(Ping! Zine Web Hosting magazine) – What’s the number one goal you want to accomplish with your website? Increase your visitor-to-customer conversion rate? Generate more sales? Increase your company’s revenues? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, then you are ready for a website audit. But what exactly is a website audit? And how can a website audit help you achieve your goals?
Defining website audit
A website audit is where a professional website auditor reviews your website and uncovers all the possible ways your website can convert more visitors to customers, increase sales and revenue, and simply motivate your visitors to take action. A professional website auditor will then provide a list of changes you can make today that will help you attract more qualified visitors, increase conversion rates, and turn your website into a marketing and sales resource that works just as hard as you do.
When to get a website audit
You know it’s time to get a website audit when your traffic and sales have become stagnant regardless of your marketing and advertising efforts. For example, you are spending thousands of dollars on advertising campaigns across multiple advertising mediums (websites, magazines, newsletters) and generating traffic, but not converting that traffic to customers. If that’s the case, it’s time to get a professional website audit.
If your company is spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on advertising campaigns, you need to make sure your website is optimized for maximum performance. Doing so will help convert qualified visitors to customers, thereby increasing your sales and revenues. There are many elements that must be analyzed, identified, and implemented in order to increase your visitor-to-customer ratio, which ultimately increase your sales and revenue.
Elements your website auditor will review
A professional website auditor will review your website by following a step-by-step process to identify ways your website can be improved. Website owners are busy and often do not have time to research, study, and become a master at auditing their own websites. The following list shows the primary aspects a professional website auditor will check during the review process.
- Compare your website to your competitors’ websites
- Review your website’s copy for call-to-action
- Test your website’s usability issues and interface design
- Review your website’s search engine optimization
- Identify your website’s current brand equity
There may be other items a website auditor will check once the above list has been completed. Every website is different and has unique goals so the website audit list may vary slightly from one project to the next. However, the most important aspect of your website is to start with a competitor analysis.
Comparing your website to your competitors’ websites
Almost every website has competing websites that offer similar products and services. That’s okay as competition forces companies to improve how they present themselves in the marketplace. A professional website auditor will research your top competitors and identify what they are doing wrong or what they could be doing better. With that information, a website auditor can help you identify ways to counter your competitors. A website auditor will provide you with ideas on the best ways to present what makes your organization different than your competitors and implement those unique attributes on your website. But be careful, it takes a skilled website auditor with experience to help you overcome any obstacles getting in the way of achieving your number one goal.
Reviewing your website’s copy for call-to-action
After a full competitor analysis has been completed, a website auditor will review your existing website copy and identify how you can implement call-to-action items. Call-to-action elements are placed on your website to motivate your visitors to take action. For example, you want your visitors to review your latest specials, pick up the phone and call you, download a demonstration of your product, fill out a form, signup for a newsletter – all of these are call-to-action elements. But if your website does not have the right copy written to motivate your visitors, call-to-action elements become useless. The reason – your visitors will leave your website before you draw them in to take action. A website auditor can help you identify and implement the right copy to compel your users to take action. The more action your users take, the more sales and revenue you generate.
Testing your website’s usability issues and interface design
You can have the best copy on your website with compelling call-to-action items, but if your website is not user-friendly, you can instantly turn away prospective buyers and lose thousands in revenue. Usability is more than just aesthetics – the look and feel of your website – it’s how your users will move through your website and engage in conversation with you. Conversation can be in the form of any of the call-to-action elements you include on your website (contact form, phone number, chat, newsletter signup, product demonstration, product download, specific content, and so on). Your website’s usability and interface design should cater to your intended audiences. For example, consider a website that you enjoy visiting frequently – your favorite website. Think about your favorite website’s interface design and how it helps or compels you to take action. Is it user-friendly? Does it make you want to stay on the website and use it more? Is the navigation well structured and directs you to where you want to go? If it’s one of your favorite websites that you visit frequently, then most likely it is user-friendly and has a clean, simple interface that keeps you coming back.
Reviewing your website’s search engine optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to drive qualified traffic to your website. If your website is not fully optimized for search engines, you lose potential customers and sales. SEO is an ongoing process that should never stop. A professional website auditor can help you establish the proper SEO plan to help you attract more qualified visitors that ultimately turn into more sales. But your SEO plan should consist of more than just optimizing your website’s content. In order to maximize your SEO efforts, you need ongoing marketing services to help increase and keep your most valuable keywords and key phrases that attract your target customers continually ranked high in the search engines. Without a solid SEO plan in place, your website will lose highly qualified traffic and ultimately sales and revenue.
