Website Development and SEO
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Website Development and SEO
A website audit is the first step to take as part of your website redesign project. A website that has been live for some time has a treasure trove of data that must be examined and leveraged as part of your website redesign project.
The mere mention of the word “audit” can sometimes spoil the fun for some, but when it comes to a website design audit, you can expect some exciting results for your brand and product/service.
So why carry out a website audit? Checking your website’s health needs no reason per se. However, the benefits are incomparable.
A website audit can help you detect issues that could:
Finding these issues in your website is the most important step in improving your online presence. The next step is, of course, to fix them. A professional website design agency can not only find these issues but also fix them for you.
A holistic website audit will uncover discrepancies in your website in every aspect including user engagement, traffic, user experience, site health, functionality and website performance. It will also identify penalties that affect your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). An audit will also help identify security issues, if any, with your website.
How to carry out a website audit?
Step 1 – Check the website design
This is the first step of your website audit.
Design is the first thing your visitors notice. No one will trust an outdated website. Generally speaking, you would do well to redesign your website every 5 years – at least made some significant design changes to refresh your website.
If your website generates a ton of quality traffic but does not convert those visitors into leads and sales, you are losing out on a huge opportunity!
After all, having a website isn’t enough. You need a website that performs.
However, it is not just about making aesthetic changes or catching up to the latest trend. The focus should be on ensuring you are not making any web design mistakes. Here are some of the top website design mistakes to avoid:
Not all pop-ups are bad. Things such as cookie warnings or exit pop-ups can, in fact, help improve the user experience.
However, intrusive pop-ups are extremely annoying. What do we mean by intrusive pop-ups? Imagine you landed on a website from the search results. Before you could even read a word of text on the website, you are overloaded with a full-screen pop-up that completely obstructs the content.
What would you do? If you ask us, we would hit the back button as soon as we land on a page with intrusive pop-ups. I am sure that’s the way you feel too.
Intrusive, obstructive pop-ups do more harm than good. Here’s how.
If visitors cannot read the text on your website, you are giving them another reason to click on the back button. Be sure to:
Poor user experience
When it comes to reviewing the user experience of your website, there’s a lot of ground to cover. The primary purpose of this stage of the website audit is to look at things from the perspective of your visitors and look for ways to successfully fulfill their needs on your website – whether they are looking for information, perform a transaction or carry out a function.
Begin by looking for a connection between your business objectives and your end users’ objectives, then look at the following aspects:
Does the site follow best practice guidelines and use familiar calls to action and navigation? Does it use established and proven design standards?
Step 2 – Check the navigation
The navigation menu is an extremely important part of your website. That’s why your website audit must check the navigation menu. In the absence of navigation, customers would have a hard time using your website.
That’s why you must ensure your navigation menu makes sense. The navigation menu may seem logical to you, but what if your visitors can’t make any sense of it?
Take a long hard look at your navigation menu and answer these questions:
If your answer is no to any of these questions, it’s time to work on your navigation menu.
Sometimes, we may need a fresh pair of eyes to look for anomalies in your navigation menu. So it would be a good idea to get help from friends/family or better yet, a website design agency to review your website’s navigation.
A professional web designer will carry out an in-depth website audit of your navigation to provide an objective review of your navigation and point out the corrections needed.
Use the following website audit checklist to find design issues and other inconsistencies that can hamper your brand image negatively.
Step 3 – Check for mobile-friendliness
What does that mean for your business?
This means that you must invest in a mobile-friendly website lest you end up putting off your visitors and turning them to your competitors.
Log in to your Google Analytics account to see how many of your visitors access your website on mobile.
There are three ways to carry out a website audit to determine the mobile-friendliness of your website.
First, look up your website on a mobile device. Are you able to legibly read the content? Or do you have to zoom-pinch the device or squint to be able to read?
Can you click on the links and CTAs effortlessly? Or are they playing hide and seek with you?
Alternatively, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to determine if your website is mobile-friendly.
A third option is to sign up for our free website audit. Our software will check your website for mobile-friendliness and make recommendations for improvement.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, it’s time to look for a website design agency in Auckland to build one for you. With more and more visitors relying on their mobile devices, it makes sense to get a mobile-friendly website. Otherwise, you are simply alienating the majority of your visitors and sending them away to your competitors without a fight.
Step 4 – Ensure you are using HTTPS
If you have looked up websites online, you must be familiar with HTTP, which is the protocol that web browsers use to read HTML. However, there’s a flaw – the data transfer from and to your website with HTTP is not secure, meaning intruders can access the data and misuse it.
HTTPS, the secure version of HTTP, is the answer to this problem. If your website is still using HTTP, you are putting your visitors and customers at a huge risk, especially if you are asking for sensitive personal information such as date of birth and credit card details.
