Why Website Audits Matter—And How to Do Them

Aug 27, 2019 | 3  min
author Bonnie Horner

If you’ve kept up with our previous blogs, we took a deep dive into the importance of user-experience and user-interface, and how linking them together adds massive value to your web properties. We could spend hours feeding you industry tips and tricks on creating an exceptional site with impressive UX and UI, but for those of you who already have a live site, that may not be that helpful. So if you’re interested in taking your website property to the next level, let’s talk about the magic of website audit.

The concept of an audit is not novel—in fact, you’ve probably audited your site in some capacity without even knowing it. In layman’s terms, a site audit is a comprehensive assessment of the overall functionality and usability of your website. By taking an in-depth look into the elements of your site, you’ll be able to better gauge the success of your web development, design and content. It may seem simple enough to look around your website, but there’s more to the process than aimlessly clicking and scrolling through things.

Let’s break it down:

1. Gather a team

A site audit benefits from diverse perspectives. Recruit everyone from developers to graphic designers, marketing strategists, and project managers. Before you begin your audit, make sure your team consists of people with different roles so nothing gets overlooked.

2. Perform a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis measures your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Start by performing a SWOT analysis of your own site, in addition to your competitors’ sites. Really take the time to understand your organization’s best advantages and areas where you might be lacking. This will give you an idea of what to improve and what to highlight during your audit.

3. Define Your Goals

It’s important to clearly define your goals for the website before jumping into an audit. Has your goal changed? Maybe your goal before was to get more web traffic to the site, and now the goal is to promote your new services. Your goal should be the driving factor for how your website should appear and function. And don’t forget about your audience. Clearly defining your audience will ensure your website audit is moving in the right direction.

4. Start your audit

We recommend breaking your audit into 3 different categories: Usability, Design, and Content. For each webpage, make notes under each “category” about what you like, what you don’t like, and ideas for future improvements. Each person on the team should perform their own audit to ensure your site is viewed from different angles.

As you begin your walkthrough, it’s important to look through your user goggles on both desktop and mobile. Take each possible user journey, achieve user goals, fill out forms, experience your site the way your users actually do—not how you think they should. 

5. Don’t forget your analytics

LEVERAGE DATA (we cannot stress this enough). Thanks to third-party analytic platforms like Google Analytics and HotJar, you can begin looking into user activity. Check out pages with a high abandonment rate – where are users falling off? Look at heat maps – where are people clicking on important pages? Check out behavior flow charts – how are users moving through your site? 

6. Regroup with the team

Once the forms have been filled and the data has been leveraged, it’s time for feedback. Grab your team, grab a private room, and learn from each other. This is where it really matters to build a diverse team, both in terms of functional role and thought process. What did the developers think about functionality? Did your designers notice an area for improvement? How about your project managers, did they catch an issue that they experienced with a different project? 

Note: Don’t limit your feedback to internal team members! User surveys are a great way to get honest feedback from the people who access your site.

7. Review + refine

Now that you’ve heard from your team, it’s time to put that feedback into action! The end goal of an audit is to quantifiability improve your site, so take advantage of your responses to be strategic about updates to your website.

Overall, conducting a comprehensive website audit is a great way to uncover any missed opportunities, key user trends, broken links, grammatical errors, and more. It’s also a great way to make sure your users are top priority. If there’s one thing we know, it’s the fact that users tend to never use your site the way you intended them. That’s why we recommend conducting site audits consistently (not just one and done!) to make sure your property is staying functional, helpful, and in line with performance standards.

Performing a site audit can be a big task, especially if you notice some major website improvements that need to be made. Not sure where to start? We’d love to walk you through this process. Or if you need help making changes to your website, we’re happy to help take your site to the next level. Reach out to discover how we can help!

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

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