How to Conduct a Website Audit for the New Year

conducting a website auditHopefully, one of the things you want to accomplishing in 2013, or even in early 2013, is to improve the user experience of your website. Improving the user experience can mean a variety of things i.e. fixing site navigation, redesigning the site, adding extra features such as social media connections or a slideshow. Those sorts of improvements may already be known and planned for, but while you're at it, you might want to conduct a website audit to find other, smaller improvements that could be made. Here's how to conduct such an audit for the new year:

Look at Every Existing Page (Except Blog Posts)

Your business blog is a completely separate beast, and ought to be treated with its own audit and improvements. This website audit looks at the static pages, such as your service pages, your about us page etc. When looking at each of these pages, you want to double check the following things:

  • Spelling and Grammar Errors
  • Formatting - This would include pictures, subheadings, and text length, as these are typically things that might not be found on older pages, or could use updating to reflect current best practices.
  • Call to Action - Does every page have one, or have one that's relevant? Is there perhaps a more relevant action that you created that could go on the page?
  • Hyperlinks - You want to make sure all of them work and that each page has a hyperlink or two. You might also find opportunities to link to pages that didn't exist when the original page was created.
  • Subtractions - Is there anything that needs to be removed, such as mentions of old products, outdated coupons, obsolete offers etc.
  • Other Improvements - Were there improvements that were planned, but never executed? Make note of those so they can be completed.

Take Notes and Plan Improvements

It's not enough just to say, "I need to do this and I need to add that." Changes need to be recorded, and then planned for execution, especially if you have previous improvements that were supposed to be completed but never were. Make an effort to get the improvements completed throughout the month of January, say fixing one page per day or making three changes per week. Of course, your schedule would depend on how many improvements you need to make, and whether or not you can assign someone to handle these changes. Below are a few tips to help facilitate this process:

  • Be as Specific as Possible - "Improve web content" could mean a whole lot of things. Instead, it's better to say, "Add a paragraph and subheading explaining X", or "change the call to a free consultation."
  • Have a Reason for Each Change - Don't make changes because it's the new year, or because the content has been there a while and could be something fresher. If it's not broken, then there's no need to change it. Therefore, find out what's broken about what it is you want ot change. Has the call to action not been as successful as hoped? That's a good reason to switch it. Is the text just paragraph after paragraph with no formatting of any kind? Sounds like it could use subheadings and revisions.
  • Consider Additional Preparations - If one of your improvements is to change the call to action, or perhaps to improve the CTA buttons, do you have offers and new buttons ready to go? If not, then make sure to consider the time it would take to get those ready. You don't want to be preparing those as you are making changes to the website.
  • Think about When You're Making the Changes - Granted, you work normal business hours, but that's also probably when your website gets the most traffic. Thus, normal business hours might not be the best time to make all these changes. Perhaps they need to be done before opening or after closing, or even on the weekend.

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