How To Audit Your Own Website
Here at Oak City Technology, we are commonly asked to perform website audits for companies who want to see where their website stands against the test of time. In general, audits should be done yearly for businesses that rely on their website. Here is free checklist that we follow for our own in house audits!
Updates: Are all of your platform updates current? Keeping up with security updates is incredibly important and not updating your website is what hackers look for when finding sites to target. Learn more about WordPress security here.
Security/Encryption: Does your website use an SSL certificate? Is it up to date? If you actively sell products or take user information through your website SSL certificates should be installed on your site.
SSL checker here
User Privacy: Do you have a privacy statement that’s easy for a user to find on your website? Are you in an industry that requires dedicated pages to disclaimers like law firms or financial agencies? These are extremely important and should be included as a link in the footer of every page.
Google Search Console: This may not be necessary if you haven’t changed hosts, themes or platforms in the last 3 years. If you have it’s a good idea to submit your website for verification. You can do this here.
Page Speed Test: This should be done on a quarterly basis to ensure there are no background technical issues that may stand in the way of you ranking. If you did not know, page load speed is a full ranking factor today and should be taken very seriously for any website. Test here. We recommend a page should load in 2-3 seconds! Learn why page load speed here is important because of Mobile First Indexing!
Image Optimization: Are your images optimized in size for easy loading on browsers and mobile devices? Over-sized images are commonly overlooked when creating websites and they are detrimental to page load speed. Here’s a great article on image optimization directly from Google!
Visual Aesthetics & Design
Design: How does your website stack up against your competition, design wise? Does yours look dated? People judge a website immediately on its overall design, if your website looks like it’s from the early 2000s odds are you are not going to be getting many leads or calls. Users have been spoiled over the last few years with extremely good looking websites and when they come across a site that looks out of touch, it stands out. Design trends change rapidly and need to be incorporated every 2-3 years.
Image Quality: Please use high quality images on your website. With the resolution of screens today it’s extremely easy to notice an image that is blurry or just looks old. Remember your goal is to sell your business through your website! Would you have a storefront with a poster in the window from 1997? Neither should your website.
Logo Design: Just like with the overall design of a website users will judge your logo. If it looks like it was made by you in Microsoft Word using clip art, odds are a user isn’t going to take your website seriously. Logos should be updated every 3-5 years to ensure it never looks dated and keeps up with design trends.
Structure & Navigation
Ease Of Use: How easy is your website to use? Does it take more than 1 clicks to find important things like pricing, contact info or your services? Users have about a 10 second attention span when coming to a new website. If they can not find what they need in that amount of time, they are gone. We can see this very clearly in analytics data and it’s something that should be take into account when redesigning or updating a website.
Contact Forms: How easy are you contact forms to find? Trick Question! If it’s not one of the first 2 things a user sees, the odds of them using it to contact you go down dramatically. Make it easy to find and use and remember that less is more. Don’t ask 10 questions in a contact form, keep it simple. Name, Phone, Email and Message. You can figure out the rest once they contact you first.
Responsive Design: Responsive Design is the act of your website scaling to whatever size screen you are on. Whether you are projection to an audience or on your phone, the website scales to a perfect size in relation to the screen. Making for a truly flawless transition. Responsive design is actually what Google recommends all websites be built in today. Test Responsive Design here!
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): If you are unfamiliar, AMP is a new open source initiative that strives to turn all web content into inherently mobile optimized pages for quick loading and easy reading on all devices. This is the direction that everything is moving, to smaller faster web pages for a better mobile experience. Learn more about AMP here!
Link Profile: There are 2 types of links, internal and external. Both are important and both should be given time and attention if SEO is a goal of your website. By linking to something, you are telling Google and a user that this information is both related and important. Learn more about links and how to use them here!
Portfolio: If you are a business that has any sort of visual aesthetic or component, like painters, builders, creative agency or any type of product based company you need to have a portfolio. People need to be able to visualize what you are capable of. Keep them upto date and cycle out examples.
Outdated Content: Do you still have a page for a 2015 Yearly Event Calendar, or your 2013 5k For Charity Registration Page? Take it down. Google wants to see that you are keeping a clean and healthy site that is updated regularly. Websites that become static and outdated are easy to notice, keep it fresh!
XML Sitemap: An easy way to make sure that search engines can find all of the pages on your website is to create and submit an XML sitemap to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. You should be able to find a plugin for your CMS which automates this process for you. They are also imperative for SEO.
Calls To Action
Page Placement: A good CTA is seen by a user in the first few seconds of a visit. This enables a user to freely browse the site and learn more about your company without having any questions of what you want them to do. Whether it’s collecting an email, calling you about services or downloading your E-Book a clear concise CTA can help with you lead generation.
Analytics: Do you have Google analytics installed? If so, how often do you check it? Do you do A/B testing for CTA locations? Google analytics can provide a wealth of knowledge and direction if you know what you are looking for. Spend time weekly in analytics, or if you do not have it deployed and active on your website, invest in data!
Social Sharing: Make sure that all of your pages have easy social sharing buttons or links. Social media is an incredibly valuable tool for any business and it should be given at least part of your marketing attention. Different social media platforms are better for certain industries, which one do you think your customer demographic uses most? Learn more about how social media affects SEO here!
Google My Business: Google My Business pages are a crucial part in how Google populates its search results. Every business NEEDS one of these, they are free and easy to setup. They basically give Google and it’s search users a snapshot of easily re-callable answers to the basics of your business like location, hours, or phone number. Learn more about how Google My Business is tied to SEO here!
Activity Level: How active are you on your social media accounts? Do you have a monthly strategy for marketing, promotions or customer interactivity? Making sure that you reply to questions or concerns is highly recommended in today’s online society. Just generally being active on your social media account is good for any business.
Google Reviews: How often do you actively ask your users or customers for reviews? If you have a good reputation with the community you should always be collecting Google Reviews. Online reviews are how a user who has no experience with you or our company/product determines your perceived trust. If they perceive through your reviews that you are a trustworthy company who cares about their services, you stand a much higher likelihood of getting that person’s business. Oh and Google Reviews are also heavily favored in SEO rankings on a local level. Learn more about Google Reviews and SEO here!
Why Choose Oak City Technology
At Oak City Technology we specialize in building these lead generating websites, that draw in the users who are looking for you and convert them to leads, through a simple user experience and answering the users’ basic questions. We pride ourselves in generating business for our clients and making sure you stand out against your local competition. Contact us today to get started generating leads and clients for your firm’s website!
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