With few exceptions, companies today depend on their website as their initial, and often only, point of contact with their customers. Even businesses like restaurants that rely heavily on foot traffic are at a competitive disadvantage if they don’t have a website.
And not just any website — consumers today expect a site that’s easy to navigate, informative, and visually appealing, to name just a few of the requirements. Anything less and a visitor is likely to add to your “bounce rate” by taking one glance at your website and leaving to spend their money elsewhere.
But, of course, they don’t write a note saying, “Sorry, your site didn’t impress, so my friends and I chose another option.” Consequently, you may be left with a vague feeling that your business isn’t hitting on all cylinders but unsure about exactly why it isn’t.
Fortunately, there’s a way to ensure your website isn’t keeping you from hitting your revenue objectives. Or, if it is, to know how you can fix the problem. It’s called a website audit.
What’s a Website Audit?
In a nutshell, a website audit is an in-depth analysis of the factors that make your site easy to find, intuitive to use, and valuable to visitors. An audit can have many components. Some of the areas most commonly reviewed include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO). From the perspective of businesses, search engines exist for one reason: to direct users to their website in any situation where the company offers what the searcher is looking for. A pair of gray, size 10 men’s hiking boots. An affordable all-inclusive resort in Mexico. A restaurant near East Market that has a good selection of Bourbon and takes reservations. Google, Bing, and Yahoo, for example, use complex algorithms to rank websites for a particular keyword or phrase. In some cases, websites are “penalized” for failing to meet search engine best practices. If that’s the case with yours, your ranking and web traffic will suffer. This specific aspect of an audit helps you determine whether you’re being penalized, and if you are, explains how to modify your site to recover and get back into Google’s good graces, for example.
- Conversions. People who perform the desired action (make a purchase, request product details, provide their contact information, schedule an appointment, etc.) on a website are said to have “converted” — from a casual visitor to an identified prospect. So, while getting your website the visibility it takes to attract visitors is the first step, encouraging those visitors to engage with your brand is the next. This part of a website audit provides insights on how to increase your conversion rate.
- Compliance. A website compliance assessment looks at overall site architecture and usability. It helps business owners identify everything from technical issues to content problems. This often includes determining whether the site complies with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations.
- Performance. One of the factors that both search engines and website visitors use to assess a website is how fast it loads. Let’s be honest… we’re all busy and a little impatient, so we’re quick to “bail” on a website if it doesn’t come up right away — especially if there are multiple businesses that can meet our needs. We give the site a second or two, then it’s, “OK, next!” Identifying and addressing the causes of poor website performance is essential.
- Security. One security breach and loss of important information like customer credit card data can be devastating to a business — with both short-term and long-term legal and cost effects. Word gets around, and consumers have a long memory for risky websites. The security portion of a website audit identifies vulnerabilities that can lead to sensitive information being stolen.
What Makes an Audit Necessary?
If your website was recently launched or updated, you might be thinking, “We’re good to go! We’ll do an audit in a year or two.” Unfortunately, the internet is constantly evolving, with new technologies available and new standards released regularly. The algorithms used by the search engines continue to evolve, as well.
Then, there are the constantly changing wants, needs, and preferences of your customers. You’ve got to accommodate them because you know your competitors are.
Consequently, putting off the audit that can reveal the fine-tuning or major overhaul that your site needs puts you at risk of losing market share — even just months out from the last time you reviewed the site.
Websites and the COVID Reset
Great strides are being made in ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, there’s no question that its effects will linger. Businesses of all kinds are reviewing their operations in light of everything from evolving legal requirements on capacities and social distancing to new expectations on cleaning and sanitization from their customers.
This “reset” is another reason that a website audit is critical right now. For example, is your site making it clear that you’re open for business? Is it easy to find what your hours are? Do you emphasize the steps you’re taking to maintain a safe environment?
And, have you added new website functionality to align with your changing business model? At a restaurant, for example, if you’re shifting away from sit-down dining and putting more emphasis on takeout, have you implemented or enhanced features that make it easy for customers to place orders and understand the pick-up process?
Now, more than ever, getting a fresh perspective on the effectiveness of your website is critical.
Benefits of a Website Audit
What can you expect to get from an audit? How will your website and your business benefit from the assessment and the corrective actions it indicates?
There are many ways, including:
- A faster site that makes Google and your customers happy
- More intuitive navigation that helps visitors find what they need
- A higher ranking in the search results that sends more traffic your way
- A fix for broken links and other site structure problems
- Enhanced security and less risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information
- An increased conversion rate and stronger sales pipeline
- Full ADA compliance and greater accessibility
- Recovery from SEO penalties
All these improvements ultimately benefit your bottom line. Plus, getting an audit and acting on the results should give you powerful peace of mind that your website is doing all it can to help your business thrive.
Free Audit. Priceless Insight.
At Current360, we offer a free website audit to help you understand where your site is succeeding and where some changes could improve this essential customer interface. And while you may never know how many additional people found your company or decided to become customers because of the resulting enhancements you make, if even one does, you’ve come out ahead!
Contact us today so we can talk about your site and get an audit scheduled!