If you found this post, it's likely because your website isn’t performing the way it should. Your number of leads or web sales may be down, customers and prospects might not be engaging with your content, or maybe your site is still stuck in 2002!
Today’s websites are big, complicated channels and are critical to your business success. How important? Consider the chart below from Thomas For Industry. In a recent survey, 73% of respondents indicated the website as the number one tool industrial buyers pay attention to. And, according to HubSpot, your website influences 97% of clients’ purchasing decisions.
How to start updating your website? An audit.When new clients come to us with website challenges, more often than not we start by recommending a site audit for a few key reasons. For starters, an audit can pinpoint problem areas along with the severity. Having this knowledge can focus your efforts and budget on those areas that will deliver the greatest return.
Additionally, a well-executed audit can help you determine how much more mileage you can get from your existing site and when to start thinking about starting fresh. For consideration, the average lifespan of a website is about 2.7 years.
Without an audit to act as your guide and road map you may end up focusing on the wrong areas, or making simple cosmetic changes when what’s needed are major structural improvements.
Finally, an audit project is a great way to start a working relationship. It gives both parties a chance to connect and get to know one another and how both organizations work and operate. And developing the right kind of “fit” is important.
That said, I want to focus the rest of this post on three types of audits we conduct for clients so you can figure out which one is right for you.
3 Approaches to a Site Audit
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to audits. In fact, they come in a few different sizes and shapes. So to make this easy, below is a primer on some of the standard types we provide and what they do. Let’s dive in.
Technical & SEO AuditThis audit includes two elements. The technical aspect looks at the overall performance of your site. For example: page size, load times, and page speed. Additionally, this audit will help to turn up errors like broken links, duplicate content, and unlinked pages - basic foundational performance issues.
The SEO portion reviews domains and redirects for errors, examines your title tags and your meta data. And finally, it looks at keywords and identifies where there are opportunities and areas of your site that can be optimized for search engine performance.
If you are only going to go with one audit, this is the one we recommend. Given how quickly SEO elements can change, we recommend conducting this twice a year.
Content AuditGiven its importance in today’s environment it’s critical your content is timely and relevant. Broadly speaking, this audit provides insights as to:
- Which pieces of content are performing best?
- What topics is your audience connecting with…and which ones are missing the mark?
- Which pieces have grown stale?
We look for ways to identify the most engaging types of content for your audience, determine the topics in which your visitors are interested, and define the most efficient content types for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
We recommend conducting a content audit once per year at a minimum.
Heuristic AuditAlso known as an Heuristic Evaluation, this exercise focuses on creating a remarkable customer experience. It’s a user-centric approach to looking at your site and determining whether or not your site is user friendly and intuitive.
To make this exercise as effective as possible we like to understand the business goals and the role your site plays within them. For example, are you trying to sell a specific product or get students to enroll in a program?
Armed with this knowledge, we can begin to look at the issues that are preventing the desired goal from happening and provide recommendations for solving the problem.
This can be conducted once per year.
Next stepsEach audit is important and sheds light on a key part of your site. Taken individually you will get solid insights as to what areas are working and those in need of improvement. But combining these key audit types into an overall site evaluation will provide you with a full and robust outlook of your entire website.
In terms of investment – your pricing will vary based on the size of your site and how deep into the site you want to go. Our tech and SEO audits usually start at $5,000.
So, as you begin to look ahead and consider improvements to your website, think about an audit as the right first step.