What is a Site Audit? (And Why You Need One)
On a regular basis we have website owners contact Pixel Jar alarmed that their website has disappeared from search results. “Just last week we were showing up on the front page…and now no one can find our business! Can you help us understand what’s going on? ” Similarly, we have people that contact us with sites that suddenly feel sluggish. They load slowly for visitors. Features stop working for no apparent reason. Hacks happen out of nowhere. Their digital strategy has essentially fallen ill. These folks are hoping Pixel Jar has the medicine for what ails them.
When we work with clients to get things back on track we almost always suggest starting with a site audit. Why? Because to understand where we want to go together, we need to understand where we are. To extend the medical metaphor, we can’t prescribe a remedy without evaluating the symptoms and making a diagnosis.
But what exactly is a Site Audit?
A website audit is a complete analysis of all aspects related to your website’s level of performance, search visibility, and security. A complete and detailed site audit will give you a deeper understanding as to why your conversions are not improving, or why your company website isn’t generating the traffic that you feel it should. A proper audit will show you areas of potential vulnerability as well as areas of potential improvement. A solid site audit is the key to getting the most out of your digital investments. While the foundation of a website audit is technical in nature, the best deep-dives into a website also include recommendations and action plans for moving towards your digital goals.
Types of Site Audits
While there are multiple types of audits available, all of them can help tell you what’s working, what’s falling short with your website, and and how you can improve it.
Different types of website audits include:
- Health Audit — A Health Audit assesses the usability and architecture of your company website. It includes page speed, load time, internal and external links, onsite and technical SEO, meta descriptions, broken links, page titles, and overall site and page structures.
- Security Audit — Identifies issues within the site that leave you vulnerable to security breaches and prevents compromise of sensitive information of either your business or your visitors.
- Content Audit — Sometimes, web pages with duplicate content can negatively impact search engine ranking factors. This is most commonly an issue for large enterprise websites where many different departments are producing masses of content without a cohesive strategy. In such cases it’s imperative that a content audit be performed and that you develop unique, engaging, and authentic content with the right target keywords for your audience.
- Competitor Audit — By auditing your competition’s websites, you can gain insights and find opportunities to implement your own marketing strategies.
- Conversion Rate Audit — This type of audit will help you understand how visitors move through your website, what actions they take, and what’s stopping them from completing your overall end goals, such as: completing a purchase, requesting a demo or more information, filling out a form, or other action.
The Purpose of a Site Audit
Despite the technical complexity involved, our view of site audits here at Pixel Jar is rather simple: what is the purpose of your digital strategy and how can you best accomplish those goals? If your goal is to rank well with search engines, then there is an audit to help with that goal. If your goal is to convert more site visitors to customers, then there is an audit for that as well. Looking to insure your site is secure and free of malicious code? That can be examined too. Whatever your desired outcome when it comes to your digital investments, there is likely an audit that can help set you on the path to reaching that outcome.
But rarely is a site audit – and it’s findings – so exact. Why? Because different goals, priorities and deliverables for a digital strategy rarely exist in a vacuum. Most often you’ll find substantial overlap in both the goals AND the work necessary to reach them. Believe it or not, this is GREAT news! It means that a comprehensive site audit can uncover a wealth of information all at once. Improving the health of your site when it comes to speed and performance can provide adjacent improvements to your SEO. Examining your competition’s websites can help uncover areas to improve your content structure as well. And a proper site audit can uncover the very tasks and improvements you should implement to be successful in those goals, regardless of how varied the goals seem to be.
So when it comes to the purpose of your own website audit it’s important to be open-minded about the information you receive. We’ve performed security audits that uncover challenges with content creation just as we’ve performed content audits that have exposed security vulnerabilities. Taking this information and seeing it as an opportunity to improve the overall health of the website is critical for getting the most out of your site audit.
You may wonder how we recommend deciding on the purpose of an audit, but also ask that you consider whatever information you receive. The reason is simple. The ultimate goal is always to pursue and achieve your digital goals. And sometimes the path to success mean breaking away from existing theories and notions. Working with our team at Pixel Jar (or another agency) means trusting in years of expertise to uncover exactly what in your website is keeping you from reaching your goals.
Why You Need a Professional Audit
While at first glance it may seem unnecessary to invest in a website audit, nothing could be further from the truth. Understanding the present state of your digital presence is the best way, perhaps the only way, to determine what you can and should do next. While you can perform certain parts of an audit yourself, any thorough examination really should happen at the code level. Until you understand how the site is structured, how the code runs, and how the infrastructure performs, many of the findings will be surface level. And that means that associated improvements are likely to be surface-level as well.
Just as a mechanic can tell what part of your car may need fixing from a quick once-over in the parking lot, it’s not until they get under the hood that a real diagnosis can be confirmed. And if your goal is to actually fix your website in a way that will hold up over time and stress, then you have to let a professional dig in.
How Pixel Jar Performs Site Audits
When you partner with Pixel Jar for your site audit, you’ll receive a comprehensive report on the health and wellness of your website. Even more, we’ll offer real advice on other areas of your website that could use improvement as well. If your click through rates from search results are poor or you’re not converting on landing pages, we can help. A Pixel Jar website audit isn’t simply about the process of creating your audit, but the communication and consultation after the analysis in order to get your website to the level you desire.
To learn more about getting the most out of your digital investments and how Pixel Jar can help, contact us here. We’d be excited to learn about the challenges you face and help structure a plan to get the results you are after. The beginning of our relationship is likely to include a site audit to determine the health and wellness of your website.