Why you need a Website Audit?
Are you looking at your business and wondering what impact your website is or should be having? The challenge is that the web is changing rapidly, and consumers are fickle, so how do you know your website creating the best first impression.
Recent Changes in the Web
A decade ago, "brochure-ware" was prevalent, and over the past five years “Web 2.0” features increased the expectations for—and the capabilities to provide—website interactivity. Even more recently, businesses are feeling the impact of “SOCIAL MEDIA” and more consumers using their smart phones used for MOBILE internet browsing. How can you KEEP UP? How do you MAXIMIZE IMPACT?
But probably one of the most important impacts on a website’s success is, can YOU be found when your potential customers are looking for a business or product LIKE YOURS?. In the olden days, you would have to spend a fortune on media advertising. Today, having good website content and a search-engine friendly design can be enough to bring many customers to your door (it’s still up to YOU, however, to close the sale). It’s important to know if your website design and its coding is working in your favour, or to your detriment.
You need to assess what changes in design, flow, and content can get you the MOST RESULTS with the least work. You should assess how the competitive standard has changed. A good website design from 5 years ago (or heaven forbid, 10 years ago) can look very dated today. But it’s not just about the “look”.
Consumers now do their “due diligence” and look at websites TO DECIDE who to call. They no longer use the Yellow Pages and call everybody… They look to each business’s website and call just the few that appear to answer their needs, and answer the key up-front questions. Their expectations is that business with good up-front info will be more accommodating with information and better customers service after you become a customer.
What is a Website Audit?
A good Website Audit will identify shortcomings and recommend solutions for your website. An audit will always have the following components:
- Auditor has independence
- Auditor has technical experience in all areas
- Checklists ensures all important issues are addressed
- Auditor provides a report and an opinion
A Website Audit, like a financial audit, needs to be provided by an INDEPENDENT third party. It should NOT be your web marketer, or your web designer, who have a vested interest in one strategy or another. To ensure this independence, you need to know we are not using the Audit to lure additional business from you. You should also expect to PAY UP FRONT for the audit so that the audit results (good or bad) are not influenced by the expectation of payment.
A Website Audit is based on years of experience looking at websites. Like a Financial Audit, there should be a DETAILED CHECKLIST, which should cover off technical risks (the way a financial audit looks at financial risks), to reduce risks, ensure compliance with “BEST PRACTICES”, and PROVIDE GUIDANCE for future growth, and for getting and remaining competitive.
A good Website Audit uses a checklist to help answer a lot of the questions posed earlier, and reduce the business uncertainty. The Audit Report, which interprets the results of observations while completing the checklist, should address a variety of technical issues that are not for you, the business owner, typically your core competencies. A good Website Audit will also address design issues, web marketing issues, coding issues, and look at your competition.
Don’t confuse an integrated Website Audit with a one-dimensional “SEO Audit,” which just looks at web marketing issues.
A Website Audit should report using NON-TECHNICAL LANGUAGE for the business owner to understand the issues and opportunities that affects their business.
A Website Audit is no substitute for your intimate knowledge of YOUR customers, and their information needs, their taste & visual style, and your business process. That’s your job, and that’s what makes your business unique in the marketplace. But a good audit can give you insights about what you might improve, and provide some good “consider points” in areas that should be your core competency.
If you have not redesigned your website in a while, you need to assess how well your website is really doing. You need to "baseline" your web marketing presence. You need to assess what are the “low hanging fruit”. It’s a classic Pareto Principle assessment, you know: “the 80/20 Rule” about what gets you the best results. Anybody can spend 100% of the cost to get 100% of the results. But, you might get 80% of the results for only 20% of the costs, presenting opportunity for faster results and improved profit margins. (Of course, in some businesses anything less than 100% is not an option. Airline safety or national security, for example).
What if you have just completed a redesign? Often website designers are good at either graphics, database programming, e-commerce, OR web marketing, but rarely ALL of these. You have selected your web developer for a number of business reasons, and it’s not a Website Auditor’s job to question that. An independent Website Audit can identify any shortfalls not necessarily in your developer’s core skill-set, and help provide a roadmap for your website to meet a FULL RANGE of Best Practices./b>.
Finding a Website Auditor
Website Auditors in each community offer their services at a range of prices, depending on complexity, expectations, and technical prowess required. Local directories or a Google search for “Website Audit” might find a qualified web site auditor. OR, you can use FoundLocally!
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