Auditing your website is an essential step in ensuring that your online presence is secure, user-friendly, and visible to your target audience.
Your website is the face of your business in the digital world, and any issues with it can harm your reputation and bottom line.
At least that's what Chat GPT told me. But IRL, as the kids say, there are some good reasons why you should audit your website.
- You're considering investing in a full rebuild. An audit could steer you in a different direction.
- Maybe you're looking for a friendly group of developers to take over support of your site (cough cough). An audit would make you more prepared to discuss your needs with your new vendor.
- You're prepping for a new marketing push and want to see if your website is ready.
- Your marketing KPIs aren't what you think they ought to be, and you don't know why.
If you've never audited a site and it feels daunting, worry not. We've got a few easy, fast, and free tactics you can use to get a handle on your site's health.
Five steps you can take right now
1. The first thing to check is the versions of critical software that your site uses.
This includes things like content management system (CMS), plugins, app framework (if applicable), and PHP. If you have a site on a CMS, this should be easy to do. If you have a custom app, you may need to get your developer to do it for you, but it's a quick thing for them to check. Keeping your software up to date is a great way to ensure that your site is running smoothly and free from security vulnerabilities.
2. Another important step in website auditing is to verify your site with Google Search Console (GSC).
If you haven't already done so, do it. GSC has a ton of features for marketers and site managers to take advantage of. At a minimum, use it to assess your sitemap indexing, potential mobile usability issues, and search performance. You can also use it to identify and fix broken links on your website.
In less than one minute, you'll get scores with actionable steps that can be taken to improve issues. Now, this is far from the end all be all to performance monitoring, but it's an excellent way to find quick wins for your site. If you're non-technical, it doesn't matter. All you really need to understand is that if you notice a lot of red in your report, that's a sign you should share it with your developers. They'll have the know-how to identify and fix the real issues.
4. Website security is also an essential aspect of auditing your site.
One way to analyze your site's security is to use https://securityheaders.com. This free tool (are you noticing a pattern here?) provides a detailed analysis of your site's security headers, which are essential for protecting your site from various types of attacks. If you notice any issues, you should work with your web developer and make a plan to address them.
5. Finally, speaking with your users, including both site visitors and your team, is critical in auditing your website.
Your visitors can provide valuable feedback on your site's functionality, usability, and content. However, that may not always be possible. But what is possible is talking to the people that maintain your site on a daily or weekly basis. Your developers are going to have a list of things they've always wanted to improve and your content editors will let you know about all the frustrations they have editing the site. You can use this feedback to make informed decisions about how to improve your site's user experience and content model.
Before you make any large investment in your website, auditing it is a slam-dunk thing to do. We've had a lot of success extending the shelf life of our client's websites through the things we uncovered in audits. All while improving performance, accessibility, and quality of life for content editors. And now you can too.
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Director of Operations
Patrick embodies our Be Nice, Do Good philosophy with a blend of buttoned-up professional and southern hospitality.