Last week, we talked about the importance of doing a year-end business review. This week, we will present the importance of doing a website review.
When conducting a website audit, keep these six points in mind:
- Analyze your content
- Update your sitemap
- Review your URLs
- Analyze your internal link structure
- Ensure consistent design features
- Check for usability problems
Your site has been growing since it first went live. Do you really know what is on your site as of today?Did you create a content inventory system when first developing the site? If you did not it is time to do an inventory of your content.
When developing a content inventory, utilize either a spreadsheet or database to categorize and describe the information on every page of your website. Some things to include in the inventory are:
- Central topic or area on website; i.e. ‘Staff’ page is under ‘About’ area
- Page title and URL
- Short description of the page
- When the page was created, and revision dates if any
- Who wrote the page and who is responsible for maintaining the page and their contact information
- If there is a page expiration date
- Other pages linked to this pageImages on the page
- Page status – keep, delete, revise, in revision process, etc.
Once you have this inventory, you will not only have a great tool for maintaing your website, but one that can assist with the future development of your website.
Finally, remember to assign someone (or team) to keep this inventory up-to-date.
Does your website have a functional sitemap? Is it easily accessible to your website users?
Having a functional sitemap will benefit your organization in several ways. Visitors go to sitemaps if they are having any issues finding the information on your website. Helping users find what they came for will enhance their opinion of their visit. If they cannot find information or are challenged in finding information, what will they tell others about the website or your organization?
Sitemaps do not need to be overly stylized; a basic HTML sitemap will work. Search engines also utilize sitemaps as a part of how they rank you.
Have Sitemap → Have improved usability & visitor experience Have Sitemap → Have SEO improvement / higher search rankings
Do you have a http:// and a http://www. version of your site? Or, did you move a page ( i.e. www.website.com/about/ to www.wesite.com/aboutus/)? If this is the case, then you need a 301 redirect. This will ensure your web pages retain their optimized rankings after the move among search engines like Google.
When creating your URL’s are you paying attention to how they read? Are they SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly? Making URLs with keywords in the URL will help raise your rank in search engines.
Both your visitor and search engines prefer a URL that is clean and concise. A friendly URL is like: www.website.com/about.html, while an unfriendly URL might read like: www.website.com/cgi-bin/gen.pl?id=4view=about.
Your website internal link structure is important for a number of reasons. SEO is a theme throughout this post, and internal links are another part to your SEO. For example, if you click on a link titled “Doing a Year-End Business Review”, the page that you are directed to should be optimized for the keyword phrase “Year-End Business Review”.
Are there areas of your site that are still displaying old template designs? Are your graphics up to date and consistent across your website?. While doing your audit keep in mind your overall design, including your page layouts and company graphics. Making some quick changes not only will improve the appearance of your website, but enhance your brand image and level of trust among customers.
How difficult is it to read and understand content and navigate your site? Do users get lost, or can they find what they are looking for easily?
Usability is essential for good websites. When people visit a website, they typically are on a mission. Once on your website, users want to fulfill their goals: whether it is for entertainment value, searching for information, or for socializing with others. If your website’s visitors experience difficulty, it does not take much for them to become discouraged and go elsewhere.
Usability is a whole article of its own. However, if you do a full website review you will be well on your way to improving your website’s usability. If usability for your website is of interest, you can request a Free Usability Report from CueCamp. This report grades your website on 20 different areas of usability, and is free with no obligation.
If you so choose, you can take your audit a step further by conducting online surveys, doing reviews of materials like your PDFs, white papers, and other material your visitors might download. You may also review comments that were posted on your blog, or on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. Also, don’t forget to review customer emails and phone calls that were handled by your customer service department.
A website review should be done on a regular basis, but if you perform it at least once a year you will be well ahead of your competition. More importantly, you will be enhancing your visitors’ time spent on your website. This will increase the website’s marketing effectiveness, which is why you created it in the first place. If you would like some assistance in doing your website audit feel free to contact CueCamp.
Written and Posted by: CueCamp