Do you want to improve your business site’s online presence? Conducting a website audit pinpoints where to improve your site and brand. It’s a way to analyze your site’s performance through metrics, such as content, design, search engine optimization, site ranking, and usability.
You might be wondering what exactly a website audit is. It’s a great way to perform a health checkup on your site. It provides a detailed analysis of your website’s performance, search engine ranking, and speed. The process is straightforward: figure out why you want to audit your site, which ones work best for your scenario, and conduct them.
So we’re going to run through each type of website audit, before discussing our top three tools to help you on your way!
Why should you conduct a website audit?
What are your website’s goals and what are your expectations of the audit, via BBS Corp.
Before getting started on your website audit, ask yourself and your web development team why do you want to conduct an audit? If you can, gather feedback on your business site from your marketing team too. This process helps you figure out areas of improvement and prioritize site issues based on your scenario.
Your website audit checklist
Imagine you’re a physician and put on your stethoscope. Use the following checklist of questions to help diagnose the patient: your website.
When conducting an audit, be sure you create a website audit checklist, via Blue Hills Digital.
- What are the goals of my website and brand?
- What is going well and where can it improve?
- Is my website easy to use?
- Are visitors interested in my site’s content?
- Is our site consistent with our branding?
- Is my site easy to find on search engines?
- How does it compare to the competition?
Based on your answers to these questions, you can start to determine the goals of your website audit. Are you looking to improve search engine rankings to increase your online presence, solve usability problems, or simply rebranding your business? As you go along your audit, it’s a good idea to periodically refer to the general audit checklist we’ve provided above.
The 8 types of website audits
Ready to conduct an audit? How about five? You should do as many types of website audits according to which apply to your brand.
1. Design/UX audit
Looking to improve your website’s design and user experience? A design and usability audit explores how user-friendly your site is. It helps ensure clear, intuitive navigation and distinguishes the site’s call to action (CTA).
Are your fonts easy to read? If not, users become confused and leave. A visually compelling, intuitive site keeps your visitors engaged and increase the chances of them returning. What about responsivity? Are your visitors complaining about having different experiences on desktop and mobile versions of your business site?
The best way to uncover usability problems such as these is through conducting usability testing. You basically observe consumers (aka your target audience) perform tasks on your website, noting their pleasure and pain points of the process. For instance, is it taking too long for them to purchase a product? Schedule interviews with them to find out more areas of improvement, get to know your audience better, and learn their behaviors online.
2. Brand audit
A brand audit checks if your brand and website goals are aligned and test the strength of your marketing strategy. If they’re not on the same page, visitors might feel a disconnect between your brand and site and that’s the last thing we need!
You want to make sure your website is attracting your target audience; if you run a modern clothing store, your target audience likely consists of trendy fashionistas. So you conduct a brand audit to ascertain whether or not your site is appealing to them. Focus on your brand identity, beliefs and services, and seeing if that matches up with what your audience cares about.
A brand audit also covers the customer experience of your site. Think of it as a measuring device, which lets you know the number of happy (and not so happy) customers. If you’re planning on redesigning your site, a brand audit is a great way to highlight areas of improvement to focus on.
3. SEO audit
Before setting out on your SEO audit, ask yourself are you unhappy with your site traffic? Could you be happier with it? A successful search engine optimization (SEO) audit significantly enhances your website’s visibility on search engines, boosting conversion rate. This could lead to new customers for your business or make you more discoverable to recruiters to help you land your next job opportunity.
Mockup of an SEO agency, by Adam Muflihun.
Doing an SEO audit means scanning your site’s conversion and retention rates. A conversion rate measures the percentage of users who accomplish an actionable goal on your website. For example, if 30 out of 100 site visitors buy shoes on your ecommerce platform, that’s a 30% conversion rate. The retention rate is measured by comparing the number of people who visit your site again over a period of time.
