When performing a website audit, having a checklist of the elements that really matter can be useful.
Like anything in life, website audits can seem difficult at first if you’re not sure where to start. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the aspects of your site that matter the most, such as SEO and load speeds.
Having a website audit checklist will not only give the whole process a sense of direction, but it will also ensure that the things that need to be done are checked off.
Website audit checklists also keep things efficient. Think about it: with a checklist, you won’t be spending any time doing things that aren’t as important to your site, as you’ll be too busy checking off items from the list itself.
Before You Start Your Website Audit Checklist
However, I’m aware that coming up with such a checklist can be a difficult endeavor, especially if you aren’t a tech specialist or the like. Even then, how can you know what areas matter when it comes to your site? Well, there’s a simple answer for that: by their relevance to customer experience and website visibility.
In a website audit checklist, certain things should be checked off first. For example, a site that has great visibility but doesn’t load is of no use to the owner nor the visitor, right? Some business owners prefer to pick the ‘easier’ items first, but in this guide, there won’t be any particular order—so feel free to mix and match as you go along.
Before we get into our recommended website audit checklist for your site, it’s important to know what an audit checklist is as well as why it’s important that you use one on your site regularly. The next section gets right into this, but feel free to skip over it if you already have a basic understanding of what website audits are.
What Are Website Audits and How Can a Checklist Help Me?
Website audits an inspection of your website. At least, that’s as simple as it gets. For the purpose of this article, we’ll be focusing on a broader type of audit to ensure that all core functions are working as intended. Some people prefer to go in-depth into fixing every issue their site is, and that’s okay.
Website Audit Checklist: The Essentials!
However, before you can start fixing overly specific aspects of your site, you’ll have to fix immediate issues. These issues include website readability, security vulnerabilities and the like, as they impact users who visit your site more than anything else.
Let’s get right into some things you should focus on when performing a website audit.
Website Audit Checklist: Can Visitors Get to and Use Your Website?
There’s no point in doing SEO or making your site as pretty as possible if visitors can’t even reach it. This is why the first item in your website audit checklist should be to ensure that visitors and get to and use your website to its fullest extent. This includes:
- Load Speeds. When evaluating your website, the speed at which your website loads should no doubt be the number thing you do. This is because visitors aren’t going to wait more than a few seconds for your page to load, and research shows it.
- Error Messages. Like load speeds, error messages are just as important. If your website is giving error messages, no one is going to be able to visit it! Click around links on your site to ensure that none of them leads you to an error message. It’ll spare you from a headache later on.
- Indexing. Can your visitors find your site? Indexing is the process that lets people find your site—a well-configured robots.txt file is the key to having a well-indexed website.
- Website Design. Think back to the early 2000s. Compared to today’s standards, websites were terrible when it came to their design. Well, visitors hold your website to the same standards. Make sure your website isn’t torture to your visitor’s eyes, at the least.
Website Audit Checklist: Is Your Content Organic and Appropriate?
After taking care of your website’s accessibility and usability issues, you’ll have to take care of your website’s content. This is because after visitors land on your website and start reading your blog posts or recent news, they’re going to click away if the content isn’t readable. Here are a few things to consider when checking off the content aspect of your checklist:
- Grammatical errors. When it comes to website content, the first thing you’ll need to focus on fixing are grammar issues. That’s because grammatical errors not only make your site look unprofessional, but they can also make you look like a scammer. Would you read gibberish? I hope not.
- Duplicate content. Having duplicate content will hurt your site before it has a chance to help it. Google despises it, as do visitors. It also makes you look lazy. So don’t do it! Instead, merge articles if needed.
- Ad use. No one likes having pop-ups all over their face when they visit your site. It ruins the visitor’s experience and doesn’t let the visitor enjoy your content. Make sure you’re keeping ad use to a minimum, at least in its visual aspects.
- Engaging content. Passive voice in articles can be quite problematic, as they can make readers feel like they’re reading a newspaper. Instead of using generalized phrases in content, use active nouns and adverbs. That way, the reader feels as if they’re in a conversation, not reading an article.
Website Audit Checklist: Is Your Site SEO Optimized?
Now that you’ve gotten the more user-focused areas of your website checked off, it’s time to deal with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, SEO allows your site to gain more visitors by making your site show up closer to the first page in search engines. Here are a few guidelines you should follow when it comes to SEO’ing your website:
- Apply keyword analysis. Keyword research and analysis is one of the most important, if not the most important aspect of SEO. This is because, without keywords, Google won’t know what niche your website fits into and won’t show it to potential visitors even when they enter a search term related to your site.
- Make sure your site runs on HTTPS. With data breaches getting increasingly threatening as the year progresses, it’s important to have the cybersecurity aspect of your website covered. This is not the only consequence of running on the antique HTTP, though, as Google has started cracking down on sites that haven’t switched to a secure protocol.
- Do some guest blogging. Believe it or not, guest blogging is still an effective way of building domain authority and increasing your page rank on search engines. It can even get you some customers!
After getting these three aspects of your checklist checked off, your site should have greatly improved in terms of its usability, content, and even SEO rank. Just remember: a website audit is something that is meant to be regularly done.
Think about it this way: a car needs regular maintenance to operate at maximum potential, right? Your site is no exception.