Identifying your website’s current brand equity
Your brand is vital to the success of your business. Branding is more than just choosing a color scheme or having a perfect logo. Branding is identifying what makes your organization different and building brand equity around those differentiating factors. Part of your brand equity is determined by how you present your differentiating factors on your website through copy, SEO, usability, interface design, and overall marketing. When you put it all together by working closely with a professional website auditor, you can achieve the success you’ve always wanted with your website. But make sure you hire a professional website auditor with experience. Hire someone who can prove they can help you achieve your number one goal with greater success.
Taking the next step
Hiring a professional website auditor is one of the most beneficial things you can do to increase your company’s revenues. But hiring the right professional website auditor can be tricky. Look for a consultant who can identify all the elements of a professional website audit and then act on implementing what it takes to resolve any issues that currently keep your company from generating more revenue. The return on investment will be worth every dollar you spend and then some. The longer you wait, the more sales you lose. Start today by getting a professional website audit and see how your company’s financials improve. In some cases, the change is almost instant.
What to look for in a professional website auditor
Finding the right professional website auditor means the difference in helping you achieve your goals. In order to help you achieve your goals, you should interview a professional website auditor with the following credentials:
- Professional experience
- Website audit portfolio
- Case studies
- Proven results
Without the above credentials, you could end up spending your hard earned money on services that do not generate the results you expect from a professional website audit. So how do you hire a website auditor with professional experience?
Hiring a website auditor with professional experience
A professional website auditor should have years of professional experience in auditing websites, making suggestions, and implementing strategies that generate results. Although not a requirement, look for a professional website auditor with industry related experience. Someone with industry experience will understand your products and services better than someone outside of your related industry.
In addition to finding issues with your current website and providing ideas on how to improve your website, a professional website auditor can also perform the work. Examples include SEO analysis, SEO copywriting, SEO marketing campaigns, website content writing, call-to-action design and implementation, graphic design, newsletter writing and distribution, press release writing and marketing, white paper writing and design, brochure writing and design and even give you ideas on where to spend your advertising dollars in magazines and related media websites.
Real testimonials are a must
A professional website auditor should be able to provide you with testimonials from previous and current clients. In most cases, a professional website auditor will have testimonials of clients stating the results they received by hiring the professional website auditor. Testimonials can be text based or video based and must include testimonials from legitimate or prominent names in your industry. Testimonials do not have to be industry related as an experienced website auditor can adapt to any industry and provide real results.
By reading or viewing testimonials, you get first-hand experience from a previous or existing client that has used a professional website auditor’s services. Testimonials instill trust, especially when coming from someone with a prominent name in the industry.
Ask for a website audit portfolio
In some cases, a website audit portfolio is a combination of multiple portfolios that include website content, marketing content, and design content. A professional website auditor can show you examples from portfolio pieces in addition to reports and statistics that are not posted in a portfolio. If you do not see a portfolio specifically for website audits, ask the professional website auditor for more information.
Review existing website audit case studies
Case studies are a great way to showcase the work of a professional website auditor. If case studies do not exist on the professional website auditor’s website, ask for specific examples as some case studies may not be available to the public. Some companies do not want to share their results with competing companies. A professional website auditor will evaluate the type of information you need to know to make the right decision and provide you with examples.
Proven results are a must
Before hiring a professional website auditor, ask for detailed results on similar projects. A website auditor can tell you statistics on how a website’s traffic and conversion ratios increased as a result of planning, implementing, and deploying a professional website audit. A professional website auditor should have a professional website that has been audited. If the website auditor you are hiring has a website, look at the interface design, navigation, content, and call-to-action elements. You should be motivated to take action.
Trust your website auditor
Before you hire a professional website auditor, you need to have reviewed enough compelling information that demonstrates why you should trust the professional website auditor you plan to hire. Before the professional website auditor starts your project, you should feel confident that you hired the right person based on their previous experience and proven results. That said, listen carefully to the website auditor you hire and implement what the website auditor recommends. The payoff will be rewarding.
An outside perspective
A professional website auditor will review your website from an outside perspective. When you work with your own products and services daily, you become submersed in a subjective environment. When you hire a professional website auditor, you get an experienced, objective perspective that will ultimately help you take your products and services to the next level. An outside perspective will open up ideas and help you see things in a different way compared to what you see from an internal perspective.
Get your website ready for more sales
Make sure your website is ready in 2010 and the coming years to attract more qualified leads, increase traffic, and convert more visitors to customers. Start by hiring a professional website auditor to review your website and uncover all the possible ways your website can convert visitors to customers, increase sales and revenue, and simply motivate your visitors to take action. As 2010 approaches, set aside a piece of your marketing budget and contact a website auditor today.
About Dave Young
Dave Young is a professional writer, website auditor, marketing consultant, SEO guru, and founder of Young Copy, a leading promotional and technical writing services firm. Visit www.youngcopy.com to learn how you can boost your company’s revenues.