Both are valuable metrics, especially for business and ecommerce sites. An SEO audit illustrates where your conversions are coming from and how well your site converts users to customers or repeat visitors. Higher numbers translate to better brand loyalty and can provide insight on how many people trust your business.
This audit can implement a tracking tool, known as a crawler, which monitors your site’s keyboards and traffic. Keywords are terms that describe your site’s content to search engines. The better use of keywords on your website, the more likely people are to find your website. Effective keywords can drive more traffic to your site.
An SEO audit also uses tags to measure your site’s performance—but what exactly do we mean by ‘tags’? Well, a description tag provides a short summary of your site; whereas you can think of image tags as teachers telling web servers how to properly render images on your site An SEO audit uses your image tags to measure image load times. Title tags specify the title of a webpage and search engines use them to identify pages, so it’s critical to ensure keywords are used in your title tags for better visibility.
One other question to ask yourself for this type of website audit is are other websites linking to yours, which could build credibility for your brand? SEO audits analyze backlinks, which show how connected your site is to other websites. If businesses and people are linking to your website, that means many people find your content compelling.
4. Technical audit
Worried about your website’s security or protecting visitors’ private information? A technical audit ensures your site is up to date on SSL (secure sockets layer) security, which is standardized technology for creating encrypted, safe connections online. It verifies you and your users’ information are kept privately and securely, so it’s vital to do this type of website audit regularly to keep you and your users safe online.
Illustration by OrangeCrush
But it’s not all about security in a technical audit—it also measures your website’s page and image load times. If the files you’re rendering in your design are too large, they’ll severely affect loading times.
If you think about it, how many times do we leave websites when they take too long to load? Slow, unresponsive websites repel visitors (not ideal). A technical audit can highlight where to optimize your website’s code for faster page load times, which makes your site easier to access for those who do not have high-speed internet connections. Conducting a technical audit also checks for any broken links your site may have by scanning each link on every page.
5. Content audit
You might consider a content audit to ensure your site is digestible, engaging, and easy to navigate. It also checks for grammar and spelling mistakes.
A content audit scans your webpages for consistent language, grammar and tone. Have you ever left a website because it was hard to understand or poorly written? This is why language and tone are so important. It can also increase your site appeal to more audiences. By auditing your site’s tone, visitors are more likely to stay tuned to your site. You might want to use this as an opportunity to analyze how your tone aligns with your brand.
A content audit analyzes your page’s language and readability, by chrisandee.
Content audits also look at how your content is structured. Is there a clear hierarchy and logical page structure? I don’t enjoy looking at cluttered webpages and I’m guessing neither do you. Organized content gives your site focus. It simplifies navigation and lets your audience consume your content without feeling overwhelmed.
Speaking of which, maybe you’ve been mesmerized by websites with engaging interactive elements, such as games, animation and video. But they must be implemented in moderation, you don’t want these fun elements to be too distracting, especially from the CTA, incase they border on being plain annoying to users. A content audit can measure the effectiveness of these elements while uncovering your audiences preferences.
6. Competitive analysis
Conducting competitive analysis is a type of website audit to indicate what you’re doing that makes you shine above competitors—and what you’re not doing. is a fantastic opportunity to turn this information into motivation for differentiating your brand from the competition. It provides a barometer for your website, especially for business-oriented ones, and HubSpot actually offers a free competitive analysis template.
So what exactly does it do? Well the clue is in the name. Conducting competitive analysis allows you to compare how well your site’s rank and SEO compares to the competition using data and metrics. Use it to work out how to make your site more visible to audiences and find out what it is that competitors are offering that is helping them outperform you (or not).
So a good question to ask during your audit is how well does your site’s rank and SEO compare to the competition? Successful competitive analysis provides great insights using data and metrics. What makes them more visible than other competitors? After conducting the competitive analysis, think about ways to make your site more visible.
A competitive analysis looks at the pros and cons of your site and its competitors. Through this data, you can create an actionable plan to keep up with or even surpass your competition.
