Web Development

How To Thoroughly Audit Your Web Presence

How To Thoroughly Audit Your Web Presence 900 900 Jesse Alex

Guest Blog By: Kevin Cooper, Founder of Broad Band Search

How do you make decisions relating to branding, marketing, SEO, and content direction? While some may try to get by with their intuition, the most successful websites use data to drive their decision making in most cases.

Yet data just doesn’t come out of anywhere. It would be wise to consider performing an audit of your web presence to now only know where your website is headed but where it could head, and what potential isn’t being used to the fullest. A full audit will give you knowledge as to your position in the market, what strategies are and are not working, and provide new perspectives on how you run your site and how it is viewed by the public.

While there’s no particular order you will want to do these in (you will want to look over the combined data at the need anyhow) and there are additional measures you can take, you will want to at least take the following steps when auditing your web presence:

Perform SEO and Local SEO Analysis

SEO is the bread and butter of a solid web presence, so it’s only natural that checking your SEO metrics (things such as your bounce rate, number of referring domains, and the amount of organic traffic) is vital when performing your audit.

You will almost certainly want to use SEO analysis tools to do this, so you’ll want to make sure that you are looking at the right metrics. This will require some additional research on your part if you aren’t familiar with the terminology, but it will be a skill that is essential for proper site management.

At the same time check your page rankings and how they might have changed (positively or negatively) over time.

If your website or business is focused on a local area, you’ll want to check your local SEO metrics instead and based your decisions off them.

See How Your Marketing Strategies Are Performing

While you are looking at your SEO statistics, try to line them up with your marketing methods (whether you are doing that yourself or outsourcing it) and see what you can do to get a full overview of how those strategies are working. A/B testing might be a good tool in this case, and you should try to be quick with any changes you might make to your strategies.

Audit Your Social Media Metrics

This one, fortunately, isn’t a difficult step at all. You’ll want to check your pages and pull the data on what gets share most, and on what platforms your content seems to be the most successful. You will want to choose your own engagement metrics and goals based on your site’s needs, but social media presence is web presence for some brands, so see where you are trending.

Review Your Overall Brand

Your brand recognition and how your brand is perceived are both important parts of your web presence. You might want to ask yourself the following about your site:

  • What are people saying about the brand in comments sections?
  • Does the web site work to enhance the brand, or is there noticeable dissonance that needs to be addressed?
  • What values does your brand portray, and does your web presence work with that?

You will want to see what your brand looks like from the outside as much as possible, and then take measures to adjust. If you’re very concerned or want to focus on other matters, Brand Fiend’s services might be great for your site

Perform a Content and General Site Audit

You will want to look at your site not just from the point of view as a site administrator and editor but as someone potentially looking at the site for the first time. Is the content interesting to you or would it at least be to your target audience? Can you read everything easily, and is the site visually pleasing to the eye? Is there anything that would annoy you?

While analytics are a fantastic tool, sometimes looking at the site like this is one of the only ways to determine why content is or is not working. You will also want to make sure the landing pages and the general information presented on the site is up to date and accurate.

See that Your Services Are Performing Adequately

As part of your web presence audit, you should check to see what your services are doing for you. See what you are using and what you might need, and consider the following:

  • How do you feel about your web hosting services? Are you getting the technical support you need, or is it holding your site back?
  • Are there marketing tools and services that you still use, or are there alternatives that would work much better for your needs?
  • How about the basic services you need to run your blog? Is your internet connection dropping to the detriment of your blog? Do you think a better office or setup on your end will allow for better web presence administration? Consider everything that could be a factor.

Review the Competition

Your site’s web presence isn’t just about your site, it’s about your site’s place in the great online ecosystem online, especially within the industries or niches your site operates in. Check the following for your competitors when it doesn’t go too far out of the way of your own analysis and searches:

  • How do their page rankings stand up?
  • What social media platforms are they most successful on and what content is performing well?
  • What marketing tactics are your competitors using?

Conclusion

A full web presence audit is quite an undertaking and can take you a few days, but it is a necessary one. With the right steps and tools at your disposal, you will be able to make sure that your website grows at a better rate in the future and avoid many of the problems your competitors might face in the coming years. Just remember to perform one at least every six months (and you might want to perform other checks more frequently).

Have you ever performed an audit for your web presence in the past? Was it a dedicated effort, or part of a larger initiative? Are there any other steps you think should be included? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the subject.

Kevin’s Bio: Kevin Conner is the brains behind Broadbandsearch.net. He has been a digital entrepreneur for several years and fully understands the importance of keeping on top of your web presence, both business and personal

5 Reasons To View Web Design As An Investment Rather Than Cost

5 Reasons To View Web Design As An Investment Rather Than Cost 900 900 Jesse Alex

Check out our guest blog by Jock Purtle, Founder of Digital Exits.

