What Are the Basics of a Website Audit?
Building a successful web presence relies on dozens of different considerations. Whether you’re running a standard website, blog or social media presence, connecting with your audience, appeasing search engines and other algorithmic entities, and creating the right types of content or offerings for your niche is vital.
For those managing websites, the more technical considerations can sometimes be easy to forget. To optimize performance in search engines and for on-site use, the use of website audits are commonplace. For those who haven’t a clue how website audits work or what they are, keep reading to learn about the basics.
In many respects, the most fundamental aspect of a website audit is its ability to uncover problems directly on your website that affect functionality. These technical concerns can affect everything – from pinging search engines properly to displaying content and navigation features correctly – and so they must be identified.
What are some examples of technical issues that a website audit can unveil? Arguably some of the most immediately beneficial examples include broken links, broken images and your website’s functionality for mobile users. However, there are a variety of other lesser known technical concerns such as the status of your HTTPS certificates and XML sitemaps, whether or not there are crawl errors on your website and indexing issues related to your robots.txt file.
Ultimately, identifying these technical issues is paramount for optimal performance. Once solved, your website’s functionality and compatibility will dramatically improve.
If you’re reliant partially or entirely on search engine traffic, then a website audit can be invaluable in identifying which problems – if any – exist in the realm of SEO. While some of the aforementioned issues (like mobile-friendliness) can impact SEO, there are other issues to be concerned with if found in an audit.
A comprehensive website audit will look for issues or errors in elements such as your blog post and page titles and headlines, problems with tags and meta descriptions, various forms of broken analytics code, links that are not optimized for search engines properly, and issues with alt and title text.
These elements can significantly impact your rankings in key SERPs, so an audit helps identify these problems easily. After they’re fixed, your website can begin performing better in search results.
Design and User Experience
While not every website auditing tool available assesses more subjective aspects such as design and user experience, many do offer recommendations and advice on areas that can be improved. There are many different components that can impact UI and design, leading to your website being perceived poorly (whether it’s via pinging search engines with content or exposing users to page layout).
Any proficient user experience designer would tell you that everything from page length and navigational ease of access to customer service features and search functionality can impact the experience of users. The more who find your website easy to use and accessible, the more who are likely to stick around. This can also have a meaningful impact on search engine optimization, as high bounce rates can diminish your visibility in SERPs over time.
Now that you’re familiar with what the basics of a website audit look for and provide, you can seek out resources to perform one on your own. With the information it collects, you can potentially improve the performance of your website among search engines and users alike!