© Digital Storyteller 2020
© Digital Storyteller 2020
The same way that your own health sometimes requires a little TLC or a trip to the doctor’s office for extra attention, your site does too. Website health is dependent on a number of factors that aren’t always consistent.
Building a healthy website, to begin with, is obviously the goal but even the most perfectly produced sites will likely need to be updated through a site audit.
Having a website whose health has dropped since its last back-end audit could be the reason why visitors may not visit your site. Be it slow page loading speed, decreased search engine visibility, or images that don’t load properly, you want to avoid any potential visitors deciding NOT to visit your site.
If you built or own a website and haven’t conducted a full site health audit, take this as a sign that you probably should.
OK, so you understand at this point that site audits are good and you should do them, but what are they? According to HubSpot, “a website audit is an examination of page performance prior to large-scale search engine optimization (SEO) or a website redesign. Auditing your website can determine whether or not it’s optimized to achieve your traffic goals, and if not, how you can improve it to increase performance.”
Conducting a site audit can help you answer why your site traffic is at the level that it is, what about your site might be confusing or inaccessible to your site visitors, and what, if any, technical issues exist within your site.
Once the various issues have been identified, the second challenge begins: fixing them.
One critical reason that you may want to perform a site audit is to improve your page loading speeds. 40% of searchers will leave a site that doesn’t load in three seconds. Don’t let your site be one of those that loses visitors simply due to slow page loading speed.
The outcomes of a site audit can be critical to improving the performance of your site. 79% of web users visit online retailers that deliver high-performance and user-friendly experiences.
Websites can be manually audited and reviewed if you choose to do so. That being said, helpful tools, such as Semrush, exist to support the process of a website audit.
Overall, HubSpot suggests four main assessments to make when auditing your website. They include the following:
You want to ensure that your site is maximized for usability. Simply having a website isn’t enough. Your site should be a helpful resource for searchers to reference and visit to gain the information that they’re looking for.
Identifying the questions that your ideal audience is asking is a key starting point. From there, work backward to ensure that your site clearly answers those questions.
Overall, the navigability of your site should help point users in the right direction to have their questions answered. Website performance and traffic are often determined by the ease of access of your site. A confusing and complicated site is not fun to navigate and will likely lead to a high bounce rate, and we certainly don’t want that.
Speed also plays a role in your site’s performance, as mentioned above. Nobody has the patience to sit there twiddling their thumbs waiting for a page to load. They may be wondering, is it my phone connection? Or maybe my WiFi is down?
It won’t take them long to realize, nope, it’s just a slow site. Users won’t think twice about jumping back to the search engine results page (SERP) and picking the next ranked site, jumping off of yours.
While optimizing the performance of your website, as noted above, is a critical aspect of site health, you also want to ensure that the content on your site is high quality as well.
Ensuring that your site features content that appeals to both your viewers and search engines is key. As we always say at Digital Storyteller, we write for humans and optimize for bots.
While you want to be sure to avoid keyword stuffing, dropping relevant keywords throughout your on-page copy in addition to blog posts is critical. Keywords help tell search engine algorithms what you’re talking about so that they can show your content to the right searchers.
A site audit is a great opportunity to review SEO elements such as URL slugs, meta descriptions, alt tags, page titles, copy, etc. Make sure it’s all there, makes sense, and targets relevant keywords.
While traffic and optimized content are an important part of having a great site, it means nothing if you’re not getting conversion out of it. I mean you don’t NEED good conversion rates… But that’s kinda the whole point of running a business website, no?
First things first, does your site have clear calls to action? A call to action is a deliberate action you request your visitors to take. It may include a button, form fill, information request, download, what have you.
Including clear calls to action throughout your site is critical to ensure that it’s clear what you want your visitors to do. So, they read your article and browsed through your team bio pictures, now what? Call us, contact us, download our brochure, follow us on social media, tell your friends, whatever it is, make it clear what you want them to do!
A technical perspective involves the three previously mentioned assessments as well. Once you’ve identified potential errors, you want to work through improving them.
Technical assessments may include ensuring that your site is responsive and mobile-friendly. Since 2017, mobile searches account for more than half of all page visits. This considered you want to be sure that your site looks the way it should and loads properly whether on a desktop or mobile device.
You also want to ensure that your site isn’t producing any error messages. Utilizing Google’s Webmaster Tools can be helpful in identifying and cleaning up any error messages.
Lastly, ensuring that your website is properly structured may likely have an effect on how it’s optimized and crawled by search engines. Site structure is important when it comes to ease of access and usability for searchers, but it also determines how search engines and bots view your site as well. If internal pages are not linked to other pages within your site, search engines may have a difficult time indexing them as such.
Overall, your site health may be a make or break of the success of your website. Conducting regular site audits can help pinpoint where your site can be improved and which factors may be leading to negative results on your website.
Conducting a site audit is hardly a walk in the park but is well worth the investment to ensure that your site is producing as much traffic as possible with positive conversion rates.
Our Digital Storyteller team operates full organic marketing strategies built and designed custom to fit your company’s needs. We implement a combination of social media, content, and SEO strategies to build the strongest organic outreach possible. We ensure that we are verifying the site health of our clients by conducting regular site audits and SEO research.
For more information or to get started with our team, call or contact us today.
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