Why Do Small Businesses Need a Website Audit?
Today, a small business’ website is more often than not the centerpiece of its inbound marketing strategy. Among direct-to-consumer businesses, but increasingly so among traditionally referral-based businesses as well, a strong web presence can dramatically improve lead growth and sales. For these small businesses and others, site audits often reveal opportunities for simple improvements that can have a dramatic impact on lead generation and sales performance.
A website audit is a complete evaluation of an organisation’s website. A comprehensive website audit reviews and provides feedback on the basis of a site’s performance in several key areas, including search engine optimisation (SEO), content efficacy, basic site functionality and user experience.
As businesses interface more and more with customers virtually, websites have also become an extension of businesses’ product offering. User experience and site functionality, therefore, are tremendously important and require careful attention. Site audits can provide detailed reports on user experience and flag site features or pages that may be functioning improperly or completely broken. No matter how a site is used, routine site audits and updates are a table stakes best-practice for virtually every small business with a website.
Assessing Site Content & Search Engine Optimisation
Since its inception more than two decades ago, Google Search, which commands nearly 90% of the internet search market, has become exceptional at assessing a website’s value with respect to certain keywords. SEO audits reveal areas in which small businesses may be able to change aspects of their site, or publish new content in order to better rank for relevant keywords.
Key SEO evaluation areas:
- Site content: For most organisations, achieving strong visibility in search takes years of publishing high-quality, informative content. While highly complex, Google’s indexing algorithm prioritises sites whose content is highly valuable to the reader, longer form, easily readable and properly organised and formatted.
- Site structure: Google’s indexing algorithm crawls sites the same way people do – using the site’s page structure, hierarchy and internal linking scheme. Sites whose structure follows a cohesive, sensible page hierarchy and which incorporate helpful internal links tend to see their sites indexed better and more efficiently in search.
- Meta tags & technical proficiency: Site audits also show the extent to which a site employs appropriate and adequate meta tags, page titles and meta-descriptions for all pages and key on-page elements. Effective tagging not only ensures Google and other search engines can effectively crawl, index and rank the site, but it also increases the authority of the site’s high-value blog and page content.
- Page speed, responsiveness and mobile-friendliness: In addition to content value and site structure, Google’s indexing algorithm also places tremendous value on site versatility and functionality across multiple devices. Small businesses with limited technical expertise will find partnering with a web design agency like Total Design Works enormously advantageous in improving these more technical aspects of their site.
- Keyword strategy and implementation: While small businesses tend to have a strong grasp on who their target customer is and how their product or service fits within their broader market, identifying and implementing strong keywords can be difficult. Working with a web design agency that also specialises in brand marketing is an excellent way for small businesses to make sure their keyword strategy is sensible and effective. Total Design Works customers, for instance, rely on just one vendor to make sure their keyword strategy is technically well-executed and sensible from a branding perspective.
Evaluating User Experience (UX)
Creating a positive experience for users requires small businesses have an in-depth understanding of how users behave on their site. Site audits, therefore, take advantage of key inbound statistics to piece together a picture of user behavior, harmful conversion bottlenecks and areas for improvement. Audits of course also reflect functionality flaws and show page speed and site performance across multiple devices.
Key UX evaluation areas:
- Ease-of-use: Ease-of-use reflects how easily users can find key information, make inquiries and effectively perform other important tasks. Site speed, clear on-page direction, and simple navigation, for instance, all factor into how easily users can use the site to meet their needs.
- On-page conversion: Depending on the business type, conversion statistics generally reflect how frequently and to what extent site users complete certain tasks when met with call-to-action prompts. E-commerce conversions, for example, are often denoted by completed sales transactions. A conversion for a professional services business, however, might be a completed contact form, resulting in a new business lead. Regardless, a careful examination of a site’s conversion trends and attribution model can reveal insights on ways to improve user conversions.
- Heuristics: Usability Heuristics describe the extent to which a site has employed sensible mechanisms for enabling users to learn and understand how to use the site to meet their needs. Page navigation tools like breadcrumbs, for example, which allow users to see which page they’re on in relation to the rest of the site is an important element of heuristics. Similarly, consistency in establishing appropriate page titles also contribute to users’ ability in using a site effectively.
Finding the Right Audit Partner
Given the constantly changing nature of the digital technology landscape, routine site audits are increasingly important for businesses of all sizes, in particular small-businesses. As Google’s search algorithm, for example, changes to account for new front-end development and digital marketing trends, small businesses committed to an agile approach to SEO will have a better chance at maintaining and improving their visibility in search.
In conducting a site audit, however, it’s important that small businesses find an audit partner with expertise in both small business web development and brand design.
As a web development and brand design agency with a proven track record of delivering high-quality web sites and brand deliverables to its small-business customers, Total Design Works can provide both a comprehensive audit and steps for driving site improvements that yield real results.
Contact Total Design Works for an Audit Today
Our total design service looks after everything, from project conception to full completion. Our expert team always deliver a quality service and save you time and money. Book a call with Total Design Works now to learn more about our audit process and our branding services tailored to your startup or small business, including print support, web design, and more.