How to audit your website - Part One

How to audit your website - Part One

What is a website audit?

Clients often come to us knowing that their website needs improving, but sometimes they don’t know what needs to change or why. In these cases, a website audit is a great place to start.

A website audit helps both client and agency to understand which site tasks and processes work and which don’t. It’s a tool for finding out what users want.

Why should you consider one? 

Here are just a few reasons why you might consider a site audit:

– Your website is old and stops you from communicating properly
– You wish you had a website like one of your competitors
– You want a responsive or mobile-friendly website
– Your brand or product offering has changed
– You need more sales or enquiries
– You’ve received negative feedback or complaints about your site
– Your site analytics results are below expectations.

We believe that feedback and suggestions from users are invaluable for digging deeper and removing the guesswork from updating or re-designing a website. We use three different auditing techniques to collect as much valuable data as possible:

(1) User survey – a brief survey covering key tasks and processes, aimed directly at your target market.

(2) Usability testing – a list of detailed tasks to be completed by a group of mixed-ability users who are new to your site.

(3) Expert review – a comprehensive, professional opinion of your site, from an industry expert.

Over a series of three blog posts, we will outline these three different website auditing techniques and how to execute them.

How do you conduct a website audit?

1. User survey

We recommend this audit technique to any business or organisation whose website asks users to register. Whether your site has a database of e-commerce customers or you just collect email addresses for the occasional email update, you have a fantastic opportunity to collect invaluable data from regular site visitors. After all, these people are your target market, so it is in your interest to listen to them and act on their responses.

Online survey tools are ideal; they allow you to create a survey using a pre-existing template, saving a lot of time. Once created, you can easily publish your survey online and send a link to your user database. Most online survey tools also come with great analytics built-in.

Use a format of multiple-choice questions to keep it quick and easy to complete, with a free-form comment box at the end of each section. This enables you to collect large amounts of data from members quickly even if they are short on time, but also gives them the opportunity to give more detailed comments, if they wish to.

Be sure to cover all of the most common user tasks and processes with your multiple-choice questions. To make analysing the outcomes of your survey easy, give your users a consistent way of grading their answers e.g. responses to questions could be as simple as checking ‘Poor’, ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’. To finish, ask your users a couple of more open-ended questions, such as what do they think of the site functionality, overall design aesthetic or general usability of your site? If possible, incentivise your users with a free prize draw, to maximise the number of responses.

Expect the results to surprise you!

In the next post, we will look at usability testing.

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