aspects of your website:
Utilize Google Analytics to gain insights into your website’s performance, including:
- Traffic analysis from different devices and channels.
- Identification of pages driving the most traffic.
- Data on page sessions, events, and time spent on your site.
Leverage Google Search Console for the following purposes:
- Understanding the crawling and indexability status of your pages.
- Analyzing pages that receive the most backlinks.
- Discovering opportunities to improve search engine rankings.
Use this tool to determine if your website is optimized for mobile devices.
PageSpeed Insights provides a comprehensive overview of your site’s performance. With this tool, you can:
- Assess your site’s speed on mobile and desktop devices.
- Identify opportunities to enhance its speed.
Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool that offers services such as keyword exploration, site audit, and site exploration. You can use Ahrefs to conduct site audits by creating projects for specific pages or the entire site.
The Hubspot Website Grader tool provides a snapshot of your site’s performance, SEO optimization, mobile-friendliness, and security. By inputting your URL into the tool, you can receive scores for each category and discover opportunities for improvement, similar to PageSpeed Insights.
Grammarly is a valuable tool for proofreading and editing your content. The premium version also offers plagiarism reports.
Use the Hemingway Editor to assess the readability of your content. Aim for a 7th-grade level, as it is the most preferred and understandable level for readers.
What is the Website Audit Checklist?
A website audit is not a standardized, one-time process. Each website is unique and requires a tailored approach. Some websites are complex with numerous pages, integrations, features, and security measures, while others are basic with only a few pages and limited functionality.
In this website audit checklist, we have identified crucial site elements categorized into the core parts of your website. Additionally, we have listed popular free and paid website audit tools that you can use to conduct your website audit.
Please note that this checklist is not exhaustive, and some items may not apply to your specific website. However, it serves as a comprehensive starting point for conducting a thorough website audit.
General Website Performance
Review your website to identify any obvious errors and problems that may have been overlooked or missed previously.
Ensure that Google Analytics is set up and functioning properly to monitor basic site metrics. Check the speed at which your page content loads and assess whether it meets Google’s Web Vitals criteria. Analyze your website’s traffic, its sources, and trends over time.
Begin with Google Analytics
Google Analytics provides valuable website performance data, making it an ideal starting point for your audit.
Explore the reports to understand your organic search traffic trends over time. Assess if there are any fluctuations or patterns in your organic search, and compare it with other traffic sources.
Utilize the site content reports to identify top-performing pages and topics that engage your audience. Additionally, pinpoint landing pages that could benefit from optimization.
Technical SEO Audit
The technical SEO audit focuses on the technical aspects of your website, involving the expertise of a developer to address the technicalities. Here are some key areas to examine:
- Ensure HTTPS usage in URLs
Verify that all URLs on your website utilize the HTTPS protocol, indicating a secure site where data transfer is encrypted.
If your site lacks HTTPS, it means you do not have an SSL certificate, making your site vulnerable to security breaches and data theft.
- Check for broken links or pages
Identify and fix broken links or pages on your website. These broken links can make your site appear outdated, neglected, and less trustworthy.
Address internal links or backlinks pointing to non-existent pages, which may frustrate visitors. Resolving these issues is crucial for maintaining optimal website performance.
Ensure Google Indexes Only One Website Version
To avoid confusion for search engine crawlers, make sure that Google indexes only one version of your website.
Commonly, multiple versions, like HTTP and HTTPS, or with and without “www,” are indexed.
Furthermore, prioritize the use of HTTPS, which signals security and trust, and is favored by Google’s ranking algorithm.
Remove or Improve Low-Quality Content
Review indexed URLs by searching “site: yourdomain.com” in Google. Remove low-quality or duplicate content to enhance your overall search ranking.
Consider eliminating archived or outdated content, pages with minimal content, category or tag pages, and broken links to enhance the user experience. Use tools like Google Search Console to identify indexing issues.
Assess and Enhance Website Speed
Optimize loading times to improve the user experience and search engine rankings. Use Google PageSpeed Insights to test your page speed and follow the tool’s recommendations for optimization.
Review the Website Structure and Navigation
Ensure your website has a clear and intuitive structure for easy user navigation. Make important pages easily accessible from the main navigation. Keep your website’s design simple, clean, and aligned with usability guidelines. Optimize conversion paths for user ease.
Mobile-friendliness is a crucial aspect to consider for your website’s performance, especially considering that in the fourth quarter of 2021, mobile devices accounted for 54.4 percent of global website traffic.
This statistic highlights that nearly half of all web traffic comes from mobile users. If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, you could be missing out on significant revenue opportunities.
Check that your website is responsive and mobile-friendly using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This ensures a seamless user experience on various devices.
Evaluate Website Content
Assess your website’s content based on your goals. Categorize content types and collect performance metrics for analysis. Identify areas for improvement, including repurposing content, and enhancing your content strategy.
Enhance On-Page SEO
Balance search engine optimization with providing valuable content for users. Review backend elements like meta descriptions, image alt text, page titles, keywords, and backlinks.
Create landing pages and blog posts that address your target audience’s queries with high-quality and engaging content. Implement effective keyword strategies and focus on local SEO, if applicable.
Analyze Competitor Websites
Research competitor’s performance to identify areas for improvement and content gaps. Use keyword research tools to understand your competitors’ rankings and target relevant keywords for your website.
To assess your website’s competitiveness, conduct a thorough competitor analysis that evaluates conversion rates, lead generation, and missed opportunities.
Test and optimize your calls-to-action (CTAs) to ensure their effectiveness and proper placement.
Review and enhance your landing pages to align with your messaging and create engaging experiences for visitors. Additionally, ensure that your forms are clear, uncluttered, and accurately deliver the collected information.
How Much Does A Website Audit Cost?
The price of a website audit can fluctuate based on its depth and the tools utilized for the evaluation. On average, a website audit may range from several hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, but the cost can vary significantly.
Even if you opt to conduct the audit yourself, there might be a requirement for access to paid applications or tools to ensure a thorough examination. Before commencing an audit or engaging a professional to conduct it on your behalf, consider your specific priorities for assessment and establish a suitable budget.
Websites are intricate entities with unique characteristics, making a comprehensive audit essential to uncovering underlying issues and improving performance.
The primary purpose of a website audit is to gain valuable insights into the site’s overall performance and identify areas that require attention.
By adopting a systematic approach that covers various factors such as technical SEO, user experience, and conversion rates, website owners can make informed decisions to enhance their online presence.
When crafting a website audit checklist, it is crucial to tailor it to the specific goals and target audience of the website. While each website may have unique priorities, the checklist should cover key aspects like SEO, user experience, and conversion rates.
It is also essential to prioritize mobile-friendliness, remove low-quality content, enhance website speed, review website structure and navigation, and improve on-page SEO.
Analyzing competitor websites can also provide valuable insights for enhancing content strategies and identifying areas for improvement.
Whether performed by a professional or independently, it is essential to consider the specific priorities and budget before initiating the audit.
Regularly conducting website audits ensures that websites remain up-to-date, relevant, and competitive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.