An SSL certificate ensures your website is secure. Moreover, HTTPS is an important ranking factor. If your website is not secure, Google may penalise your website and send you further down the search results.
So how to tell if your website is secure or not? You don’t need any special website audit tools to answer that.
When you browse a secure website, you will see a lock in the URL bar. Moreover, the URL will begin with https://:
If your website does not have an SSL certificate, you won’t see these elements.
HTTPS is important if you are:
You can easily buy an SSL certificate online. Better yet, your web design agency can do it for you. In fact, this is the best way to go about it to prevent technical glitches such as:
Step 5 – Check your website load speed
We would all rather use a fast-loading website than a slow loading site. However, page load speed is not just about preference, but it also plays a critical role in your SEO rankings, traffic, conversions and sales.
The longer your website takes to load, the higher your bounce rate will be. A high bounce rate is a signal to search engines that visitors do not find your page relevant and useful, so your website rankings will take a nosedive.
In fact, back in 2010, Google acknowledged that website load speed is a ranking factor.
According to a 2018 study by Google, 53% of mobile visitors leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
You can look at website load speed as a scale where the faster your website, the more the benefits you reap and every one-second delay will reduce the benefits you experience.
For instance, websites that load in two seconds experience a bounce rate of about 9% whereas websites with a load speed of five seconds will see their bounce rate soar to 38%.
In short, a one-second page load speed will make visitors feel in-control and stress-free. However, after 10 seconds, their patience will run thin and they are likely to hit the back button on the browser.
You can use Google’s free tool PageSpeed Insights to check the page speed of your website. Simply paste your URL and you will get a speed score for your website on both mobile devices and desktops.
There are many things you can do to improve your site load speed. These can quickly become technical, but a good web design agency can fix them for you.
However, there’s one issue with PageSpeed Insights – you can only audit one page at a time. This is especially irritating if you have a ton of pages to check.
That’s where a free website audit from a professional web design agency comes in handy.
Through our free website audit, we can tell you how many and which of your pages are slow and also advise the recommended steps to fix the issue.
Step 6 – Check for broken links and pages
This is another important thing to look for as part of your website audit.
Broken links and pages result in a bad user experience. When visitors land on a broken page, they get an error message, which can not only be frustrating but it makes your website look outdated, uncared for and untrustworthy.
However, your web design agency can fix this issue easily and quickly for you. When you sign up for our free website audit, we will identify all the broken pages and links on your page and provide a plan of action to fix the issue.
Step 7 – Check headers and meta tags
Each page on your site must have a unique meta title and meta description. These are the lines that show up below your website URL in the search results.
The standard SEO practice is to optimise these meta tags for your target keyword. Sure, it’s important to optimise your meta title and description for your keywords. But it’s even more important to attract your search users and persuade them to click on your link. That’s the way to drive traffic to your website from your current rankings. It’s also believed to be an important indirect ranking factor.
However, before you begin making these changes, it’s important to carry out a website audit to identify:
Most SEO tools can tell you if your meta tags are not optimised for your target keyword. But no tool will tell you if your meta tags are compelling and engaging. That’s a job that you must handle yourself. Better yet, you can leave it to our professional digital marketing experts.
When you request a free website audit, we will not only assess which pages need an update to the meta tags but we can also make the change as part of our website design and SEO services.
Step 8 – Check your images
This part of your website audit will involve scanning each page on your website to see if they are missing an alt tag or have a 404 error. Moreover, you must also look for images that are too large, which will eventually slow your website down.
If you have a couple of pages, this is not a difficult task to handle manually. But if you have tens, hundreds or thousands of pages, you will end up spending a lot of time manually checking the images for size and SEO.
As part of our website audit, we will run your website through an image scanning tool that we have developed, which will quickly identify the pages needing an update in terms of image size and SEO.
Step 9 – Check your sitemap and robots.txt
A sitemap is essentially an XML file that helps the search engine bots to understand the content of your pages and how the website is structured. Robots.txt is a text file that tells the search engines which pages they should crawl.
Although these files are not mandatory, having them on your website is good for your website’s rankings. As part of the free website audit from Business Website Group, we will help you identify if your website has these files.
Our website design team can even help create these files as part of our website redesign services.
Step 10 – Carry out a competitor analysis
The results of your website audit will likely contain several metrics. To create a context for these metrics, it’s important to benchmark them against your competitors.
The free website audit from Business Website Group will include a competitor analysis if you so desire. Simply input the URL of your top competitors and we will help you find out where they stand.
