Step 1: Determine The SMART Goals Of Your Website Audit
If you want your website to be successful, you need to first understand how it is performing right now. Before you make any major changes, it is important to map out what is working, and what isn’t, and establish your goals. This is where the first step of a digital website audit comes into play. The best digital marketing audits are able to produce actionable results that can help your business grow and achieve its goals.
When solidifying the goals of your website, remember that you want to be SMART, not just in the literal sense. SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Ideally, a strong business website audit should aim to accomplish the following goals:
- Elevated brand awareness
When we talk about brand awareness, we are referring to your audience’s ability to recognize your business and think of it in their time of need. Brand awareness is the first step of the marketing funnel. When more people are aware of your brand, you increase your chances of generating conversions and succeeding in your market. Brand awareness increases traffic, which cultivates leads. This means that brand awareness will help you set the foundation for the rest of your website goals.
- High website traffic
High traffic is always a strong goal to set for your website. What is considered high traffic for your website will depend on how many customers you currently have and how many you would like to gain. In other words, it will largely depend on the size of your business. On average, according to a study of Google Analytics, local businesses find that their websites attract an average of 414 monthly users, with 50% of traffic coming from organic search.
Typically, if you are getting 1000 visitors per month, that is a decent amount of traffic, but the exact numbers will always depend on the specific needs of your business. The important thing is that your website traffic is continuously increasing. That is why it is so necessary to conduct a marketing audit and gauge these numbers.
- High ranking for keywords
When your website has a higher ranking, it means that Google search will prioritize your website over other similar ones. That is why an SEO audit is an important part of every website audit. Over a quarter of Google searchers tend to click on the first organic result, so ranking high can make a huge difference in expanding your customer base. A digital marketing audit is a great way to detect SEO issues and determine whether your website utilizes keywords.
One SEO audit service to use to audit your website is SEMrush. SEMrush has a site audit tool that will look through your website to determine the quality of your SEO content. It will compare your results to different SEO audits integrated with your Google Analytics statistics.
Once you have conducted an SEO audit and understood which keywords are working for your website, you can weave in keywords that will help your ranking. Your keywords should directly relate to the content on your website. The good news is that creating content that caters to these keywords should be second nature. Simply considering what your clients and potential clients will be searching for when they stumble upon your website will take you a long way. Some keyword research and an SEO service like SEMrush will take it a step further and help you fill in any missing gaps.
- Positive and seamless user experience
The user experience of your website, often referred to as UX, can significantly impact your website’s ability to perform. Conducting an audit of your UX will help you detect the root causes of your website’s problems, diagnose the issues, and solve them to create a more positive and seamless experience for your users.
“Seamless” is one of those buzzwords you might often hear when researching creating a positive user experience. You might have a basic understanding of the word but feel unsure how to use it to benefit your website’s user experience. Your digital marketing audit can help quantify your user experience, mobile responsiveness, and page speed. An audit tool will tell you what parts of your website are effective and what parts are not. It also gives you more insight into what metrics you are measuring and what you should be measuring, what needs the users might have, and the success rates of your previous design approaches.
When conducting an audit of your user experience, keep UX best practices in mind and consider what your website is adhering to and what it is not. These are not hard and fast rules, but if your site seems to be underperforming in a specific area, it is worth noting whether or not that area is adhering to best practices and making adjustments. Some UX best practices include:
- Choose a design style and stick to it consistently throughout your website
- Create a sitemap to organize your content
- Include a fixed navigation menu that remains visible when the user scrolls
- Write concise and clear content
- Conduct usability tests on prototypes before your final design
- High number of email subscribers
Email is still one of the most popular forms of client communication, along with social media. However, while there are not many rules surrounding who you can contact on social media, there are rules surrounding who you are allowed to email. For the most part, your contacts have to be willing to give their information.
Your website can be a great way to get this information, and you need to craft a compelling offer that encourages this. Based on the quality of the content of your website, there should be many points when your users feel like they should contact you. Your website should include a functional and concise contact page that prompts them to give their email address to learn more about your services.
Set some solid email signup benchmarks based on what seems attainable and profitable for your business. The average conversion rate from website visitors to email subscribers is two out of every one-hundred people that visit your website. This is a solid foundational metric to keep in mind if you are just beginning to recruit visitors to your email list, but it is always great to aim for an above-average score. By working to incorporate all of the factors mentioned in this list, you should be able to create a compelling website with content that interests your users and prompts them to subscribe to your emails.
- High conversion rate and low bounce rate
A conversion rate represents the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors. Generally, a good website conversion rate is between 2 percent and 5 percent. Google Analytics is a great way to track your conversion rates. Google Analytics has a Goals feature that allows you to create goals and track specific activities. Typically, when setting up these goals, focus on URL destination goals. You can use destination goals for tracking email signups, the number of orders placed, or the number of times a user tries to contact you.
The bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of single-page sessions by the total number of sessions on the website. If visitors are coming to your website and immediately leaving, this will negatively impact your bounce rate. Although it is natural for many users to do this, it is still ideal to aim for a lower bounce rate of between 26-40%. In Google Analytics, you can see the bounce rate metric in reports that include a data table, such as the Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion tabs.
- High number of qualified leads
A qualified lead is a bit broader than a conversion. Generally, somewhere between 2-5% of your leads should be qualified. A qualified lead simply means that the user has expressed interest in your product or service. Examples of qualified lead actions include:
- Downloading free e-book
- Filling out online forms
- Submitting an email address for a newsletter
- Repeating site visits
- Clicking on an ad on the site
- Contacting you for more information
Analyze your business’s metrics in these areas and determine where you are succeeding and where you need to improve. You can track these visits through HubSpot’s Smart Lists and HubSpot’s Lead Scoring. When it comes to their Smart Lists tool, you can choose what lead actions are important to your business. The tool will organize these actions into a streamlined list that you can access anytime. Their Lead Scoring tool is similar, but it assigns weight to different values and behaviors and will notify you when one of your top priorities appears in your database.
- Generating sales and bringing in new customers
When it comes to the success of your website, your sales numbers are the final destination. The other factors you audit should all contribute to this greater goal. It is important to establish sales key performance indicators (KPIs) and measure your website’s efforts against them. You can set goals for the following indicators to help determine the profitability of your website:
- Total revenue
- Revenue by product or service
- Market penetration (the number of customers compared to the total number of potential customers in your market)
- Percentage of revenue that is coming from new customers vs. existing customers
- Year-over-year growth
Step 2: Analyze The Current State Of Each Goal
Although this step can be time-consuming, it should also be a relatively simple process. Now that you have your goals laid out, it is time to go through and analyze where your website stands in regard to each of them. You can use a variety of tools to draw conclusions about each goal, and this will help you find the gaps in your current strategy.
Once you have an idea of how your website is performing, you can organize and present your findings in a way that makes sense for your business. Your findings should show your performance metrics, what your website is doing well, and what areas need improvement. This step can also include a competitive analysis. When you are analyzing the performance of your website, weighing it against that of your competitors will help your team put matters into perspective.
This will help you make a stronger case when you make recommendations about the next best steps to take. Even if your team is resistant to the feedback at first, keep your findings in mind as you continue navigating through website development. Your team does not want to continue underperforming, so presenting solid evidence to back up your findings will help them see that changes need to be made.
Step 3: Divide And Conquer – Make Necessary Changes To Your Website
This can be the most difficult step in the process because there are often many moving parts that go into creating a website. Your team might often assume the mindset of, “If it’s not broken, why fix it?” If you find that your website is underperforming, the hope is that presenting this data in a clear and professional manner will light the fire necessary to get your website where it needs to be.
Best practice typically states that content precedes design. When you are making changes to your website, you should look at your content audit and begin with the areas where your content needs improvement. For example, if your website is underperforming for keywords or does not include information about key services that could help elevate brand awareness, solidifying that content in writing is a great first step. Factors like the number of email subscribers and qualified leads will also surround the quality of your content because this is what will lead visitors to make these choices.
While it might not be Google’s first priority, web design also plays a factor in SEO. That is because search engines consider bounce rate and the way your users are interacting with your website. If users are constantly visiting your website and leaving immediately, Google will not want to rank that website highly. While content writing typically precedes design, your business might find it helpful for the two disciplines to work together. This will help contribute to a positive user experience.
Step 4: Conduct Tests And Continue To Evolve
Part of the beauty of digital marketing is that it always continues to evolve. For many digital marketers, this can also be the biggest challenge. For those who are willing to change and redirect their efforts, it can be an exciting opportunity to grow.
Once you have determined the areas that need improvement and worked to fix them, you should continue to gather data to see if your efforts have made a positive impact. One of the ways you can do this before the new website version even launches is through split testing.
Split testing is different from A/B testing in the sense that split testing often compares two completely different content forms and aesthetic approaches. This makes it a great option for businesses that want to compare their old website with their new one to see if the changes have made a difference on website performance. It is often effective to conduct split tests by looking at the performance of a specific web page, such as the homepage, a service page or landing page, or a specific blog.
Landing pages are especially important in split testing because these are the pages that users find when they stumble upon your website organically. There are many tools you can use to conduct split testing on your website, such as Google Optimize, Optimizely, Omniconvert, Freshmarketer, and Crazy Egg. These tools can help you decide how long to run these tests in order to collect the data you need.
As the field of digital marketing continues to evolve, your website needs to evolve to keep up with it. Most users do not want to interact with a website that looks outdated, and most successful businesses don’t want to present themselves in this way either. Website audits should be conducted multiple times a year. The more often you audit your website and make necessary changes, the easier it will be to keep up with the changing tides. By staying ahead of the curve, you can stay ahead of the competition and attract the customers your business needs to thrive.
Want to learn more about website audits and the best ways to improve your business’s digital presence? Contact the marketing team at Scorpion to work with a team that truly cares and will make personalized recommendations for your business.