Why Perform A Website Audit?
To learn, of course, and as a business leader you can learn a tremendous amount that can make a significant difference for you and your company. Within about a month of studying what’s actually happening on your website, you’ll know what changes to make going forward that will solve all sorts of problems.
Of course, if you need any help - or if you finish your audit and want to go even further - feel free to learn more about how we can help.
First things first – here’s a bulleted outline of the auditing process. It's pretty simple:
- Install all tools
- Define goals
- Review your data
- Outline what to do next
Step 1: The Tools
To perform an audit, you're going to install some awesome tools on your website. These tools will help record visitors, track behavior and run tests in the future. Some of our favorites are:
Mouseflow: amazingly smooth recordings of user behavior on all devices. Mouseflow makes it easy to segment these recordings and learn about specific users. (iPhone users from Texas, for instance.)
: Captures beautiful, easy-to-understand "maps" of your website's click activity, scroll activity and mouse activity. This helps you learn if users are seeing what you want them to see and where they're getting stuck, which is a bad thing.
: Is an alternative to Google Analytics (GA). It outperforms GA for real-time data - letting you see who's on your site right now - and provides an alternate data set with easier to use segmentation.
: Is going to make your web developer really happy. Each of these tools involved embedding a snippet of code in your page. What the team at Segment.IO has done is roll them all in to a single snippet to keep load time down and unify tool management.
: Will help you run tests to learn what performs the best. It's easy and fast and offers a lot of power if you want to become an A/B expert (testing one message – the A – versus another message – the B).
: Complain if you want, but it’s the standard-bearer for web analytics. GA provides robust data with powerful segmentation. It may not be the best at any one-thing, but for “well roundedness” it's a must-have.
Step 2: Set Goals
Setting goals for an audit is asking yourself the most fundamental questions:
- What should your website be doing for your organization?
- How well is it doing it now?
- How much time do you have to work on improving your website?
Grab a pen and write down answers to these three questions. You'll want to revisit them at the end of your audit because, ultimately, this is what the process is all about.
Step 3: Analyzing Your Results (What To Look For)
Once the tools are installed and you've established your goals - you wait and observe. Let your tools capture data for about 30 days, then get to work reviewing the data and seeing how your goals are performing “in the wild.”
- Watch recordings on Mouseflow. Keep an eye out for how users are moving around your site. Where does it look like they're getting stuck and what do they seem really interested in?
- View maps on CrazyEgg. On the scroll map, are they making it to your forms? Where are they spending the most time? Which sections have the highest drop off? On the click map, where are people clicking that they shouldn't and which links are most popular?
- Analyze and qualify traffic patterns. In Clicky and Google Analytics, where are people coming from? What sources? What locations? What sources of traffic bring visitors who stick around the longest or convert the most? Figure out what are the most and least popular pieces of content and how often do people return (and which referrals bring the most loyal audience)?
Step 4: Finding A Path Forward
Once you've taken the time to review your data, you should be in a good place to make decisions. Go ahead and revisit the answers to the three questions about your goals.
Now that you've watched users, how do you think you can improve your website and content to make it easier for them (and you) to accomplish your goals?
What are the three most obvious reasons that user behavior is falling short of what you'd like to see or do?
How can you break the changes needed into small enough pieces that they fit naturally into the amount of time you have to deal with them? You don't necessarily need an entirely new website. If a user is confused by something, remove it!
If they're leaving the page too fast, use Optimizely to test different headlines. Find the smallest possible uses of your time to learn what changes may help solve the bigger problems you're seeing.
So now you've performed a website audit and you've got a list of changes you want to implement. Now what? Well, make the changes, especially the ones that are the most obvious and can make the most impact.
Auditing your website, over time, will become a natural, ongoing part of your organization - not a one-time triage. You don't have to take that on right now, but doing it once should prove that doing it again in a few months (and again after that) is a really good idea.
That’s how you’ll know the changes are actually working and you’re constantly updating and improving your website.
If you need any help - or if you finish your audit and want to go even further - feel free to learn more about how we can help.