Website Audits: Checking In on the Health of Your Website

A woman sits at a table with a tablet, clipboard, and coffee while making notes.

With tax day only a month away, we know the word “audit” might not be one you want to hear about right now. But a website audit isn’t scary! In fact, it can be a great way to gain some clarity on the ways your website is and isn’t working for you.

What is a website audit and why does it matter?

If you’ve never heard of a website audit before, it’s a close review of your website and all the factors that determine its efficacy, performance, and functionality. 🔎 A good website audit will take into account both technical and user experience considerations and give you action steps to resolve anything that is flagged.

Just like it’s important to go to the doctor for routine physicals, it’s important to routinely check up on your website’s health. Websites do a lot of heavy lifting in today’s world, so you want to make sure that your website is working for you and not against you. 😳

The world of the web is ever-changing, and standards can shift and develop without a lot of notice. If your website is older than a year or so and you haven’t done much to keep it up to date, an audit is likely to turn up a lot of issues that are causing your site to load slowly, not function as it was designed, or just generally lose your audience’s attention. 

The most important components of an audit

While it’s possible to conduct your own website audit, if you aren’t already familiar with a lot of the elements we talk about below, it can be a lot of work to familiarize yourself. We suggest having an audit done by a qualified individual or company. This will give you the best results and the clearest plan of action on the other side.

Here are the main things to look for in a good audit:

User experience 🙋

How well is your website working for your visitors? Are they able to easily find what they’re looking for? User experience covers how your web design choices impact the people looking at your site. Visual elements, usability, accessibility, and interactions are all components of creating a user-friendly and intuitive site. If you want your business to succeed—both online and in the real world—you need to have a website that is doing the most for your visitors.

If your user experience is poor, your website is probably a non-starter for a lot of folks. 🙅 Whether it’s fair or not, people “judge a book by its cover” when it comes to websites. If your home page doesn’t look good, loads slowly, or is difficult to navigate, people will distrust you from the start. While there may have been an excuse for having a poor website a couple decades ago, consumers don’t have much room for a bad web presence anymore. 

Conversion optimization 📈

When someone comes to your website, you have a goal in mind for them. You may want them to buy a product or service from you, but not every goal is that direct. Perhaps you’re looking to get them to subscribe to an email list, download a PDF, or fill out a contact form. Checking your website’s conversion optimization is a great way to see if it’s doing its job getting folks to engage in these ways.

Your website should have multiple ways to get folks into your sales funnels, and if you’re missing clear CTAs, you’re probably losing out on a lot of conversions. People don’t want to hunt for the button that lets them make a purchase or feel like they don’t know what their next step is. Make it as easy and appealing as possible for visitors to engage with you.

SEO and online visibility 😎

If folks are looking for what you offer, can they find you? Google and other search engines do their best to show relevant results to people making queries. If your website isn’t optimized for this process, Google isn’t likely to ever show you to a potential customer. In a world where so many people start a purchasing journey on Google, you can’t afford to miss out.

SEO is a whole job in itself, but there are a lot of simple steps you can take to make your website easier for Google to crawl, making it more likely that you will be in the top results. 🤩 Knowing the places where your site needs work can be the difference between growth and struggling to find new customers.

Performance ⏱️ 

Do you know about the 3-second rule? It’s the idea that you only have 3 seconds to capture the attention of a website visitor before the chances of them navigating away increase drastically. The real kicker? That 3 seconds includes load times. 😱 If your website’s load speeds and performance are poor, people aren’t likely to get any farther than your home page. 

People expect speed from a modern website, and there are a lot of things you can do to ensure that your site loads and functions as quickly as possible. That way, more people are likely to convert instead of getting frustrated and leaving without ever planning to come back.

Security 🔒

In a world of scams and identity theft, people are rightfully uneasy about websites that don’t seem to be secure. If you aren’t taking the basic steps to make sure your website is protecting your customers—even if you aren’t making actual sales online—then people will probably go elsewhere.

Valuing the safety and security of your website visitors demonstrates that you care about your customers and do your best to protect them. 😌 When people are looking to buy, they are often very concerned with the trustworthiness of the company they are buying from. 

Accessibility ♿

Around a quarter of the US population is disabled; that’s a huge group to be missing out on if your website isn’t accessible. While some disabilities don’t need website accommodations, there are plenty that do, such as vision loss or intellectual disability. 

If you’re curious about some of the ins and outs of making your website accessible, we have a helpful blog post covering the basics. But a comprehensive website audit should do a good job of assessing these considerations and outlining the steps needed to increase accessibility.

Legal 🧑‍⚖️

When it comes to legal compliance for your website, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 😖 Having the proper disclaimers and policies clearly displayed or linked on your site is a large part of compliance, but it’s not the whole story.

It’s important to check that your website isn’t leaving you open to litigation. If you have a lawyer, ask them for advice, but a good website audit can also provide a starting point if you don’t have a lawyer.

🌿

Valerian offers free website audits 🥳

If you’re ready to run a website audit, we have great news: we offer free website audits with complementary 30-minute calls to discuss the results. And because we know how annoying an immediate upsell can be, we promise that we won’t spend a moment of our 30 minutes trying to get you to buy anything. We just want to make sure that you can get the most out of your audit and feel empowered to improve your website. And if you are interested in working with us, you can always schedule another time to talk business.

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