New Year Website Audit

Monday, January 5th, 2015

newyear auditPerforming a website audit at the start of the year is a good time to check your website is running as it should be. There are many things you can do yourself for a simple, but effective, audit. Any website can benefit from an audit, as new best practice standards are changing constantly and you should be looking to tweak and update your website at least annually to keep it current with the latest trends and developments.

  1. Create a site map. The first step is to form a solid site map so you know how large your website is and what the search engine robots will find when they crawl it. This also allows you to keep track of the progress on every page, and make a full spreadsheet analysis. You can use a tool such as Screaming Frog to do this.
  2. Check your keyword rankings. Once you’ve made a list of the keywords you’re targeting on each page, you can check the rankings using a tool such as What’s My SERP. This allows you to see which keywords are performing well and which ones are falling short. Identify which ones you need to focus on more over the coming year.
  3. User metrics. Make sure you are providing an enjoyable experience on your website and have good user metrics. These include low bounce rate, time on site, returning visits and click through rates. Take time to review these stats and work to improve them.
  4. Duplicate Content. While you usually won’t be penalised for having duplicate content on your site, Google won’t rank you as highly. Spend time to make sure you’re not targeting the same keywords across your website or closely related terms. Make sure your URLs do not have duplicate parameters. For more information see this excellent guide about possible duplicate content that would be holding you back.
  5. Test site loading speed. A slow site can deter visitors by making them wait to view your content and get the response they’re looking for. You can test your website’s loading speed on a site such as GTMetrix, and to improve it you may need to reduce image sizes, streamline page content, or possibly change your hosting plan.
  6. Analyse your content. Your content is what’s going to sell your products and convince people to stay engaged with your website. Read through it to ensure it’s free of spelling and grammatical errors, that all descriptions are concise and to the point, and that all necessary information is available. For a more in-depth analysis of your content, work through a content audit.
  7. Get user feedback. One of the best ways to get a good idea of how your website is perceived is through real user feedback. This can be obtained on a site such as UserTesting, and you can use this data to make informed changes to your website.

Once you have this audit information, you can make informed choices about how to develop your website going forward and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. If you need help or a deeper audit, Avatar offers a comprehensive auditing service.

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Katie is a lover of words and art, born and raised in Christchurch. With a BA in English and Japanese, she’s happiest tapping away at her keyboard writing copy or articles, or else working on the latest illustration. To balance the creative side, Katie is also very motivated and a bit of a perfectionist, which helps with her SEO duties. Although her hobbies could probably be described as art, art and more art, she also enjoys long walks, good friends and travel.

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