7. Accessibility audit
Wouldn’t it be fascinating to have more users from different backgrounds to experience your site? Having an accessible website widens your website’s audience and speeds up the flow of information. This process involves checking your website for ADA compliance, which verifies if those with disabilities can comfortably use your website. This audit also analyzes color contrast for audiences with visibility impairments and checks readability for color blind users. Include alt text on images so users who use a screen reader can understand your content. Page optimization for faster load times also make your website more accessible for those with slower internet connections.
8. Social media audit
Volvo has a strong social media presence for both potential customers and owners, via Volvo Cars.
If you’re a SMB not yet on social media, you better have some solid reasoning behind it. As of January, 2022, over half (58.4%) of the world’s entire population are using some form of it, according to GWI.
A social media audit can help attract new audiences and expand your brand globally. The more your global network and outreach grows, the greater the chance of increasing revenue and sales for your business. Plus, you never know if your product or service could take off in a new market!
This audit also helps you to make sure your social media links on your website are relevant. If your business is on multiple social media platforms, an audit can help determine which ones are best suited for your brand. The audit measures metrics based on engagement, audience, and social media content.
Social media provides an exciting way to increase engagement with your content, including articles, blogs, and videos. Auditing your social profiles can help you better optimize your social media posts for greater reach, engagement, and higher quality content.
Tools to conduct your audits
There are many different tools that conduct website audits for you. Some are free and others charge based on the number of webpages. Using these tools is a great way to audit your site. It also is a faster, time-friendly option and can crawl deeper than manual audits. Here are the three best auditing tools we handpicked to help cover your auditing needs!
Screenshot of Ahrefs dashboard for a website audit, via Ahrefs.
- Ahrefs features a suite of auditing tools, which examine your website’s code for errors, page optimization, and broken links. It also scans your HTML and social tags. Ahrefs uses a crawler, which is a bot designed to index web pages for search engines, to determine the best ways to optimize your site for SEO. They offer tiered pricing plans starting at $99 USD a month, with use cases ranging from personal sites and small businesses to ecommerce platforms. Ahrefs is an excellent choice if you want better ranking and visibility.
DeepCrawl is a leader in enterprise SEO, via DeepCrawl.
Site Analyzer audits SEO, content, design, performance, and even accessibility, via Site Analyzer.
3. Site Analyzer is another fantastic website auditing service, which analyzes your website’s content, design, SEO and performance. This service is better suited for optimizing design and content quality. It’s delightful to see they audit accessibility, which is a great way to make your website more inclusive. They have a proven track record, averaging a 42% increase of SEO traffic in 2 months. Site Analyzer features individual page analysis. This feature scans each webpage on your site for commonly used search terms, known as key words. Site Analyzer offers rank tracking to see how you compare to competitors. They offer several paid plans covering a diverse range of customers.
You can conduct a website audit by yourself, which is a solid option if you have the time to do so. You may also save money by doing it yourself instead of using auditing tools while gaining a deeper understanding of your audience and brand. It’s even more important if you’re going to do-it-yourself to make sure you’re armed with your checklist beforehand to stay on track.
As you implement revisions after auditing your site, be sure to periodically take a step back and ask your team about the progress. If you want worry-free site maintenance, consider using automated maintenance platforms. These tools automate routine website maintenance services, such as alerting you of broken links and updating any themes or plugins if your site uses WordPress. They include automated security measures such as automatic SSL certification updates and 24/7 malware and virus scanning. WP Buffs is a popular automated service for WordPress sites. They provide automated site backups, always-on security, and emergency web support. Expect to pay at least $80 USD monthly for their services.
Moving on from your website audit
Once you’ve successfully conducted your website audit, the next step is to implement these findings on your website. Share your website audit checklists and problems with site admins, designers, and your marketers to ensure goal alignment. Ask for feedback. Talk to your developers and those who maintain your site about up-to-date maintenance. Auditing is an iterative process. Do not be afraid to revisit and take a step backward to go forward with your website—it’s all part of the fun.