The impact of a website audit

“What you don’t know, you don’t know!”

Many companies are either comfortable with their websites performance, or don’t believe it matters (or don’t know!). Then there are business owners who think the website could do better but don’t know how, or have been burned by third parties in the past.

Those that are happy with their websites perhaps should ask a few questions:

  • How do I measure success, and against whose comparable metric?
  • Do I know all the impacts the digital environment has on my business?
  • Do I believe everything I am told by a supplier I am paying?

For the business owner with suspicions, the questions are similar, but more critical.

  • Which parts of the website don’t work, and how to correct them?
  • How do I “read” what’s going on with the website?
  • How do I measure improvement?

Website audits tend to look at a standard set of issues. A websites performance is judged against external, reliable benchmarks. Core issues are considered i.e. website speed, service delivery, call to actions, conversion. Design and navigation structures are considered against the tested, known best practise.

This means recommendations based on effective, proven solutions can at times conflict with what a business owner thinks “looks right”. Content effectiveness is assessed resulting in recommendations on how to amend styles and formatting to drive impact.  Content should generate engagement, sharing and moving to the next stage of conversion to customer. Content should not just be a company shouting about its claimed skills.

Call to actions, and the method for measuring/judging success come under scrutiny. This can result in new ways of reviewing the impact of digital activity and introduces new data into the business. The benchmarks, and measurement methods give business owners the means to make future judgements of success.

The technical structures are assessed by their impact on the performance search engines “care about.” Site speed, and page performance has a critical impact on organic traffic (SEO) as well as (reducing) the cost of paid ads. Speed and usability impact engagement and conversion on a website so it’s critical the “engine is tuned.” The technical audits can lead to scrutiny of suppliers such as web development agencies. The appropriateness of solutions, the build methods, templates, and housekeeping used to create and maintain websites are all considered against the commercial worth of making changes. 

The website audits also look at traffic sources and conversion/objectives. This results in planning for improvements, within the abilities/budgets/resources of the business owner. 

DigitalCity website audits have led to major changes for businesses:

  • Traffic, enquiry, and online sales improvements.
  • Focused content plans, linked to lean communication strategies.
  • Supplier management; getting value for money out of relationships.
  • Knowledge: assessing key issues, interpret metrics and test new ideas with confidence.
  • New platform solutions to delivering services or converting traffic.

The key result of a website audit is knowledge. Plus an understanding that simply building a website is less than half the real work!

Written by:

David Ranby
Director of Braid Consulting