Many businesses simply wouldn’t exist today without a strong, established web presence. Everyone is online, and a few statistics like these show that there people are engaging with the Internet more than ever before. And if you’re reading this, you’re likely heavily involved in the maintenance and long-term plan of your website, hoping to expand or bring in more readers, or alternatively boost conversion rates. Yet to successfully do so you are going to need a plan, and the right plan requires the right information and data.
To obtain this data, you are going to want to perform an audit of your web presence. It’s not necessarily easy, but you will get the full picture and be able to identify problems (and things that are working very well) on your site and its associated accounts and move forward to efficiently improve your metrics.
What comprises auditing your web presence? It might vary on the details from organisation to organisation – social media might not be as important to some sites, for example, but you can expect the following aspects:
- A technical audit in which you will search your site for broken links, server issues, pages not operating at peak efficiency, and effectively everything that users (and Google) will look at as a negative from a technical operations standpoint.
- A content audit, which extends not only to articles and tools on your site but the simpler measures such as an about us section or an FAQ page. Things that are out of date should be corrected. Does the content simply look acceptable? You will want to look at everything over time to make sure users are getting the best experience. This process also will help you come up with new ideas and strategies for your web presence.
- An SEO and marketing practices review, in which you should see what marketing practices are working and which aren’t getting desired results. For the SEO side, you should check all page rankings, any related SEO states, and what strategies seem to be working.
- A social media and brand audit, in which you measure engagement metrics, follower numbers, review scores and content, and more.
You can add even more items and go into much more detail when performing your audit, but now we would like to focus on the why instead of the how.
1. You’ll be able to see which content and formats are working best
Content is expensive, and you don’t want to just throw stuff at a wall and see what sticks. Using the right tools, an audit of your web presence should tell you how your content fares against competitors, which links and pages are doing well, and if a piece is out of place in some regard.
Similarly, you can check to see which content formats are doing the best for your business in particular. Are videos made by your team relatively more popular and driving more conversions? A good audit should notice this and then investigate why, even if it is as simple an answer as good keyword selection. For articles, you can use the statistics you gather to formulate A/B tests and gather more data for a long-term content plan.
2. You can check the effectiveness of your SEO and marketing strategies
Simply put, with more information will come easy course corrections, and if you are using tools such as traffic tracking, search metrics, and more to review your SEO strategies, then you will get help making the simple changes needed for better performance. Comparing SEO scores and metrics is also one of the only ways to check the true health of your site and your growth rate.
Consider a regular audit of your SEO practices as a doctor’s visit for your site, in quite a few different ways, and try to use checklists when you can to stay thorough.
On the marketing side of things, after an audit you’ll be able to curb practices that aren’t working and invest more in the ones that are. On this alone, if your site is big enough, you will be able to make the audit worth it from a resources perspective.
3. You will be more aware of what competitors are doing
Over the course of performing your audit, you will be comparing your data alongside that of competing sites, articles and content. While you won’t be able to get a full view of what your competitors are doing to be so successful, you will be able to notice trends and strategies that you could use for your own benefit (and also see which content isn’t working for similar sites, giving you advance warning for negligible cost).
Your audit not only gives you an idea of your own website, but one of the online ecosystem surrounding your niche in general. The more technical aspects are of course more easily fixed in most cases, but its these types of comparisons where your mind will be put to good use and you will be able to lead the creative charge for your site.
4. You will get a clearer picture of your brand’s reputation
An audit of your web presence should not just consist of numbers but also looking at what people are writing about your brand, if anything (and if nothing is being written, that is a significant note in itself). According to a Nielsen report, 92 percent of consumers say they will trust recommendations from friends and family over anything else, and the same principles apply to your brand.
If things are going well, you will be able to lean into your strengths and build that positive image for your web presence. If things are negative, you will at least be able to do damage control, find the source of the issue, and perhaps debunk some baseless claims about your site or business.
5. An audit will show you where to focus
This is more of a general principle, but an important one. Competition is extraordinarily steep between websites and businesses within the same niche, and if you aren’t using your resources as efficiently as possible and targeting the right audience and markets, you’re going to lose rankings and be left behind.
Performing an audit will help you and your team pick your battles, allowing you to focus on topics, keywords, outreach methods, and designs that are working. You will also be able to tweak the systems currently in place, adjusting for the constant changes Google and competitors might throw at you.
An audit can be a major undertaking for your website, but we strongly recommend performing one regularly. Managing your web presence without one is like going to sea without a compass: eventually, you’re going to wind up off course.
Fortunately, there are just the tools for the job waiting for you. And don’t forget you don’t have to do it all at once in most cases. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or your team with too much data, and you can only implement so many changes at once. Just make sure that you’re tackling any severe issues head on and that you have a clear view of the big picture.
Have you performed an audit on your web presence previously? How difficult was it for you, and what did you learn? Are there any tips you would like to share or additional reasons for its importance? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
About the author:
Taylor Jones is a freelance writer and blogger with a passion for all things digital. Having previously worked at a digital agency, he enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and is never happier than when he’s researching the latest web based marketing trends.
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