Just like you would take your car for an MOT, you need to keep on top of the health of your website as, like anything else, it can deteriorate over time without proper servicing. If you identify any problems early then, you have more chance of rectifying them, which saves on expensive repairs down the line and ensures optimal performance. Having an audit means that you will get a full picture of the current effectiveness of your site, it will show where you may be able to optimize further and improve your website and identify issues that could be causing damage to your site’s health. You should have a site audit regularly and having one scheduled provides a benchmark for future improvements, and ensures you catch and rectify any major issues that are going to cause problems down the line. You should also check the security of your website, and you can do this with a Linux security scanner by Netsparker as this can detect security vulnerabilities such as Cross-site Scripting (XSS), SQL Injection, and others automatically in thousands of web applications within hours.
The key things a website audit will pick up on are:
Whether Your Users Can Navigate Your Website Properly
If you’re familiar with your website, then you will have no problem finding your way around it, however, from an outsiders point of view it may not be so easy. An audit will be able to tell you this though and will find if there are too many items in the navigation bar and if there’s too much overlinking. Every page should have a clear way of returning to the homepage, and there shouldn’t be too much information on the homepage. On e-commerce websites, it is essential to have a search function; your contact details need to be clear and visible. User testing as part of your audit is an effective method of ensuring your website is user-friendly, it generally involves users recording their screens and fulfilling specified ‘tasks’ on your website and feeding back on the process.
Whether Your Website Is Properly Optimised
An audit will let you know if you have enough content if it is useless or needs updating, redirecting, or removing. It will tell you if your images are correctly tagged, if there are any meta issues and if headers are appropriately used throughout the site. You also need to make sure your site functions correctly on mobiles and tablets, has proper URL structures and that there are no broken links.
Whether Your Website Is At Risk Of Penalisation From Search Engines
A site audit can identify and correct anything that can lead to a penalization before it does, or rectifies the cause of the penalization should the site be hit with one.
Whether Your Website Is Taking Too Long To Load
People today want everything instantly, and if your website takes longer than five seconds to load, you’ll probably see a higher bounce rate, lower pages per session and a higher cart abandonment rate on e-commerce sites.
Knowing What Your Competitors Are Doing
Knowing what online strategies your competitors are carrying out is paramount to staying on top of your industry, and a proper site audit will include some competitor analysis too.