Website audit – How to conduct and execute a website audit
A website audit is a comprehensive analysis of a website that evaluates its design, functionality, content, and performance. The purpose of a website audit is to identify areas of improvement and make recommendations to enhance the overall user experience.
“This compact website audit guide will take you straight to the heart of the matter. No need to question the importance of auditing your website – it’s simply a matter of good practice. Don’t be fooled by Google’s narrow focus – a website audit encompasses much more than just SEO. It encompasses design and user experience, lead generation processes, website administration ease, content quality, and social media engagement (as noted by experts at HubSpot).
By following this guide, you’ll gain a clear understanding of the functional areas that require improvement, and learn how to carry out a comprehensive website audit. Whether you’re a content editor, website administrator, or website owner, this guide is written with you in mind and provides valuable insights for communicating any website issues to your technical team.”
Website Audit Checklist:
- Check website loading speed and optimize images and code if necessary.
- Ensure that the website is mobile-friendly and responsive.
- Verify that the website is secure (has an SSL certificate) and free of malware.
- Check the website’s accessibility, including screen reader compatibility.
- Review all pages to ensure that they are relevant, up-to-date, and of high quality.
- Optimize page titles, headings, and meta descriptions for search engines.
- Check for broken links and missing images.
- Ensure that the website has a clear and easy-to-use navigation structure.
User experience audit:
- Evaluate the website’s design and layout to ensure that it is visually appealing and easy to use.
- Check for any usability issues, such as difficult-to-use forms or confusing navigation.
- Review the website’s calls-to-action (CTAs) to ensure that they are effective and relevant.
- Analyze website analytics data to identify trends and areas for improvement.
- Check the website’s bounce rate and average session duration to see if users are engaging with the site.
- Monitor website errors, such as broken links or missing images, and fix them promptly.
Social media audit:
- Check that the website is properly linked to relevant social media accounts.
- Evaluate the website’s social media presence and determine if it could be improved.
- Ensure that the website has social sharing buttons to allow users to easily share content on social media.
By conducting a regular website audit, you can identify areas for improvement and make sure that your website is providing the best possible user experience. This will not only help you attract and retain visitors, but it can also improve your search engine rankings and lead generation efforts.
A little tip before you start
“We recognize that your website may have a substantial number of web pages, making it impossible to review them all at once. We understand that you have other pressing priorities. Nevertheless, website auditing is crucial and you face a choice: either prioritize up to ten pages that are critical to your business objectives, such as your main page, contact page, and pages featuring your most popular products or product categories, and conduct a review yourself or entrust the task to us. ”
Design and UX audit
The design of your website sets the tone for your visitors, determining whether they’ll stay or leave. Several years ago, Google conducted research that showed it takes less than a second for someone to form an opinion on the attractiveness of a website. The results showed that participants found more complex designs less appealing. So, what does this have to do with proper functionality?
Well, it’s simple. The human brain prefers simplicity and ease of understanding. If your website design is too complex, it may discourage visitors and drive them away. Don’t miss out on potential new customers by neglecting the importance of a user-friendly design.
Web design and UX audit checklist
Use this checklist to create your own design audit template.
- The page structure of your website is crucial for navigation. It should include clear headers, titles (H1-H6), footers, and content.
- When a visitor lands on your page, the first thing they should see is a straightforward description of your company’s services and/or products. If applicable, consider incorporating design breadcrumbs and footer links. Use heat maps to determine if users are clicking on the footer links first. Also, refer to the SEO section of this article to understand any potential risks.
- The content density should not overwhelm the visitor. It should be well-organized with headings, supporting images, and ample white space.
- The design should guide the visitor to the call-to-action (CTA) links and buttons through interactive elements, such as hovers. The CTA should be placed within the first one-third of the user’s screen.
- The user flow should be flexible, allowing the user to skip steps, go back to previous stages, undo actions, and fix errors. Avoid making the user repeat the entire process due to a simple mistake. This is not user-centric.
- The website design should align with the company’s brand. It should also be optimized for all devices, ensuring that users can easily perform the desired actions on desktops, mobile devices, tablets, etc.
- Check all visual elements of the design, such as the background illustrations and design elements (logo, favicons, headers, typography, and colors used). These should be consistent and complement each other.
- Finally, make sure your website complies with accessibility design requirements, which allow individuals with disabilities to use the website without any barriers. Neglecting these rules can result in a loss of visitors and potentially result in a fine. For more information on the importance of accessibility, refer to our article “Why accessibility is important.
By following the recommendations listed above, you may observe the following improvements:
- A decrease in the bounce rate, as navigation becomes easier and users know what actions to take.
- An increase in the average session duration.
- An increased number of users taking the desired main CTA.
Lead generation process audit
The lead generation process is closely tied to the design and user experience of your website. As highlighted in the previous checklist, your website’s design should be aimed at converting visitors into leads.
Lead Generation Audit Checklist
- Your page should feature a clear and prominent call-to-action (CTA), whether it be a button or a link, to maximize conversions.
- Limit the number of calls-to-action to three or fewer.
- Ensure the CTA is easily accessible to users, without requiring them to scroll down to the footer or other hidden areas.
- The headings and text on your page should include the keywords and related terms that you want to rank for, so that your leads can easily find you through search engines like Google.
- If a user begins a CTA but doesn’t complete it (such as leaving a contact form unfinished), offer them another chance to follow through by showing them a pop-up offering a free consultation, access to a knowledge base, or asking why they abandoned the form. Pop-ups can be a useful way to communicate with users, but should be used wisely and only when appropriate.
- Provide lead magnets, such as e-books, checklists, promo codes, trials, and white papers, that users can receive in exchange for their contact information.
