So many small business owners have to DIY their website. From time to money constraints, it’s just a fact of life that you may have to design and build your site yourself. If that’s the case for you, there will probably come a time where you feel the need to re-examine your work and make sure it’s the strongest it can be. To audit your own website takes clarity of vision and objectivity, both of which can be hard to accomplish without some help.
You may need to do an audit of your website if you:
- Have been seeing a decline in conversions through your site
- Have changed your branding or your company vision
- Have changed any of your services
- Are trying to improve your SEO
- Or if you’re simply changing as a business and want your site to reflect that
Here are the steps you can take to audit your own website in an afternoon:
1. Identify the Change
Take a few moments to identify for yourself what it is that has changed about your business. Essentially, the reason you’re doing the audit. It can come from the list I have above, or it can be a unique reason. Write it down, say it out loud, discuss it with a friend. Just make sure you understand what your problem is so that you can solve it.
2. Create an Actionable Goal Map
Here’s where want to get out a pen and paper. From that problem you just identified, identify the solution.
First, write down the problem you’re having at the top of the paper. Then, write down the solution at the bottom of the paper. This solution must be something quantifiable; you have to be able to measure success with this goal. (Hint: Use numbers!) In between, write down all the things that can help you solve the problem that you aren’t already doing. They have to be things you can accomplish via your website. This is where you might need to do some research. Do this for every problem you’re having – it’s ok if you’re having more than one problem with the site.
Here’s an example.
Problem: Conversions on the site are down.
- Publish more blog posts with links to my services
- Have a link to my services page in the footer and sidebar
- Install a pop-up sign up form for my e-mail list
- Make my opt-in freebies prominent
- Have a design that is appealing to my target audience
Solution: Get at least 20 members of my target audience (black males between the ages of 24-45 in Atlanta) to contact me for my service every month.
Now you have a list of actionable things to do to help solve your problem. But that’s not where you’re audit ends.
3. Make a List of Strong Choices and Choices That Could Be Stronger
Even if you have all of these things in place, you need to observe how your site looks and how it functions. It’s not enough to have all the puzzle pieces in front of you, they have to be arranged properly and fitted together in order to help you achieve your goal.
I don’t like to look at something and say it’s “good” or “bad”. With design especially, you want to think about strong choices vs. weak choices. A strong choice is the best possible decision you could have made to help you reach your goal. A weak choice is something you did on a whim or for a reason that isn’t helpful to you. For instance, a lot of people choose colors and fonts because they like how they look. But if your target audience doesn’t identify with those choices, they are weak.
Keep your problem and solution in mind. In this case, you’re not getting conversions and you want from the people you want. Here are the 3 main areas to look at and some simple questions you should be asking yourself.
- Is the color scheme I’m using appealing to these people? Is there any way for me to choose a stronger color scheme?
- Am I using color to the best of my ability to lead users to what they need to convert?
- Is the font I’m using appealing to these people? Is there any way for me to choose a stronger font?
- Am I using font to the best of my ability to lead users to what they need to convert?
- Is the imagery I’m using appealing to these people? Is there any way for me to choose stronger imagery?
- Am I using imagery to the best of my ability to lead users to what they need to convert?
- Are my colors, fonts, and imagery creating a strong emotional connection?
- When a user arrives at a page (any page), do they understand what I do right away?
- When a user arrives at a page (any page), is there a clear and direct way for them to get the information they need about my service?
- When a user arrives at a page (any page), can they convert within 3 clicks?
- Are they any pages that do not provide a next step toward conversion?
- Am I using every content area in a way that provides the user with information they find useful and that answers their questions?
- Am I using every content area to establish an emotional investment in the user?
- Am I using every content area to allow the user to see themselves as a realistic potential client of mine?
- Am I using vocabulary and terminology that my user understands?
- Am I using the strongest possible Calls to Action?
- Do I have too much content that is preventing users from engaging?
- Are the services/products I’m offering what my target audience is looking for?
- Is there anything I’m offering that is not helpful to my target audience?
- Is there anything I can change about my services/products that can be more helpful to my target audience?
Do you have any tips to auditing a website? Leave them in the comments below!