his article isn’t sexy. It’s not about creating stellar marketing campaigns, writing killer copy, and designing award-winning art. Instead, this is about the back-end, behind-the-scenes, somewhat dry yet crucial side of marketing – conducting a comprehensive tech audit for your website.
Checking for broken links and duplicate content may not spark excitement, but it should be foundational to your marketing efforts. The primary goal of a technical audit is to identify and address any issues that may affect your site’s performance, functionality, or search engine optimization (SEO). And as we all know, a slow-loading website, or one that’s impossible to navigate on a mobile phone, can be a deal breaker for customers who expect a seamless process.
What Is Involved in a Website Technical Audit?
For many marketers, the “why” of a tech audit is easy to understand, but the “how” is a different story. It requires testing every single link on your entire website, clicking on every CTA, and digging through pages to ensure that a blog post or product isn’t listed multiple times.
While it’s possible to do this on your own, we highly recommend partnering with a trustworthy website expert who knows what to look for and, more importantly, how to fix issues. The right third-party partner will customize their audit to meet the needs of your individual site, but there are some common key components that are addressed across the board:
- Website Speed and Performance: This involves analyzing the website’s loading speed, server response times, and overall performance. In addition to annoyed customers, a slow site can also lead to lower search engine rankings.
- Crawlability and Indexability: This step ensures that search engine bots can access and index all the pages on your website, which is crucial for SEO. The process checks for issues like broken links, blocked pages, and proper XML sitemaps.
- Mobile-Friendliness: With the increasing use of mobile devices, it’s essential that your website is responsive and provides a good user experience on various screen sizes. Google also considers mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor.
- Site Architecture: At this stage, the audit focuses on your website’s URL structure, internal linking, and navigation to ensure it’s both user-friendly and search engine-friendly.
- Duplicate Content: It’s important to identify and address duplicate content issues, which can harm SEO rankings. This includes duplicate meta tags, titles, and content across pages.
- Technical SEO: SEO works behind the scenes, too. This step involves analyzing on-page elements such as meta titles, meta descriptions, header tags, and more to optimize visibility and overall performance in search results. This is different from on-page SEO, which focuses on content and keywords. Instead, technical SEO ensures that search engines can crawl, index, and understand your site’s content effectively.
How Can a Tech Audit Help My Luxury Business?
Although these benefits can apply across all industries, a tech audit for your high-end website is important in order to help optimize your marketing campaigns – here are a few examples of those marketing benefits:
- Improved Search Engine Ranking: The higher your spot on the Google results page, the better your visibility to potential and current customers. A technical audit helps identify and rectify issues that may be negatively impacting your website’s search engine ranking.
- Enhanced User Experience: A well-performing website that loads quickly and is easy to navigate provides a better user experience. This can lead to longer user sessions, higher engagement rates and events, and higher chances of conversions.
- Competitive Advantage: Having a technically sound website can set your luxury brand apart from the competition. By completing an audit, you can identify and fix any holes within the website, products, services, or content.
- Reduced Abandonment Rates: Slow-loading pages or technical errors can lead to visitors leaving your site before they complete a transaction – a technical audit helps keep guests clicking and staying on your site.
- Better ROI: Digital marketing campaigns like pay-per-click advertising, social media advertising, or SEO are a considerable financial investment. An optimized website ensures that you get the most value out of your marketing spend by providing a platform that can effectively convert visitors into customers.
How Do I Perform a Technical Audit?
We always recommend partnering with an expert, such as a digital marketing agency, for any projects that dig into the tech world, because they can help ensure that nothing gets overlooked and all issues are solved. Selecting a partner with experience in your industry can also go a long way when it comes to understanding your unique issues, goals, and objectives. (Side note: Always ask for referrals!)
Prices can vary wildly depending on factors like your objectives, project scope, selected agency, expertise level, and more, but it’s a worthy investment. Once you’re paired with a qualified tech audit expert, here are some questions to bring to your first meeting.
1. What are your objectives and goals for the audit? Be specific and clearly define what it is you want to do, and what you want to achieve. Don’t be afraid to get into the nitty-gritty, either. If you have a specific goal of increasing your conversions from one particular CTA, for example, let them know. It will help guide the audit process.
2. What is your project scope? This can include things like budget, timeline, and any specific areas of concern. These factors will determine your costs. If budget is a concern, consider requesting a “good, better, best” package from them that outlines what they can do for you at various budget levels.
3. How will the audit process work? Have your audit team walk you through the entire process from start to finish. Ask for the order of operations, how much time will be required for each step, whether it will cause momentary issues for your site, and how much you’ll need to be involved. Some of the basic processes include an examination of page load times, mobile-friendliness, site structure, navigation, SEO, security, and more.
4. When will you receive a report, and what will it include? After the audit is complete, you should receive a detailed report with your resultsand recommendations. It will outline the issues discovered and propose solutions for improvement, and you can also request that it prioritizes fixes by urgency.
You Received Your Site Audit Report. Now What?
After the site examination is complete, it’s time for your team to get to work fixing issues. You can rely on your audit team to run testing and QA checks, but it can never hurt to have additional eyes on the issues that could cause the most problems.
One important thing to understand is that a technical audit isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it project. It’s essential to continuously monitor your site’s performance using tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or recommendations from your digital agency. Over time, you’ll be able to assess the impact of the audit and identify any new issues that might come up.
As time rolls on, and if budget allows, periodic audits will help keep your site in tip-top shape. Regular assessments are important for making sure that your site remains competitive and user-friendly. Which, at the end of the day, attracts more customers and increases your ROI.
Ready to improve your site? Read more about the technical audit process at Hawthorn Creative and contact us to book your website audit!