By following the above guidelines, users should be more likely to execute the main CTA. This will result in an increase in conversions, but if it doesn’t, go back and review the web design and UX to determine the issue.”
Assuming that the page structure is well-designed and users know what actions they need to take to achieve their goals, and the menu provides seamless navigation, the final step is to ensure that the content does not turn off users. They do read the content, and it is important to keep that in mind.
Content Audit Checklist
- The content is aligned with the goal of the page: for example, if it is a contact page, the content should focus solely on ways for the user to reach you.
- The content is organized logically and does not confuse the users. Adhere to the “Inverted Pyramid” principle proposed by Jakob Nielsen, where the most important information is placed first, followed by supporting details, and finally, related information.
- There are no spelling or grammar errors.
- Only content that drives the user towards the call-to-action (CTA) should be present.
- Regularly review the top-visited and high-converting pages and refresh their content.
- Read comments and respond to them, this will give you a better understanding of how users perceive your content and engage them in conversation, resulting in a lower bounce rate.
- Pay attention to the content structure, including its division into blocks, the use of bullet points, white space, and illustrations.
Use heat maps to monitor how users interact with your content, and Google Analytics to track the average number of pages visited per session.
By improving the content, you can also increase the chances of successfully executing the main goal, that is, having users click, fill out, or complete CTAs.
The search engine optimization (SEO) aspect increases the visibility of your content to a broader audience. To optimize your content for search engines, there are various technical actions you can take, such as modifying headings and the content, inserting links, and more. Some of these changes can be made without the need for programming expertise, while others may require the assistance of an SEO specialist.
SEO audit checklist
- Establish a reliable tracking tool to monitor your website’s performance, including its mobile version, by tracking keywords, traffic, entry and exit pages, etc.
- Implement appropriate content tags, including title tags, description tags, image tags, and meta tags.
- Incorporate keywords and their synonyms in the headings and text of your content.
- Remove any broken links on your website.
- Avoid placing references to external sources at the beginning of your content, as this could result in a high bounce rate and negatively impact your website’s ranking in search results.
- Consider implementing internal links within your website to guide users on their journey. Avoid using automated bots to insert links, as this could be considered manipulation by Google and result in penalties.
- Focus on link building and seek out websites that can refer to your website, which will help establish your website as an authority and improve its ranking.
- Configure server files such as .htaccess, robots.txt, and sitemap.xml to ensure that search engines can access and index your website correctly. This step may require the assistance of a programmer, but it is important to include it in your SEO audit.
The Benefits of SEO:
- Gain insight into your traffic patterns and sources, allowing you to make informed decisions to drive more traffic.
- Increase organic traffic by incorporating relevant keywords and tags into your content.
- Reduce bounce rate by improving the user experience on your website.
- Encourage longer visits through strategic internal linking.
- Ultimately, expect a higher search engine ranking as a result of optimizing your website for SEO.
Website maintenance checklist
Website loading speed is crucial for users and can greatly impact their experience. The ideal load time for a website is between 1.5 to 3 seconds, with most researchers agreeing that a load time of 15-30 seconds is unacceptable. A slow website can result in lost users and potential customers, as people are not willing to wait. Google Search Engine also takes website speed into consideration when ranking sites, so it’s important to prioritize website optimization and make every millisecond count.
Core Web Vitals play a crucial role in your website’s ranking since June 2021. There are three main factors to consider:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures the time it takes for the largest image or text block to become visible in the preview area from the moment the page starts to load.
- First Input Delay (FID) measures the time in milliseconds between when the user first interacts with the page (such as clicking a link or button) and the browser’s response.
- Time to Interactive (TTI) measures when the main content is fully downloaded and ready for the user to interact with. It helps track situations where the user can see all the interactive elements of the page but cannot interact with them.
Here are some basic and general tips, including Core Web Vitals, for enhancing website performance:
- Evaluate the website’s loading speed.
- Ensure LCP takes less than 2.5 seconds to load.
- Ensure FID takes less than 100 milliseconds to load.
- Ensure CLS is less than 0.1.
- Check the image loading speed.
- Verify or enable data caching. Drupal has a built-in page caching feature.
- Verify the codebase’s relevancy.
- Check the PHP version being used.
- Monitor errors through Google Analytics.
- Check for Google PageSpeed optimization.
- Confirm the site’s functionality with the client’s input (as often as the site is updated).
The reasons behind poor website performance could be more complicated than slow image loading. In this article, we provide an overview of Core Web Vitals and offer a free DIY website performance audit checklist. With this checklist, you can identify performance issues on your own and communicate effectively with your web development team.
If you’ve followed the checklist but haven’t seen significant improvements, the next step would be front-end refactoring, Google Analytics check-up, and UX audit. It’s recommended to seek the assistance of experienced front-end developers to prevent further delays.
Social media presence audit
Building a strong backlink profile can further boost your website’s search engine ranking. Having a high number of high-quality links pointing to your website from other reputable websites is an indicator of your website’s trustworthiness and authority in your industry. This not only helps improve your search engine ranking, but it also drives referral traffic to your website and improves your website’s visibility and credibility. To build a strong backlink profile, focus on creating high-quality content that other websites will want to link to, reach out to other websites and ask for links, and participate in online communities relevant to your industry.
Social media presence audit checklist
- Ensure that your company or brand has a public profile or group on popular social media platforms.
- Regularly include links to your website on your social media profiles to increase content visibility.
- Include social media icons on your website, such as in the footer or a prominent location.
You should expect to see an increase in traffic from your social media presence.
A little tip before you go
Ease of administering/editing the website
Before you move on, think about the website’s ease of administration and editing. This will depend on the content management system (CMS) you are using. Ensure that administrators can create content pages without the assistance of a programmer. They should also be able to present content in the desired format, such as uploading images, embedding videos, and aligning text.