Step 11 – Check for lead generation
It’s important to ensure your website is primed for lead generation. If your website does not convert visitors into leads, it’s not serving its purpose. By auditing your website for conversions, you can discover where and why your visitors are leaving your website without converting.
A call to action (CTA) persuades visitors to take a specific action.
Your CTA should be clear and relevant to your offering. Take a good look at the CTA buttons on your website and ensure the visitors can clearly understand them. If they are not so clear or there’s space for improvement, go for it.
A good website designer knows that consistency in web design is everything. After all, your website’s experience depends a great deal on design consistency. Your website design agency should ensure that your visitors get the same messaging at every touchpoint. And that’s where a website audit comes into the picture.
A website design audit is essentially a check-up to ensure that your business is expressing itself consistently across different channels. In essence, a website audit is the process of analysing your business website for user experience (UX), technical and SEO issues.
By reviewing your company’s visual elements and its core messaging, and comparing it to what visitors actually see during their purchase journey, you can identify the inconsistencies in design and create an action plan to remedy the situation.
A website design audit calls for gathering and assessing all kinds of written, visual and verbal communication on your website to answer an important question:
Is your user experience trustworthy and consistent or unpredictable and erratic?
Website Development and SEO
"Excellent. Business Website Group really know there stuff !! Our website has got lots more online bookings thanks to these guys. The more you can spend - the more you will get back in the long run."Blue
"Richard is easy to get along with, always listens to client’s requirements and designed a great website, with patience shown in getting the website ‘just right’ for us. He also set up a new email system for us, and is handling our Adwords, on our large company budget. Highly recommend his services."Bev Birch
"We dealt with Richard Gilbert of Business Website Group and have to say we are extremely happy of the end result which is a fantastic looking website. We recommend this company and would use their services again without hesitation."Jeremy Hatch
Website Development and SEO
What’s included in your free website audit?
A Website audit will typically cover various performance aspects:
How do I carry out a website audit?
You could do a website audit yourself with the help of several free audit tools. Better yet, you could use the free website audit services that our website design Hamilton agency offers. This way, you will get detailed and laser-focused results.
What does a website audit actually mean?
It means reviewing your website and its quality to identify areas of the site that need improvement to help it achieve its intended goals.
Why do I need a website audit?
A website is not a static asset. The work on your website is never really ‘completed’ and there’s always scope for improvement. A regular website audit is important to stay competitive whilst ensuring your website has not become outdated in any way.
Carrying out a website audit is important because without knowing what’s working and what’s not working for you, you can’t reach your sales targets and business goals.
A website audit helps identify a wide range of issues on your business website, fix them and improve performance. This auditing process helps determine whether your website has an aesthetically pleasing design, offers a stellar user experience to visitors, is optimised for the search engines and features fabulous content.
How frequently should I audit my website?
When it comes to the frequency of a website audit, there are no rules written in stone. However, any Wellington website design agency worth their salt will tell you that carrying out a website audit once a year will help keep it updated, ensuring your goals are being met at every step of the way.
What does your free website audit include?
Our free website audit includes a comprehensive analysis of your website as our experts review all areas of your website from design and UX to conversions and SEO. Based on our analysis, we will create an action plan for improving your website.
Once your free website audit is completed, you will get a 20+ page report outlining our findings and recommendations.
How is the website audit done?
While some website design agencies in Auckland use automated tools to generate website audit reports, our web design team will manually review your website to deliver a meticulously drafted website audit. We analyse different aspects of your website and use our know-how and rich experience to identify what’s working, what’s not and what could be improved. We will then explain everything in simple English in the report so you know what steps you need to take to turn visitors into customers.
Will you also implement the recommendations outlined in your website audit report?
Absolutely. We are a web design agency with many years of experience in building user-friendly, SEO-friendly and conversion-friendly websites. In short, we know what it takes to build a website that wins customers for your business.
We use this experience and knowledge to identify where your website stands compared to where you want to be and we will not only provide an action plan to plug this gap but we can implement our recommendations through our professional website design services.
Get Our Free Website Audit Performed by Experienced Professionals
If you are looking to make the most of your website, don’t simply use a website audit tool. Get a website design professional to assess your website.
A tool is a good start but it’s not enough. You need an expert to look into the data, interpret it and summarise the findings so you can easily understand what you need to do to make your website deliver the results you seek.
That’s why it’s important to have a professional audit your website. If you are looking to redesign your website and are keen on having your website audited, you’re in luck.
Business Website Group offers a free website audit service. Valued at $2,000, our website audit will help you understand if you really should redesign your website and what you can gain by investing in a website redesign.
As part of this free website audit, we will carry out an in-depth analysis of your website and identify the areas that need improvement. We will also include a plan of action so you know what it would take to get your website back on track to win traffic and customers.