The Importance of Website Audits Prior to Your Website Launch
Launching a new website can be extremely exciting, but it is important not to rush it or get ahead of yourself. After all, you do not want to launch a website that is any less than perfect, as you need to create the best first impression on your customers.
Before launching your website, you should carry out a series of audits to make sure that everything is the way it should be. Here we will explain the importance of website audits prior to your website launch and provide examples of some of the audits you may want to carry out.
Carrying out a site audit will help to ensure your website is in good order before it launches.
Why are website audits important?
Far too many businesses make the mistake of launching their websites without carrying out any sort of audits. Whilst some may scrape by with few problems, others find that once they have launched their websites, a whole host of issues arise.
The main problem with failing to audit a new website prior to its launch is that it can leave website visitors and potential customers feeling very unsatisfied. If visitors click on navigational links only to find they are broken, are unable to locate the content they need or have to wait ages for your pages to load, they are not going to return to use your website in the future, nor are they going to recommend to any of their peers.
But it’s not just usability issues that can put site visitors off from giving you their custom. If the branding is unappealing or your web design is too complicated, this can too put people off from using your website.
This is why it is essential that you carry out a number of different audits before launching your new website. You will need to audit various different areas of your website including its branding, content, usability and SEO. Whilst some of the areas will directly impact the user experience of your website, others will determine how likely it is to rank well in search engines and your chances of increasing its visibility.
Seeing as you will have invested a significant amount of money in designing and developing your business website, it only seems sensible that you take the time to ensure it is looking and functioning properly prior to its launch. Remember that first impressions count for a great deal and if your website is not up to scratch, it could damage your reputation and ability to make sales in the long run.
Below we have provided a brief explanation of some of the different audits you can carry out prior to launching a new website and why they are beneficial.
The branding of your website will tell users a lot about your business, therefore you need to make sure it is saying the right things. Carrying out a branding audit will require looking at your site’s visual design and determining whether or not it is suitable for your intended audience.
If you worked with a professional web designer to create your business website, then really its branding should be on point. A good web designer will take the time to get to know your business and values and will ensure they are incorporated into the web design so that it creates the right first impression on customers.
Carrying out a branding audit will ensure that the branding and its messages remain consistent throughout the website. There’s nothing worst than sending customers mixed messages about who you are and what you stand for, which is why it is so important to make sure that your website branding perfectly represents your business online.
A content audit will determine whether your content serves the right purpose to your audience.
Content will play a crucial role in the success of your business website. After all it is what many people will visit your site for and the quality of it will determine whether or not they go on to buy your products or services. It is therefore extremely important that you carry out a content audit prior to launching your website. If your content lacks quality or is not unique, it will have a negative impact on both your website’s user experience and ability to rank on search engines.
A content audit involves looking at the content you have created for your new website and determining whether or not it is fit for purpose. Your content must be unique, interesting and engaging in order to serve its purpose of building visitors’ trust in your company and increasing your conversion rates.
Remember your content is the heart and soul of your business website. If it is rubbish then essentially your website will be rubbish too. Carrying out an audit of the content of your website pages and blog (you should have a few posts ready for when your site goes live) will allow you to identify any areas that require improvement before your site launches.
You need to audit your website to ensure it is optimised for all devices.
Before you can carry out a usability audit of your new business website, you first need to identify how and why people will use your website. This will enable you to determine whether or not it meets their needs and requirements during the auditing process.
A usability audit basically involves testing your entire website to ensure that it not only functions properly but that it is also user-friendly. A key area you will need to audit is your website’s navigation, as it is this that will determine whether or not users can browse your website. The easier it is for them to do so, the more likely they are to give you their custom and return to use your business website in the future.
Not only should you audit your site’s navigational elements, but also things like it’s response times. Remember that when it comes to loading a website, users are only willing to wait a couple of seconds and if the site doesn’t load, they’ll simply look for the information they need elsewhere. The site audit should also involve checking that all of the internal links work properly as broken links can make websites look unprofessional and untrustworthy.
Today you will find that users access websites from a wide range of browsers and devices. This is why it is essential that you check your website loads correctly on all browsers and that it is compatible for mobile and tablet viewing too. Doing this will ensure that you do not alienate certain users, effectively allowing you to market your website to a much larger audience.
An SEO audit will determine how search engine friendly your business website is.
Before launching your website, it is extremely important that you carry out an SEO audit to determine how search engine friendly your website is. The more SEO friendly your new website is, the more likely it is to rank well in searches and receive high levels of traffic from search engines.
It is critical that you optimise your business website for search engines so that you rank well on organic search engine results pages. An SEO audit will involve ensuring that you have optimised various areas of your website such as your page titles, URLs, meta data, content and image tags to help your website rank well. You will need to make sure that you have used your keywords appropriately and that your website’s code is clean so that search engines can crawl and index it effectively.
Carrying out an SEO audit will allow you to highlight any areas of your website that you could optimise further to achieve better results. If you are new to SEO, it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced SEO professional when carrying out this audit.
Site auditing – It’s an on-going process
All of the audits we have featured above should be carried out before you launch your website. However it is important to keep in mind that site auditing is not a one-off job. In order to ensure your website remains competitive and is capable of meeting users’ needs and requirements, you will need to audit it on a regular basis.
We recommend carrying out your second set of site audits shortly after your website has launched so you can see how people are interacting and engaging with your site and if any further improvements need to be made.
Website auditing can be a time consuming and technical process, which is why many companies choose to outsource it to dedicated professionals.
How to choose a website auditing company
If you are thinking of investing in a website auditing service by a third party company, it is important to make sure that they are experienced and trustworthy. After all you don’t want to work with a company that doesn’t really know what they are doing or recommends unnecessary changes just to get you to spend more money on their services.
However, if you take the time to vet companies and choose a trusted partner, you can greatly benefit from their experience and advice. A company offering a good website auditing service will not only be able to tell you what needs improving on your website but will also be able to carry out the improvements on your behalf. They will ensure that you remain in the know throughout the site auditing process and will take the time to explain even the most technical subjects in plain English, making it easier for you to learn and understand.
From reading this article, you should now understand why it is so important to carry out website audits prior to launching your website. If you believe you would benefit from a site audit by a trusted digital marketing company with experience in web design, content creation and SEO, please get in touch with us today by calling 01706 830 965.