How to Improve Site Performance? Audit, for Business’ Sake!

Nothing but quality products, 24/7 customer support, a lovely website, excellent service overall. Discriminating customers demand for the best, and that’s what your business is all about. So now you wonder, after doing everything right, how come business is not picking up? Frustrating, I know.

Basically, what you need is to reach out to more people than the usual. Make your online presence solid and felt. That said, have you checked your site lately? Start checking!

A lovely website” needs to show brains and brawn, too, otherwise, you lose prospective customers. Perhaps, it’s time to hire a web content writer to help you.

Basic Auditing How-to

audit-your-site

I got this image from the well-known Search Engine Watch that incidentally has written a more extensive article on this topic as well

Site checking or auditing is essential. For a website to be an effective tool in your business, keeping it should involve critical analyses, content strategy and the right people to make it work. If you already have a writer in your stable, then good. Make sure she knows or learns how to audit sites as well.

Writers mainly take care of the articles, but the misconception is that’s the only skill expected of them. A skilled one helps take care of things beyond the articles. In the web business, content means a lot of things aside from textual information.

For a start, in auditing, you need to know how your site is faring in the online world. What is its domain authority and page authority? How many backlinks and by whom? On what pages do search engines list it when a search is done, if it gets listed at all? And so on.

Next, find out its existing page status problems and technical issues. Those maybe getting in the way of good user experience, therefore, visitors leave.

Then there’s the matter of whether keywords, optimizations, web designs and layout work or not. An SEO content writer with ample knowledge of web development and design would be a prize to find.

All of the factors mentioned, your auditor needs in order to identify and analyze problem areas and consequently fix them.

To be able to do this, she has to have enough know-how, especially in using helpful software and platforms like Google Analytics, OpenSiteExplorer, SEMrush, WhiteSpark, and ScreamingFrog. She has to be able to interpret what the results mean.

But the more critical part is the analyzing, the precursor to crafting solutions.

Questions to Consider for Review

site-health-check

Of course, you or your current employees can do this, provided you have the time and necessary skills. You can start reviewing the contents, design and layout of your site based on some of the questions I have gathered.

Contents

  1. Are the business names and logo/brand visible and clear? Where are they?

  2. Is there a header image?

  3. Where are the Name-Address-Phone (NAP) details in the site? Do they include emails and toll-free numbers?

  4. Is there a Google map at the Contact Us page? How about at the footer?

  5. Is there a working contact form in all the pages?

  6. Is there a navigation menu at the top? Does the top menu have dropdowns? Is there a navigation menu at the bottom?

  7. Are there pages specifically for Home, About Us / Firm Overview, Blog (if any), News, Resources, and FAQs at the navigation menu?

  8. Are there pages for the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy? Are there links leading to them?

  9. Are there sidebars? Does your site need them?

  10. Are the images and videos posted in the site relevant and clear?

  11. Are there visible social media logos around the site?

  12. Do all the links redirect properly and to the right pages?

  13. How many fonts are used in the site?

  14. Are accreditation and/or rank seals added?

  15. Are there copyright details at the bottom? If yes, are they present in all the pages?

Design Principles

  1. Is there precedence (guiding-the-eye)?

    – position (where something in particular is placed), color, contrast, size (does it affect perceived order of relevance), design elements (largely based on what is added to the site and how it affects visitor’s actions)

  1. How effective is the spacing?

    – line spacing (affects readability), padding (putting space between text and other elements), white space (for balance, proportion, and contrast)

  1. How clear, easy and user-friendly is the navigation feature?

  2. Are there breadcrumbs in all the pages, sub-headings and a sitemap?

  1. How are the texts (typography) looking and working?

    – font choices (do they look good and appropriate for the site, how many used), font sizes (affects readability), spacing, line length (affects readability), color (must make sure the texts can actually be read by anyone), paragraphing (left-alignment is always suggested to avoid gaps)

  1. Are things aligned in an orderly and polished manner?

  1. How is the design clarity? Are the pixels creating problems?

  1. Does everything match (consistency)?

    – sizes, choices, coloring, styles, elements, etcetera

  1. Is the site aesthetically pleasing as well as useful?

  1. How relevant, clear, appropriate and useful are the pages and contents to the site?

  1. Are there unnecessary elements (music, flash, autoplay, etc.) that can be done without?

  1. Are the title pages/headings easily understood and logical?

  1. How informative is the FAQ page?

  1. Are testimonials included in the site? How many? Do they appear real or fake?

  1. Is the Call to Action clear?

    – contact forms, online customer service representative, registration feature, email address for questions and feedback, indirect action items like “learn more”

  1. Is the site selling something? Does it have an SSL certificate?

  2. How mobile-ready is the site?

I have given you initial ideas on how to audit your site. These are culled from research (like a Psdtuts+ article I found very useful) and my own auditing experiences. There are more to find and learn but the further research, I will leave to you. Meanwhile, your auditor must be able to work with your web developers and designers to incorporate changes.

In auditing, it’s not simply knowing what to look for. It takes a lot of common sense, an analytic mind, patience and practical approach—all of which, the writer hopefully has. If your current writer is not cut out for this, find another who is. Hire a web content writer who can.

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NOTE: I’ve been saying this for a year or so already. This was originally a guest blog that got published along with my byline. Unfortunately, the site soon became inaccessible for quite a while. It went back then I found that somebody else took my place as author. I tried every way to reach them and actually sent a message telling them to fix it, to no avail. I just checked last Friday and found the site missing again. So here it is, I thought I’d share here. It’s just fair considering that it was supposed to be a reciprocal thing. No one paid anybody and if the other party is unable to hold its part of the bargain, we have the right to take back what is ours.

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5 thoughts on “How to Improve Site Performance? Audit, for Business’ Sake!

  1. I was wondering where this was coming from. I think it’s a good idea to re-assess the ‘ol blog or company website. It’s necessary, actually. But I think when people are trying to reevaluate and try new things that they don’t lose their personality and sparkle.

    Like

    • They won’t if they take caution. If anything, these can add oomph to their sites. Besides, a good business should not just rely on their site — they should follow it up with providing great customer experience, meaning great service. A site just brings the visitors in and hopefully convert them into customers, but once customers experience how a company does its business, that’s when they really earn a loyal following. Site auditing is not for every business, but it is up to them to identify for themselves the goals they want to achieve and decide if they still need the auditing. Also, I am just thinking that personality and sparkle won’t amount much if searchers can’t find your business, anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

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