Web design can be costly. Big secret, I know. And for most business owners, whenever they see a big price tag, they tend to shy away. But thinking web design isn’t worth it, or that it’s something that can be faked, is just one of the many all-too-common misconceptions about web design. However, this misunderstanding usually comes because managers can’t see the gains to be made from investing in web design.

We live in a digital world. Websites are the new storefronts. They are how most people will first come into contact with your business and brand, and they will affect people’s purchasing decisions. It’s important to view web design not as a cost, but rather as an investment that can help reap significant returns for your company. Not convinced? Here are five reasons why you can expect to get back the money you put into developing a top-rated website.

First Impressions

Like anything in life, the first impression you make with people matters, a lot. Sure, there will be time for you to bounce back if you start on the wrong foot, but if you make a bad first impression with someone, then you’ll be facing an uphill battle to get back in their good graces.

If someone lands on your site and it’s hard to navigate, looks unprofessional, or worse, doesn’t work, then they will begin to form negative associations about your brand you’ll struggle to overcome. Future promotional content might not resonate as well, or you may have a hard time driving traffic to the site with your newsletter or social media. On the internet, you only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention. Not investing in quality layout and design can cost you visitors, which in the end will cost you money. On the other hand, a sleek, professional and easy-to-use site will draw people in and get them clicking around your content.

Google Cares

This one should be reason enough for any business owner to pay attention to design. While Google doesn’t directly measure or rate your web design, several of the key metrics it uses to determine search engine ranking depend on your site’s design.

For example, Google uses time on page and bounce rate to help determine the quality of your content. And while you need to have good content to help improve performance in these areas, design helps a lot too. We’ve all clicked onto sites that look messy or unprofessional and immediately clicked off. Even if the content is great, it doesn’t matter. We’ve convinced ourselves it’s not credible and moved on, and Google will take notice when this happens.

Google also cares about how your site looks on mobile phones. Not optimizing your site for mobile platforms is SEO suicide, something a lot of companies learned the hard way a few years back when Google introduced this into their algorithms—a day known as Mobilegeddon. Mobile design can be costly, sure, but the return you get in the form of improved search engine performance is well worth the investment.

Design Affects Conversions

Good web design does more than just make your site look good and present your business in the best light possible. It can also have a dramatic effect on how people move around on your site, and this affects conversions.

Placement of calls to action (CTAs) and visual hierarchies are important for funneling people to the right spot. You want to make it easy for them to find out where and how they can spend money, and this is all design. Sure, your sales copy might be what causes them to finally pull the trigger, but without good design leading people to the right places on your site, this copy will be far less impactful and will cause your conversion content to underperform.

Performance

The internet has come a long way. Many of us can remember when things went so slowly that you could click on a page, get up and get a cup of coffee, and then come back just as the page finished loading. But many more of us do not have this memory, and the possibility of it makes us laugh. The takeaway: your site needs to be fast, or else. And it needs to work.

When someone lands on your page, they expect to be able to move around it easily and quickly. And if they run into “404 Not Found” pages, then forget about it. You’ve already lost them.
Delivering a good user experience comes from having a quality backend design. Hiring a professional to come in and make sure everything is working correctly and at full speed is absolutely essential. It helps improve the overall customer experience and makes sure people stick around on your site long enough to get to your conversion content and eventually make a purchase.

Branding

Last, but certainly not least, web design affects branding. Building a strong brand requires a comprehensive approach, but there is no one component that matters more or less than the other. You may have great messaging, but if your color schemes and layouts are off, then this messaging will be less impactful.

Good design can help to reinforce the brand messaging you’re trying to communicate. It can help people generate positive associations about your brand. Then, when they come into contact with your content, they will absorb it more readily, and it will have a greater impact on their purchasing decision.

Strong brands tend to make more money, and they also make companies more valuable, something of interest to those considering selling their business. Web design alone won’t execute your branding strategy, but it’s a critical component, and it’s an investment you should most certainly make.

Investment Today, Reward Tomorrow

Investing in quality web design simply makes good business sense. It’s important to note, though, that you won’t see results right away. It’ll take some time for Google to register your changes, and for you to see a noticeable change in user behavior. But it will happen. Invest wisely today, and you’ll experience great rewards tomorrow.

About the author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service that specializes in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. He is an expert in the valuation of small to medium internet business, and through this work, he has learned the various different things that make online companies successful. He likes to write about his experiences to serve as a resource for other business owners. Some of his work has been featured in publications such as CNBC, Forbes, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.