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Bad links, typos and bloat - the importance of a website audit

 

Bad links, typos and bloat - the importance of a website audit

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When was the last time you checked through your website thoroughly?

As managers, do we regularly and objectively 'use' our own website? Do we 'know' our website and are we confident about using it as a marketing tool?

We regularly come across websites where links are broken, content is out of date, there are typos or other usability flaws, or likely a combination. For example, a recent visit to a household name website brought up a number of issues including;

  • Multiple clicks to allow cookies
  • Broken links
  • Poor navigational structure which leads to a frustrating user journey
  • Confusing internal brand messaging and structure

How would any of these issues on your site make you feel about your brand? Is there more to this than simple human error? Are we seeing perhaps an over-reliance on automation and/or a lack of oversight?

Type 'website audit' into a search engine and it will return a myriad of links to automated scanners promising to analyse and grade your website for free (at least initially). Wikipedia defines that search term as the "general analysis of a website aimed at revealing the actions needed to improve search engine optimisation (SEO)" and goes on to include Content Marketing and Content Audit into its definition.

Ranking profile is of course paramount in an overcrowded marketplace where so many businesses are vying for attention but are you sure you haven't overlooked existing issues that can be remedied fairly easily? Could these oversights be adversely affecting your online brand?

There are other basic issues we often see on websites:

  • Non-existent links
  • Lack of defined calls-to-action
  • Form bloat (defined as too many forms and/or too many unnecessary form fields)

And often, more fundamental issues:

  • Poorly designed user journey and site architecture, resulting in a negative user experience
  • and additional technical issues which can come to light after an audit...

There are numerous reasons why you may have failed to notice something wrong with your site; it could simply be your workload or the unchecked use of an automated system. We're all guilty of this!

There's a natural slackening of focus at the end of a web project's lifecycle. There is however an important post-live phase in the lifecycle of a website where multiple stakeholders have made updates to content, blog articles have been written and white papers published. This is an important point at which a website audit should be carried out.

Is there an optimal time for an audit? An audit (carried out by humans) should be an integral and ongoing part of your brand strategy and site build. This should augment and not replace your automated system.

As part of a full featured end-to-end marketing service, ClearSignal can offer a customised website (and digital assets) audit to suit your business. Ideally audits should every 6 months or so but an initial audit would be good for now!

An audit carried out by ClearSignal covers the following, and much more:

  • Human interaction with your website:
    - Is it intuitive to use?
    - Does the defined user journey still stand?
    - Are calls-to-action identifiable and signposted?

  • All assets and content
    - Are there any typos or errors in the content?
    - Is the content easily understood?
    - Are all the facts up to date?
    - Are downloadable assets easy enough to access?
    - Are graphical elements over or under optimised?

  • Site forms
    - Are forms intuitive and easy to use?
    - Are forms placed correctly within the site to maximise contact?
    - Is the information returned and stored clear and accessible?
    - Has the gathered information been used effectively?

Post audit - what to do now?

That's where we can assist once more. Along with your team we would disgest the results of the audit and implement a plan of works to remedy any negative issues that are impacting the performance of your site. Call us on 01256 370910 or email us to find out more information.

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