Don’t Miss a Thing With Our Full Website Audit Checklist
Some brands view their websites as a set-it-and-forget-it type investment. They spend months curating content, designing a chic interface, and optimizing pages, just to let the same website collect dust going forward. In reality, a website requires ongoing maintenance to remain successful and draw a return on investment (ROI). A website audit is a recommended digital marketing tactic that keeps your website in top form to keep your bottom line in the black.
A website audit is a detailed analysis that uncovers which areas have room for improvement. An audit result will then form an actionable roadmap to implement search engine optimization (SEO), UX and UI changes, or website redesign to better the site’s overall performance. Here’s everything to consider for your ultimate website audit checklist.
What is a Website Audit?
An audit for a website is essentially a wellness visit. It’s a checkup. An audit inspects the holistic health of a website, paying close attention to the parts that are impacting overall performance. The audit will then outline clear steps to better the website’s health so that damaged areas — such as broken links, poor site architecture, or abandoned checkout carts — no longer slow the website down or turn potential customers away.
Website audits reveal current under-performing pages, duplicate content, or aspects of the user interface (UI) that are troublesome. They also help close the gap between the foundation of all marketing efforts and current digital marketing strategies.
When Should You Do a Website Audit?
Like a wellness visit, a website audit should be a routine aspect of overall website maintenance. Website audits should be completed at least every six months for optimal website performance. You should never go longer than a year without conducting some type of website audit.
What Are the Benefits of a Website Audit?
Website audits are crucial in identifying trouble areas and creating an actionable plan to improve a site’s performance. However, audits offer multiple benefits beyond just site performance. Website audits help improve the user experience, measure website effectiveness, quantify current marketing efforts, and weigh competitors’ potential.
1. Improve the User Experience (UX)
The user experience (UX) is how a user interacts with and experiences a website. Countless details go into providing a high-quality user experience, but it takes just a handful of issues to derail the entire experience. For instance, poor load speed or a site that’s not mobile-friendly can drastically reduce a user’s opinion of a website. That results in a lowered opinion of a product or a brand.
A website audit can decipher details such as which pages have the highest bounce rate and which pages generate the most traffic to reveal potential SEO or design opportunities that can provide the best possible user experience.
2. Measure Website Effectiveness
A website is the face of your brand and a communications and marketing tool. A website audit uncovers anything that could stand in the way of using that tool to execute your goals. Generally speaking, a website audit will provide an accurate picture of overall effectiveness, including conversion, tracking, and other specific goals your company wants to achieve.
A website audit can also be used to answer questions such as:
- Are our landing pages converting?
- Are we making headway on our goals?
- Are users spending time on each page or bouncing?
3. Quantify Marketing Efforts
It can be easy to get so caught up in creating new marketing materials that you forget to quantify your efforts’ success. From social media SEO to backlink-building, so much time is spent lifting these efforts off the ground that it can overshadow the need for quantifiable website results. A website audit is an opportunity to quantify how successful recent marketing strategies have been at driving traffic or conversion to your website.
4. Weigh the Potential of Competitors
A website audit can reveal the potential of competitors who are also vying for user attention. Items such as keyword gap analysis or general competitor analysis disclose how similar brands are performing, as well as how your website ranks in comparison. These details help uncover gaps in content and shape potential future strategies that reduce the threat of competition in your space.
The Ultimate Website Audit Template
Once the importance of website audits and their role in improved performance, user experience, SEO, and conversions are understood, it’s time for a full website audit checklist. You can use this template to form a plan of action for your audit.
Your website audit template should be split between five main areas:
- Web design and UX audit
- Technical SEO audit
- Content audit
- Lead generation audit
- General maintenance audit
Website Design and UX Audit Checklist
Website design and the user experience go hand-in-hand. After all, how can a user confidently navigate your website if your design doesn’t indicate buttons to click or provide a navigable menu? While your website design should ideally be attractive, it’s more important to offer a clear roadmap for users.
When completing a website audit, be sure to knock these items off your design and UX checklist:
- Each page features a balanced content density of headings, copy, images, and white space.
