Many small business owners know the importance of conducting a website audit, but few understand what it entails. Conducting an audit can help you identify opportunities for improvement to your website and increase your conversion rates. The idea is not just to fix glaringly obvious problems but rather to pinpoint any areas where visitors might get frustrated or give up on finding information.
On the contrary, website valuation is the process of estimating the worth of a website. The purpose of this valuation is to ascertain whether or not the asking price for a website is reasonable.
In this article, we will explore the key differences between a website audit and website valuation.
What is a Website Audit?
A website audit is an examination of a website’s performance before large-scale search engine optimization (SEO) or a redesign. Auditing your website, or a website you’re looking to acquire, might determine whether it’s optimized to meet your traffic objectives and, if not, how you can improve it to enhance performance.
When it comes to website audits, there are two main types: technical and content.
Technical Audit Report
A technical website audit is a comprehensive analysis of your site’s code and the server environment to ensure that there aren’t any problems. This includes looking at broken links, page speeds, meta tags, and other important elements for SEO. A technical website audit can also help determine if you are using an outdated CMS or hosting platform.
Content Audit Report
A content website audit is an analysis of your website content or the existing copy on your site to determine if it’s effective for your target audience. This includes checking for keyword density, proper usage of titles, duplicate content, and meta descriptions, and whether the overall tone and message are appropriate.
In addition, a content audit report also enables you to gauge and measure your current content strategy, check whether the copy is well-optimized for SEO, and look for any areas that might need improvement. Typically, a manual review is required to conduct a content audit.
Benefits of a Website Audit
Performing a website audit can be beneficial for your business in several ways, including:
- Helping you determine if you are meeting the needs of your target audience. If not, find out what they want or need and how to make it easy for them to take action on your site.
- Identifying opportunities for improvement, such as broken links or pages that might be outdated or obsolete.
- Helping you determine if your site is set up for search engine optimization (SEO). This can help ensure you get the most organic traffic possible on major search engines like Google and Bing.
- Examine your website’s health and infrastructure of your website to ensure its robustness, evaluate how popular your website is to search engines, and analyze how easy it is for people to find things on your site.
- A site audit lets you assess the efficacy of your website in terms of lead generation and conversion. As a result, you’ll be able to identify any missed chances to convert visitors into leads, as well as discover flaws in your landing pages that need to be addressed for your site to perform better.
- Use site audit as a baseline for comparison. This will allow you to understand how well your website performs against your competitors. You can evaluate how well your search ranking is in terms of your target keywords and determine new sources of income potential.
Website Audit Checklist:
A comprehensive or overall site health audit of your website will identify SEO issues that are negatively affecting your site’s performance, both in terms of usability and SEO. Furthermore, an SEO audit also allows you to make improvements before investing heavily into digital marketing campaigns or a website redesign. In other words, a website audit focuses primarily on the technical issues of your website and how to further optimize your site for search engines.
Here’s a quick checklist of what you can expect to find in a website audit:
- Broken Links
- Site Speed
- Page Titles
- Title Tags
- Image Alt Text
- Meta Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Site Structure
- XML Sitemap
- Meta Description
- User Experience
- Landing Pages
- Internal Links
- Canonical Tag
How to Conduct a Website Audit?
A website audit is usually done by a third-party analyst or a management consultant that offers website audit services. However, you, as the business owner, can also perform a website audit by yourself if you have the right skills and knowledge. If you’re a little cash-strapped, you can perform an audit of your own site by following the steps below.
Here’s how to conduct a website audit.
- Team Alignment
Set up a meeting with your team to discuss the goals of your site and what you’d like to achieve over the next year or so. The key to a successful website audit is having everyone on the same page.
- Goal Setting and Task Delegation
Break down any goals into projects (or tasks), and assign duties to team members based on their strengths. For example, if someone understands marketing better than others, he/she should be responsible for marketing-related issues including social media networks and distribution of content. Other project managers might be responsible for conducting keyword research, designing a blog schedule, and so on.
- Run Your Website URL through a Site Audit Tool
Before you begin, you’ll want to use a website auditing tool to analyze how well your website is performing. You can get detailed recommendations and test how your page is doing using a website audit tool.
- SEO Audits
An SEO audit is typically performed in two parts: technical SEO audit and content review.
Technical SEO Audit / On-Page SEO
In technical audits, you look at your website from a search engine’s perspective to identify any technical problem areas that might be affecting website performance. This includes the technical site structure and setup of your website, XML sitemaps, mobile compatibility, security breaches (if there are any), page load speed, internal links, canonical tags, and others.
You can conduct your own audit by using one of the following SEO audit tools:
- Google Analytics
- Site Speed Test
- Google PageSpeed
- Checker W3C
- Link Checker
- HTML Validation
- W3C Markup Validator
- Screaming Frog
- SEO Spider
If you’re looking for a technical website audit, we recommend enlisting the help of an experienced agency of SEO services or website auditor. While performing comprehensive site health and technical analysis is possible on your own, it’s very time-consuming and requires in-depth knowledge about websites and code. Plus, if you don’t know what to look for, you might overlook key issues that could be holding back your site’s performance.
On the other hand, content reviews focus on improving the quality of your content so it’s more popular with search engines and users alike. This implies whether your website content is relevant and useful for your users, easily discoverable on search engines, or optimized around targeted keywords. Apart from this, it also involves examining meta descriptions, title tags, image alt text, duplicate content, readability, keyword targeting, site layout, etc.
Content auditing can be done by yourself or you can ask an agency to perform content audits for you. