You should forget the notion that your website is digital real estate because that gives credence to the thought that it is okay to keep it static. Your website is not a building. It is a living entity and if it does not grow it will grow sick and die – figuratively of course, and by die here we mean drop down the rankings in Google until you cannot be found unless through paid advertisements.
Websites need to be constantly updated, audited, and improved, and to help you start your first big overhaul and check-up all you need to do is follow this guide:
Why Do You Need to Audit Your Website?
You need to audit your website to find, locate, and eradicate issues. You will also be able to make note of areas that can be improved upon or updated so that they meet current marketing trends. This should be carried out regularly as shifts in how users react to your website should be picked up upon. You can lose traction quickly if your website fails to give people what they want, or is too slow, or is generally behaving poorly.
There are several steps involved in auditing your website so that both Google and your direct customers can benefit. Generally speaking, you are essentially conducting a clean up operation. If you’re unsure of the steps to take and how you can brush the cobwebs away from your existing interface and UX, read on.
How Do You Audit Your Website?
To audit your website, you will want to follow these steps:
Create an XML Sitemap
These are very easy to create online and can be done simply by putting in your domain name. Though they have many uses when it comes to improving your site for SEO, right now all you need to worry about are the pages. The list this sitemap will create should be full of web pages you need. If you don’t, or if there are accidental duplicates, go through and delete them. The only pages that should exist are those that are published and accessible. A clear and concise XML sitemap will help Google to prioritize your pages, so you can be sure your customers are being directed to the appropriate web pages.
Check the Quality of Your Links
Go through and check every link on your website so that you can ensure it works and goes to the right place. You will also want to improve your internal linking, especially in your blog. Link to other articles when relevant, to service pages, and so on. Too many links and your site will look crowded and false. Only include important links that will generally improve and add to user experience.
Have a Friend Test Your Site
Create a list of tasks that you need your customers to do. Check out your ‘About’ page, find a product, buy a product, contact you, etc. Have a friend or family member complete these tasks and give you feedback on how easy it was. If the answer is anything other than “very easy” work on improving the layout and flow of your site. You may be surprised at how many people will simply leave a website that is even slightly clunky to work with. People expect clear layout, a responsive interface, and a no-nonsense experience. It might be worth asking them to check how the site loads on a tablet or mobile. There’s no point having a fully functioning website for desktop users if your mobile site fails to load or work properly. This is becoming a more important factor than ever in more recent years as Google has reported that over half of mobile users now abandon sites that take over 3 seconds to load.
Test the Back End Security
Your website needs to be secure and fast. If it takes more than three seconds to load, or you are experiencing other issues with your web host, then it is time to switch providers. Opt for a reputable and established business like Krystal.co.uk instead and then work on investing in further security certificates and seals to better your website. This will show your customers you take security seriously, too, which will only go to improve your chances of sorting business with them.
How Can You Improve Your Website
Improving your website is best done after the audit. You will first want to improve the issues you have unearthed during the audit, and then go through and improve your site by:
- Clean Up Your Posts and Pages
- Improve the Internal Linking Structure
- Create a Consistent Quality Content Schedule
Your website is unique, so if you feel it needs something special to appeal more to Google or your users, then go for it. Be prepared to tweak it and adjust your strategy however, until you find the sweet spot.