How to Audit Your Website
Editiors Note: Written in 2011, Allison’s tips on how to audit your website are as valid today as they were almost a decade ago. Your website requires a little love on a regular basis and in this post she outlines some simple ways to show that affection.
Are you holding your marketing accountable? If not, it’s time to get started. As 2011 draws to a close, it’s time to look towards 2012 with a renewed sense of purpose. Your website should serve as the epicenter of your marketing activity–is it doing its job? Here are a few simple steps you can take to see if your website is living up to its full marketing potential:
1. Start with analytics. Do you have an analytics package installed on your website, like Google Analytics or WordPress Stats? If not, you need to install one. Now. Many of these are free and give you critical insights into visitor’s behavior, keyword traffic, bounce rates, and other information you need to know.
If you do have analytics software, go ahead and log in and take a look around. How are people finding your site–by typing in your URL, using keywords, clicking through from another source? Or maybe they aren’t finding it at all, and you’re finding yourself with a paltry handful of visits every day.
We find for most small business owners the most important metrics to look at are search engine keywords (which ones are helping you get found? Try to incorporate those into your web copy and blog posts to improve search engine optimization), bounce rate (how long are people spending on your website? Is it a short period of time or do they tend to hang around and read multiple pages?) and what pages they visit while they’re there (do they hit the home page and run screaming? Do they spend some time looking around and then hit your contact page?). These metrics help you better understand your visitor’s behavior, and how to use that to help you get sales.
2. Do some keyword searches. What keywords do you want people to use to find you? For us, it’s things like Indianapolis web design and Indianapolis social media. We frequently run Google searches on these words to better understand where we rank, where our competition ranks, and how we can move up on the search engine results pages. You should be doing the same.
3. Be critical. Ask yourself some hard questions. When was the last time you updated your site? If the answer is “when the website was designed,” you’re doing a disservice to yourself and your customers. Not only are you not providing up-to-date information to your clients, you’re missing out on a chance to improve your search engine ranking with frequent, relevant updates.
Consider adding regular blogging to your marketing mix, or at least keeping your website fresh with new events, tips, updated employee bios, and other information your customers want to know.
4. Look at the site. Now look at the websites of your closest competitors. How does yours compare? Does your site look a little worn around the edges, a little out of date? How does the writing compare? Does yours flow and make sense, incorporating keywords and focusing on your customer’s needs? If not, it may be time for a facelift.
5. Evaluate conversion. When prospects get to your website, is there something for them to do? Is there information they want to know about, blog posts they want to read, white papers for them to download, contact us forms to fill out? If so, determine how many people are taking advantage of those activities. If they’re not, you might have the wrong activities, or you may not be promoting them properly.
It is also helpful to review how many people became clients this year because they dropped by your website. This includes clients who come to you via your online contact form, as well as those who picked up the phone and called after seeing the site. Make sure you have a system in place for determining how prospects found you!
The most critical part of any marketing activity is measuring and making sure your activities are paying off in a meaningful way. If your website isn’t up to snuff, give us a call and let’s talk about how we can help make sure your website is an integral and effective part of your marketing strategy.
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