Website audits are an important part of maintaining your website’s overall health and useability. In the same way that we get physicals or our cars need to be maintained websites are no different. Since technology is always evolving and changing it is important to make sure that your website is still running as you want it to be. Sometimes websites can be broken in more obvious ways and other times they can be broken behind the scenes.
Catching these places where your website is broken is key to its overall success. So how do we actually run a website audit and what do we need to look out for? Great question!
Steps To Success In Your Website Audit
- Manual Test
- Find broken links
- Check load times
- Ensure mobile compliance
- Check for handicap accessibility
- Google Analytics Error Reader
- Check any contact forms, or advanced field manually
- Check User Experience with heatmaps and click heatmaps
1) Manual Test
The manual test is the starting point to build off of for the rest of your site. Take some time to click through your website as a user would, try to see if you notice any places that are not intuitive. Maybe there is no way to get back to your home page on your site. Or possibly there might be some links that are pointing to the wrong URL. Whatever you may find take some time to write it down on a to-do list. Don’t start fixing these issues right away or else you will never finish the rest of the actual audit. I have done this too many times to count.
2) Find Broken Links
A slow-loading website is another pain point for customers all across the internet. Not only does it frustrate customers it also affects your ranking on google. That is why it is important to make sure that your website is loading quickly and consistently in your audit. A great way to test load times is through the online tool GTMetrix. This records your website’s load speed and tells you ways in which you can optimize many parts of your design elements and media files. This will give you a useful to-do list for optimizing your website.
4) Ensure Mobile Compliance
Mobile is bigger now than it has ever been and it does not look like that trend is going to stop any time soon. Every day people turn to their phones more to search the web and possibly go onto your website. If your website is not mobile-friendly it is going to greatly hurt your search experience as well as your rankings in Google. In order to check that your website is mobile-friendly, you can go to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. This site will tell you if your website is loading properly on various mobile devices as well as any page load issues that your customers might be coming across.
5) Check For Handicap Accessibility
Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA Compliance is another factor to look into for the useability of your website. Creating a website that everyone can use is gaining more and more important in the digital world. As the web becomes a larger and larger part of everyone’s lives it is important that we keep those with visual disabilities in mind. Whether that is people who are colorblind or fully blind, make sure that your website is useable for all people. We can do this by creating distinctive text that easily stands out as well as adding in descriptive image tags just to name a few. You can test your website’s ADA Compliance at WebAccessibility.com. This site will give an overall score to your website as well as some of the most important improvements that you can make to create a more useable website.
6) Google Search Console Error Reader
If you have Google Search Console set up on your website, which I would highly recommend, then this is another great place to check for errors. In your Google Search Console home dashboard, there is a section named “Coverage” in this section it will give you a readout of all of the errors that your website has encountered recently. These errors can range from the entire site crashing to small things like an image not fully loading or a page redirecting to a 404 error. This is a great place to keep an eye on as it will sometimes display issues that you might have missed otherwise.
7) Check Any Contact Forms Or Advanced Field Manually
Checking contact forms and advanced areas on your site by manually testing is a powerful way to make sure that they are still working properly. Especially if you have any email marketing sign-up forms on your site send in a test email and check to see that it was segmented correctly and added to the correct list. There is nothing more frustrating than spending money to get traffic to your site each month only to find out that your sign up form was not actually working properly. Avoid that heartache by testing them fully and doing the labor upfront to make sure that all of your efforts are not in vain.
8) Check User Experience With Heatmaps and Click Readers
Another great way to improve your website is to watch and analyze how customers are actually interacting with your site. Some of the best ways to do this are through behavior mapping through Google Analytics. Here you can see where customers are going and what path they take to move throughout your website. It is surprising to see how customers use your website in different ways that you might not have anticipated. Here you can also see what pages are performing well and which ones are pushing customers away. From here you can decide what to improve next on your website.
Another amazing way to make use of advanced customer information is to analyze heat maps and click heatmaps. These can be done through programs that record customer actions across your website such as Inspectlet and CrazyEgg. This can be a great way to see where people are clicking and what they are actually doing when they use your website. Perhaps they are clicking on an area that has no link attached. Adding a link to particular images or text can be a great opportunity to optimize and maximize the effectiveness of your website.
All of these different steps will help to analyze the overall wellness of your website. Keeping an eye on many different facets of your website can help to ensure it is running optimally. Doing a website audit is something that most business owners should look into once a month. However, if your website has a large amount of traffic or generates a large amount of money from online sales then it could be a good idea to do this kind of analysis every week or perhaps even more often for very large E-commerce companies with hundreds or thousands of pages. Make sure to keep on eye on all of these crucial points and you can avoid many late nights and potential headaches. If you are looking for help in any way with your website audit contact us here for any additional assistance.