Getting a brand new website is a little like getting a brand new car. It’s shiny, it’s fast, and lots of people want to admire it and take it for a spin. But no brand new car stays that way, and eventually you need to get some maintenance done on it to keep it running at top performance. Your website is the same way: over time, things can break and performance can slip, so a fantastic way of performing some crucial maintenance is by doing regular site audits. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so here are some ways that a quarterly site audit can save you headaches and keep everything running at peak state.
There’s no hard rule for how often you should be performing a site audit, but conducting one once every quarter is a good frequency to aim for. It strikes a good balance between efficiency and results and allows you to stay on top of SEO trends and gathering performance data. Having a formal audit on the team calendar can prevent it from slipping through the cracks when things get busy. Plus, if anything breaks, you don’t want to wait a whole year before discovering it.
The first thing you’ll probably want to focus on in your audit is your site’s SEO. Auditing your SEO is like making an inspection of the visibility and potential of your website’s search engine performance, and it’s designed to give your team insight into how your website is ranking and why. An easy and efficient way to do this is to use a site-crawler tool like the Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool, which crawls your website and gives you data on basic things like meta-descriptions, headers, inbound and outbound links, alt text, and the status of your pages. To complete a more substantial SEO audit, tools such as SEMrush can be very useful.
You’ll also want to look at your site from the perspective of your users’ experience. Your website is the primary means that most of your prospective customers will use to interact with your brand, and you want them to have such an outstanding experience that they’ll want to buy your product or service. Tools like Google Analytics or HubSpot can be used to see how your users are interacting with your site, what pages are performing well, and what areas can be improved. This also helps your website to stay current with the latest usability trends and innovations.
Is your site driving the type of traffic you want it to? Is your content doing the trick as far as site traffic and engagement is concerned? These are the kinds of questions that a hard look into your website traffic can answer. Fresh, relevant content is critical to bringing in returning users and improving the credibility of your brand, and a site audit will tell you where you need to make some updates.
Overall Performance Metrics
Regular audits serve another very important function: they provide you with baseline performance metrics. How will you know if you’ve actually improved the performance of your website if you don’t know if it’s grown or not? Having a good sense of where your numbers were and how they’ve changed over time can give you actionable insights on how to continue positive growth. Plus, performing a website performance overview once a quarter allows you to break the data into more manageable chunks and not get overwhelmed by the data.
If the idea of doing a website audit doesn’t have you leaping for joy, don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be as painful as it sounds. Determine your KPIs beforehand, and collect the relevant data that will allow you to compare it to your goals, be they revenue-related or otherwise. Then, find a way to organize your data to give you actionable insights, and make short-term and long-term plans to capitalize on the data and meet your goals.
Quarterly site audits can provide a wellspring of valuable SEO and performance information. It’s a great way to keep your website running in tip-top shape without spending a ton of time doing it. Auditing your website may be on the less glamorous side of marketing, but is no less crucial for success.
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