- Each page utilizes an easy-to-read page structure, including a title, headings (H1-H6), and footer.
- Page design naturally guides users to CTA links and buttons.
- Calls-to-action (CTAs) are placed above the fold or in the first third of the user’s screen.
- The entire website renders properly across all devices, including mobile, tablet, and desktop.
- Visual elements do not distract from copy or make the typography challenging to read.
Pro Tip: Screenshot your website and filter the image into black and white. If any copy cannot be read clearly, consider improving the contrast between your site’s current colors.
It is also worth noting that the Americans with Disabilities Act now requires public websites to comply with certain standards that provide accommodations for those requiring access. There are also guidelines for privately owned websites as well.
Technical SEO Audit Checklist
The technical SEO audit will account for your website’s overall discoverability, site architecture, broken links, indexing, and more. The SEO experts at Bullseye Strategy always recommend beginning with an initial URL check to ensure your website can be found easily. This URL check ensures only one version of your website is browseable.
Here’s how to get started with a technical SEO audit:
- Ensure that variations of your domain, such as ‘http:’ or ‘https:’, 301 redirect to the canonical version of your website address.
- Confirm that only one version of your website is indexed.
- Establish a tracking tool to monitor traffic, entrance pages, exit pages, bounce rate, time spent on page, and high-performing keywords.
- Utilize appropriate content tags, including title tags, meta tags, description tags, and image tags.
- Tidy up the site architecture such that content is assigned one primary category with related tags.
- Tune your server files, such as sitemap.xml or robots.txt, to allow Google to crawl and analyze your content correctly.
- Manually identify and apply internal links to prompt a user deeper into your website.
- Identify and eliminate broken links across the website.
- Ensure that all images utilize alt text.
Content Audit Checklist
Content is your website’s bread and butter, so it’s no secret you should be monitoring and fine-tuning whenever necessary. This content audit checklist is your chance to dive into your current keyword rankings and thorough competitor analysis to judge how your website is performing.
Objectives to incorporate in a content audit include:
- Ensure each page is optimized for one keyword to prevent keyword cannibalism.
- Utilize a set keyword, secondary keywords, and synonyms in the heading, title tag, and within the copy.
- Measure if all content presents the essential information first on the page, above the fold/scroll point, and includes a CTA.
- Ensure content across the website is clear of spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Decide if each page adheres to its page goal and user intent as specified in your keyword map — for instance, a contact page should be populated with ways a user can connect with you.
Lead Generation Audit Checklist
Lead generation is the process of turning strangers into customers. This process all begins with a trustworthy, informative, and easy to navigate website. The lead generation portion of a website audit checklist can reveal where prospects are slipping through the cracks.
Items to tackle in your lead generation audit checklist include:
- Ensure each page has a clear CTA block, such as a button or link
- Confirm that each CTA or lead gen form is easily visible on the page
- Provide a secondary opportunity for users to complete unfinished lead forms, such as pop-ups
General Maintenance Audit Checklist
As the final portion of your website audit, finish up with a general maintenance audit. This step will help clean up general website performance, so that search engines and users alike can enjoy your content.
Final considerations for your general maintenance audit checklist include:
- Track current errors through Google Analytics
- Monitor the load speed of your website and its images, compressing where necessary
- Maintain a mobile-friendly load speed, interface, and functionality
- Enable or monitor data caching
What Website Audit Tools Do You Need?
To set an audit in motion, your toolbelt must be stocked with the proper audit tools. Website audit tools you will want to have on deck include:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Google Structured Data Testing Tool
While some of the above tools are free to use, others require a monthly or annual payment plan to access certain features. If you’re unsure which tools to start with for a website audit, consider reaching out to a trusted full-service marketing agency to do the deep digging for you.
Never Miss a Beat with Bullseye Strategy
A quick look at what’s going on behind the scenes can help achieve quick wins. This is exceptionally true for those with websites that have never been audited. Our full website audit checklist helps to keep your website delivering customers. For help implementing this checklist and getting your website on track, contact the experts at Bullseye Strategy today.