Website management part 5: health checks

By Kirsten Meintjes

Posted on 31st July 2019

Part 4 of our website management series covered a typical website conversion funnel process, and listed reasons why your website might not be getting the results you are hoping for. In part 5, we are going to cover a broader and equally important topic – that of website health checks, also known as audits.

5 min read

If your business is conducted online (for example, if you sell goods on your website) or if you get most of your leads online, then it is important to have your website regularly audited.

A website audit is a full analysis of all of the factors related to your website – from your search engine visibility to the technical functionality of the site, to the way that a user will interact with the design and how they will behave accordingly. We recommend that business owners have an audit of their website once or twice per year – and even more so if they are not getting the results they need.

Why is a website health check (or audit) important?

In the ever-changing digital landscape that we experience today, it is critical that your digital touchpoints remain up to date – this is in terms of best design practices, technical maintenance and software updates, as well as general web trends.

Your competitors might have a strong digital presence, and potential customers weighing up their options will arrive at your website expecting high standards that they see elsewhere. Meeting, or better yet, exceeding this expectation will impress, and will motivate website visitors to find out more about what makes your company stand out from the rest – to look around for your sparkle, so to speak 😉

Our approach

As we have in-house web developers and marketing experts here at Yellow Door, website audits are one of our key services. The following is an overview of what we do when a client comes to us for a website audit:

  1. Competitor and benchmark research:

Before even visiting your website, it’s important to gauge how others in your industry present themselves online. We jot down some notes about what we like and can learn from, to later check whether you have or could implement anything similar.

  1. Organic Google search:

Next, we simply Google a short description of what it is your company does and the area it operates – for example, for Yellow Door we would search “digital marketing agency in Cape Town”. We locate your website link (hopefully on page one of the search results!) to get an idea of how well you rank overall on Google – how well your website is search engine optimised.

  1. Remainder of SEO audit:

Finally, we click through to your website and start off checking on-page SEO. Our developer will inspect the page sources of the pages being audited and search for a variety of critical SEO factors – including an <H1> tag and meta description. Learn more about SEO in part 3 of this website series.

  1. Page speed check:

We use a couple of tools (including our eyes!) to check how quickly the various pages load. If it’s not ideal, we analyse the various reasons as to why this is the case. These can vary from image sizes not being optimised, to CSS and Javascript code that hasn’t been minified.

  1. Content:

It is important to analyse the content presented on your website – questions asked include:

  • What is the first sentence on your homepage?
  • Does the content succinctly get across what you do and why potential customers should choose you?
  • If you operate in the EU, do you have GDPR consent?
  1. Design:

We bring our designers on board at this stage to perform a full audit of the website’s design. Things they look out for are photography (how well does it represent your brand?), typography, buttons, carousels, menus – and perhaps most importantly, mobile friendliness.

  1. Cross-browser compatibility:

You might only check your website in one browser, but what browsers are other people using to access your website? Together with finding the answer to this question via your website analytics, we check your website on the “Big 4”: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Ideally, your website should be optimised to work seamlessly on every existing browser, but if it works well on the Big 4, we are happy.

  1. Bring it all together:

We lay the results of the audit out clearly in a document, with sections and subsections, details of our findings, and clear action points listed. We can also order points by priority or complexity, to ensure the quick fixes are done first, and bigger ticket items are budgeted for or added to a timeline.

Kick start the website audit process

If you don’t have budget allocated for an audit just yet, you can get started with these two tips:

  1. Run your URL through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool

Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is a free tool developed by Google that analyses any URL on your website (we recommend simply entering your homepage) and analyses how long it takes for your website to load.

This is important to know because the longer it takes for your site to load, the lower your SEO ranking. The tool ranks the page on a score from 1 – 100, and the aim is to get a score of 90+. Not only does it analyse the page, but it also provides tailored suggestions of what you could do to improve your website’s speed.

  1. Ask a friend!

This step might seem elementary at first, but it actually provides incredible insights that no online tool can yet do! Sending your website to a friend and asking them to browse through it, flag anything that seems odd/ unclear/ is difficult to navigate is a great way to easily (and cost-effectively!) perform a basic audit. A fresh pair of eyes – from a human, of course! – is an effective hack to experience your website as a first-time potential customer might.

 

We hope that from this article you have been able to gain insight into the value of auditing your website every now and then. The more business you get online, the more important it is to be doing this on a regular basis. If you are interested in taking your website to the next level – or if you have an old site that simply needs direction for an upgrade – let’s chat. Please pop us a mail at hello@theyellowdoor.co.za 😊

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