Should I get a Website Audit ?

We all know we need to get our car checked for the annual WOF and we usually do this when we have the car serviced. Like your car, your website can deteriorate over time without proper care and attention. Many of us just do not have the time and often forget about our website once it is up and running. Unlike the signage for the business, it is not in front of us all the time. A broken or tagged sign gets rectified because we see it.

Getting your website serviced can save you repairs and downtime but more importantly can get you more revenue.  A poorly performing website can be seen by some visitors as a sign that the business is not current or even worse is closed. Either way they move on to another site and your competitor gets this revenue, this can be the biggest cost to not doing it and it is one you do not see!. Take my hairdresser for example she was telling me that on her site she was getting around 5 to 8 bookings from new people every 2 weeks. But now she was lucky to see one new inquiry a week! Now if an average spend for her was $65 then that was a minimum of $15600 dollars of NEW  business she was losing a year. How much does your average new customer spend with you!

If you have read this far maybe you can see my point. Read on for more detailed information

Your Website Is Slow

People are lazy, if your website takes longer than 5 seconds to load you’ll probably see a higher bounce rate, lower pages per session, and a higher cart abandonment rate on e-commerce sites. All this means is that your competitors are getting your business.  Google and other search engines recognize this and site speed is a ranking factor, so you may be able to gain even more than you think. Google has a Page Speed Tool which will give you insights into the current level of optimization on your website.

During an audit, we look at many factors that can impact on this. Some of the most common causes of slow load speed are

  • Properly formatting and compressing images (think of those 2mb images cooped up on your blog posts).
  • Reducing the number of redirects – this creates additional HTTP requests and slows load time.
  • Minifying JS and CSS files by eliminating unnecessary characters and comments from the CSS.
  • Reviewing the number of plugins on your site – one for all you plugin junkies out there

Your Users Can’t Navigate Your Website Properly

When you‘re looking at your website all day every day, you will have no problem navigating the site. Actually, do you look at your website at all! Some of the more frequent issues  are

  • Too many items in the navigation bar,  keep the number of tabs in your main menu to a minimum. Use dropdowns or images on the home page to direct users.
  • Too many clicks, this is referred to as overlinking No More than 3 clicks to get to their desired page (2 is better) THEY WILL GET BORED OR FRUSTRATED AND MOVE ON TO ANOTHER SITE. This also applies to search engines, which are less likely to crawl hard to reach pages.
  • Every page should have a clear way to return to the homepage (clickable logo etc).
  • Overload of information on the homepage that dilutes useful information. Use the home page to direct users giving snippets of information the encourage them to look further or call you
  • Make it easy to be contacted. Phone Numbers and emails should link to diallers and email hosts.
  • Chat and other pop-ups. Sure sue them sparingly and get them to disappear so that the user can see the website.

Your Website SEO needs some work 

The complexity and the sheer number of factors involved with SEO mean that an audit must cover a wide range of potential issues. Some of these are

  • Content may be thin:  this refers to content that is not relevant anymore. After all, businesses grow and develop so the website must reflect these developments. Content may need updating, redirecting, or removing.
  • Images not properly tagged – Google does not see the image but does see the tags, and descriptions. Without this, you are losing SEO opportunities
  • Meta issues – ensuring all pages have unique and relevant metadata. Yes this one is really Geeky but is important
  • Headers – Ensuring H1’s 2’s and 3’s are used properly throughout the site. Again Geeky but important
  • Mobile responsiveness – Google recognises that mobile traffic is important and now penalises non mobile friendly sites. Not to mention the user if they can not see you properly on their phone then they are gone.\
  • URL structures – ensuring all your pages have proper URL structures.
  • Duplicate content – Identifying and rectifying any pages with similar or identical content.
  • Broken links – both external and internal 404’s will need to be rectified/redirected.

Your Website May be Hurting Your Ranking 

Older websites may have taken part or worked with SEO companies that provided them with, what is known as, black hat SEO methods. These practices are against the search engine’s terms of service and can result in the site being banned from the search engine and affiliate sites. Some of the techniques used include

  • Doorway Pages
  • Hidden Text or Links
  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Reporting a Competitor (or Negative SEO)
  • Sneaky Redirects 

All of these methods may have worked to increase rankings and traffic at the time – but websites that partook may now find themselves being hit with penalties from search engines as their algorithms become more intelligent.

A site audit can identify and correct anything that can lead to a penalisation before it does, or rectifies the cause of the penalisation should the site be hit with one.

Free Audits 

You are aware that there are a lot of free audits available and there is no harm in using these as a starting point. We have all googled the symptoms of COVID 19 but we do not try to self diagnose we recognise that these symptoms mean we need a proper test.  Remember you get what you pay for so these can be a lot less effective than a proper audit. These online audits are free for the most part and give a reasonably accurate high-level insight of your website’s performance – they are generic, simple and can be misleading or confusing to somebody without the expert guidance to properly rectify any issues they throw up. Do you have the time to learn how to fix these?

Prefer a professional Audit over a DIY approach? 

For small sites (under 10 pages) w suggest auditing your site annually. Booking your car for its WOF boof your website at the same time. For larger sites every 6 months at least for the first year. Just had your new site go live a site audit can identify and resolve any immediate issues and help the new site be indexed faster.

Audits are invaluable, but they take time and require expert guidance to be effective. If you think it’s time for your sites WOF, or you’ve noticed a big drop in traffic and rankings – we can help, we understand that no two businesses are the same so no two audits are the same – so we’ll tailor yours to suit your business goals.

Drop me an email info@web8.co.nz or call me on 0225431080.

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