How to Audit Your Website for a Redesign
Is your website not converting visitors into customers? Is it too cluttered and unorganized? Do you have multiple broken links on your website? Does your website no longer fit your business brand and purpose? Does it look like something from the 1990s? Maybe the thought of referring a potential client to your website makes you cringe?
Then it might be time for a website redesign!
Whether you’re wanting to simply reorganize and update your current content, work to improve your search ranking through SEO, or just want a fresh redesign to match your brand and purpose, a website audit is a great way to start the process. A website audit will help you figure out what elements don’t work and how to “right the ship.”
An audit is also a good way to evaluate the effectiveness of your website overall and its marketing message while helping you set goals and analytical data points to revisit after your relaunch to gauge its success.
Here are my tips, and a handy checklist, to help you audit your website for the new year.
TIPS FOR A WEBSITE AUDIT
HAVE A PLAN
Before you begin auditing your website, have a plan in place for what you’re trying to accomplish. Go back to the purpose of your organization or business and think about the message you want to send to your audience.
Since most websites are the main source of information for a business (don’t get me started on why every business needs a website...you can read about it here), it should quickly convey the following:
Who you are
What you do
How you differentiate yourself from other similar businesses
Who you want to reach
Strong sense of your company’s character
By nailing down this information early on, the groundwork for your new website will be set and you can focus on the top priorities.
Create the criteria that you will use to review your current website. The most common elements for a website audit include design style, ease of management, ease of use, content quality, organization of content, SEO, ADA accessibility, and overall usability.
For some businesses, style is the most important factor. They feel like their current site is dated. For others, style is a smaller concern and their focus is on the message and organization of their content.
As you review your website, what does your design say? Does it tell your brand story? Does it match your marketing materials? Do the photo choices stand out or look like generic stock (or maybe even pixelated and poor quality)?
If you want to learn more about design trends, here are the Top Web Design Trends for 2019.
EASE OF MANAGEMENT
Websites should be continually updated to be successful. No one, including Google, likes a website that’s outdated.
Does your current website use a content management system, such as Squarespace or Wordpress, or is it all hand-coded? Can you update your website easily or are you usually banging your head against the wall? (please don’t...that hurts)
Along with design, content and messaging are important to funneling prospects to the right parts of your website. Does your content still reflect your business, its goals, and mission?
Remember, most people have short attention spans, so content should be short, focusing on actionable details and not “fluff.” Talk about how you can truly help and what makes you unique, showcasing your business and how it stands out.
You should also consider how your content is organized.
Through Google Analytics, or other similar tools, you can see how visitors flow through and interact with content on your website, helping you best format it for readability.
Do you need 20 pages (I don’t recommend it unless absolutely necessary), or will 5 suffice? Analytics will help you determine what’s actually read and for how long.
You hear it all the time - Search Engine Optimization is one of the most complicated pieces of the website puzzle, but it’s also one of the most important. In any redesign, SEO should be an important factor, regardless of your size or location.
Focus on making sure your content is found.
In addition to a general audit, many non-profits and businesses choose to conduct a web accessibility audit, evaluating how well their website supports users with disabilities. This is even more important now that several businesses have been sued because their websites were not compliant.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that agencies must provide employees with disabilities and the public access to information that is comparable to access available to others.
A complete audit reviews how the website functions on special adaptive devices, such as screen readers, and helps you understand how people use the website. Simple things, like headings, usually have to be updated for ADA accessibility, along with adding alternate descriptions or captions on imagery.
If you have a Squarespace website, here are some tips on how to make your website more accessible.
Additionally, UserWay offers an innovative accessibility technology that easily integrates into your existing Squarespace website (and non-Squarespace websites) without refactoring existing code. You’re able to increase your compliance with WCAG 2.0, ATAG 2.0, ADA, and Section 508 requirements. The plugins foster a more accessible digital environment for the disabled, visually impaired, blind, auditory impaired, motor impaired, and those who suffer seizures and epilepsy. The plug-in is free of charge. To see an example of this technology in action on a Squarespace website, click on the blue icon of the person in the circle at the top right of my website.
Making sure that your website is ADA compliant will only prove to boost web user satisfaction.
It’s important to consider all these factors seriously in order to gain insight into any current shortcomings on your website.
Ultimately, the insight you gain from a web audit will give way to new ideas and strategies on how to improve user experience. It works to your advantage when it comes to increasing web traffic and return on investment (ROI).
Do you need to conduct a website redesign audit? Have any questions? How can I help?
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Squarespace Website Designer Kat Collins specializes in winery websites, brewery websites, and small business websites that are clean, modern, fresh, user-friendly, and goal-oriented so that her clients have a successful platform to support what they love and do. If you’re interested in talking with Kat about your project, get in touch with her to schedule a chat.
On the blog, you’ll find a variety of topics that help you succeed in online business, such as website design, branding, social media strategies, blogging, email marketing, Squarespace design tips, and more.