Don’t be scared.
A website audit is nothing like an IRS Audit!
If you are a numbers nerd, enjoy analytics or just really love making thinks more effective, you are going to have fun.
What is a website audit?
Waiting for the next time you redesign your website can’t be the only time you analyze its effectiveness. New design or not, it’s important to review your website several times over the course of a year to vet its effectiveness. Is it working for you? For your customers and potential clients?
A website audit requires you (or someone you hire) to to a deep dive into your website analytics, content, traffics and pages in order to evaluate your website for strengths and weaknesses. Once you have determined what is working and what isn’t, you can optimize your content marketing strategy to make your content more engaging, improve website usability and even your SEO.
Prepping for a website audit
I know, I know. You just can’t wait to dig into your analytics and start improving your content marketing strategy, but before you get started, you need to do a little preparation:
- Identify your business goals – The purpose of content marketing is to help you achieve your business’s goals, so if you have not already, assign measurable marketing goals to each of your general business goals; that way when you are looking at the analytics, you will know what metrics take priority for your business.
- Check the front end first – Before trying to think about the big picture reasons of why things are working and why things are not, check out the front end of your website. Are your links working? Are pages loading quickly? Are grammatical errors scaring people away? Think about the user; what design and function errors might be ruining the online experience for your users?
What to look for during a website audit
For the purposes of this post, I’m going to use Google Analytics as the example of the (free) tool you can use to analyze traffic, content, bounce rates and otherwise on your website. You may have additional website analytics tools which can certainly be helpful for a website audit as well.
**Before looking into these numbers, you need to give Google a time frame from which to collect data. If you have done a website audit before, use the date of your last audit as a start date. If not, use 3-6 months worth of data for your audit.**
Under the “Audience” category on the left side of the Analytics page check out these numbers:
- Demographics – Who is using your website? Is it your target audience? If not, you need to either revamp your site and content to appeal to your target audience or re-evaluate your target audience.
- Geography – Where is your audience coming from? You can factor this information into deciding where to hold you next event or where to target your next ad campaign.
- Mobile – How many people are accessing your website via mobile devices? Is your website designed for mobile? How about the content? If not, making your website mobile friendly should be your top priority because you are losing the chance to engage a huge audience if your website is not responsive.
Under the “Acquisition” category on the left side of the Analytics page check out these numbers:
- All traffic > Channels – What are your strong points? Is your email newsletter getting your website a lot of traffic? Don’t quit what you are doing (because it is obviously working), but start sprinkling more CTAs into your newsletter because it is clear this audience is engaged.
- All traffic > Referrals – Who is sending you traffic? For instance, how do your social media channels rank in your list of referrals? Think about two things: are you consistently putting out the best content you have and is your audience on that channel? If you are doing your best, check the social channel’s analytics and see if you are engaging with your target audience there. Do not give up on the channel and relocate your resources to a more successful channel unless you have truly followed the social media best practices and are not getting your audience to engage with you. Engaging with your target audience on the social channel is successful content marketing, too, even if it doesn’t lead to website traffic because you are building relationships.
- All traffic > Referrals – If you consistently have another organization sending you traffic, consider reaching out to them and creating a partnership. Your audiences obviously have similar interests, so combine your resources for a campaign, a series of guest posts or a community event.
- Campaigns > Organic Keywords – What keywords are people using to find your website? If one of your more popular keywords keeps leading to particular blog post, write other blog posts on that topic (and use those keywords) and talk about them on your marketing channels. When you have such clear evidence of your audience liking something – milk it!
Under the “Behavior” category on the left side of the Analytics page check out these numbers:
- Site Content > All Pages – What are your most popular pages? Is a blog post one of your most popular pages? Start talking about that topic more often. Is a page about your organization and staff the most popular? Start talking about your story and your team more often. People love to get a “behind the scenes” look at an organization.
- Site Content > Landing Pages – Where are people entering your site? Are they coming in on your services page or your blog? No matter where this page is, reduce your bounce rate by making sure this is not the only page they visit on your site. Add more links to this page like “other articles you may like…” to keep them engaged and moving around your website.
- Site Content > Exit Pages – Take a good look at where your audience is exiting your website. In some cases, where they exit from can be a good thing. For example, if they leave from your “contact us” page or your “thanks for contacting us” page you could have some solid leads. But if they are leaving from your services page, you might want to apply some of the same principles to these pages as you did to your landing pages. Add more CTAs and (relevant) links to keep people exploring you are your organization a little longer.
These are just a few of the starting points for conducting a website audit. Start with measuring bite-sized pieces and go from there. Taking action based on the audit takes time, but they will be actions that will produce better leads and engagement because you did the research; that will make taking the actions less stressful and more fun.
Looking for help with a website audit or tips for you next redesign? Contact us — we’ve got you covered!