This guide will walk you through what to review in order of priority. To make it more manageable, break up each section into mini audits that you can tackle over time. Bear in mind, this exercise can get pretty technical, so if you’re already feeling overwhelmed, you may want to hire a company that conducts these audits professionally.
Now, let’s dive in!
Content and Design:
For this step, you’re assessing the content and design of your site. Think of it like checking your outfit in the mirror before you head out the door. Start with the homepage and review the copy and calls to action (CTAs). Does it provide the user with the information they need, and do the CTAs clearly direct them to take the appropriate action? Consider the layout, colors, fonts, and quality of the pictures on the site.
Next, dive deeper by looking at your site analytics. If you don’t have Google analytics or something similar installed, take care of that now, so you can monitor how visitors engage with your site. As you review the data, keep these questions in mind:
Which pages have the most traffic, and what actions are users taking?
Which pages have high bounce rates? (A bounce is when someone visits the site and leaves without taking action, such as clicking a link or viewing another page.) Evaluate the content on those pages to see how you can get visitors to stay and convert.
How long does your site take to load? Slow load times increase your risk of site abandonment and can cause you to rank lower in search results.
Is your site mobile-friendly? If you’re not sure, learn what it means to have a mobile-friendly site.
The health of your search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for myriad reasons. In a nutshell, it’s essential for getting found in search results and generating traffic to your site. Here’s where you’ll look at even more technical stuff, such as:
Title tags and meta descriptions. These are the name and description of a web page as it appears in search results. Your metadata should clearly describe what the content is about and, more importantly, provide answers to the questions your audience is asking via online search.
Keywords. Do they match the keywords your target audience is using in searches? This not only applies to your metadata but also the word choice you use when writing web content. If you’re not sure what keywords to use, try Google’s Keyword Planner.
Don’t forget about local keywords to boost your local SEO ranking.
Alt text. Do your images have alt text? This is not only important for accessibility but can also give your SEO a boost.
Backlinks. Do other sites link to yours? These are critical to SEO as they signal to search engines that you’re legit; in essence, the other site is vouching for your credibility. Use a backlink checker to get started.
Site security. Does your URL start with http or https? That “s” indicates your site is secure. To achieve this, you’ll need to obtain a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate.
Identify all of your accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), then go through them one by one to assess the following:
Page branding. Do your profile picture and cover photo align with your brand standards? Are they sized appropriately? Are your usernames (aka handles) consistent across platforms? Review and update your contact and location information, along with your page bio, if needed.
Engagement. Which posts are getting the most engagement? Look for patterns. Perhaps videos result in more robust engagement than posts with photos. How about subject matter? Home in on what topics, format, and keywords get your audience to take notice, so you can produce more of that content going forward.
Demographic data. Take a look at how your audience differs across your various social channels. If you attract more Gen Xers on Facebook but more millennials on Instagram, you can tailor your messaging accordingly or work to attract more of the target audience that fits your ideal buyer.
If your social profiles are still bare-bones or don’t exist yet, check out these guides to getting started with Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Not sure which platforms you should be on? Here’s a guide for that, too.
Overall performance. How much of your social activity results in generating new leads? Are people contacting you via direct message, clicking through to your website, or sharing content you post? Determine the goal for each platform (increase brand awareness, generate leads, increase followers, etc.), so you can see whether your efforts are achieving the desired results.
Is your business listed on directories such as Yelp, Apple Maps, Google My Business, and Bing? Your presence on these sites is yet another way for clients to find you, and it directly impacts your local SEO. Go through each of these sites and make sure your profiles are accurate and consistent with the following info: address, phone number, website, office hours, photos, and a short business description. If you haven’t claimed your business listing on these sites, be sure to do so now:
There are three key things you need to evaluate when it comes to reviews:
Are your customers leaving reviews for you? If you’re not getting enough reviews, it’s probably because you’re not asking for them. Create a process to request reviews automatically at the close of a sale. You can also put CTAs on your website prompting clients to review their experience, or ask your social media followers to leave you a review.
Where are they leaving reviews? Whether it’s Google, Yelp, Zillow, or other dedicated review sites, you want to know where clients are posting reviews so you can make sure you have a presence on those sites. Which brings us to …
Are you monitoring and responding to reviews on a regular basis? Read through and respond to every review you receive, positive or negative. This is yet another opportunity to engage with the customer, improve their experience, and signal to prospective clients that you care. And if you notice a lot of negative reviews, it’s a red flag that something in your process should be addressed straightaway.