What is a website audit?
In the world of websites, anything can change at any time, especially when you’re not looking. Whether it’s standards and best practices or something changing on your actual website. If building websites isn’t your strong suit, maintaining your own website can be a risky endeavor. It’s easy to fix one thing and break another in the process.
If you want to avoid a rousing game of website whack-a-mole, you need a website audit. You need a professional who can assess every area of your website, together, all at once, and do a deep dive into everything from overall analysis of things like messaging, to more detailed things like alt tags and heading order.
Getting a website audit has practical applications for the people working on your site — content, developers, SEO, marketing, and so on. There are tons of specialties that use different types of audits to inform their decisions.
Why a website audit?
It’s a good question, especially if you’re monitoring things regularly. Website’s working fine, why should you take extra time to review every little thing?
Keeping an eye on things is great and keeps things from exploding, but zooming out and looking at everything as a whole is important, too. An audit brings together all the pieces that make a website work.
A website audit will give you and your team a starting point, a road map for any changes you want or need to make. And it serves as a website check up.
Best practices evolve. Things slip through or revert to default or get changed without you knowing it. And even if you don’t make a complete overhaul of your keywords or messaging, many small changes over time can add up.
An overall look helps keep things consistent and prevents small issues from getting out of hand.
Is an audit absolutely necessary?
The answer is really going to depend on the type of site you have, but yes. For most people an audit is necessary. The only thing that will change is how big of an audit to do.
The older the site, the more you’ll have to keep track of. The more time between audits, the more you’ll have to review. When’s the last time your messaging changed? Your branding?
So many parts of your business converge into this one central website. It needs to be solid.
If you dive into things without a plan, the risk of messing things up is significantly higher than letting a professional do a review first.
How do you audit your website?
Anyone can paste a URL into a tool and spit out results. There are a ton of tools out there that can automate some of the process. Mostly on the scanning side.
But no tool will ever be thorough enough, and it may give false positives or negatives. There will need to be a manual review as well as manually checking on the results of the automated tools.
And someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing or is only using it as a reason to collect your email address isn’t going to review everything they need to.
If you aren’t well versed on each of the aspects, going to an expert is going to be your best bet. They’ll not only know how to do it, but they’ll know how to do it well and provide results and recommendations, either specific to fixing them, or overall, like redoing your website.
There are steps and lists you can research and follow, and everyone’s audit is going to be different. But they’ll generally hit some combination of the following:
- Technical Aspects
- Performance / Page Speed
- Social Media
- Paid Ads and Listings
- Privacy and Security
- Conversion Optimization
The bigger the site, the longer an audit will take, and the higher the potential cost. Same goes for the experience of the person doing the auditing. Less experience will take longer and be cheaper. But it’s nothing compared to the potential issues — and current issues — it catches.
But there’s no doubting the importance of a regular, thorough website audit.
You can get your journey started with a free audit to get an idea of your website’s status and get some actionable recommendations.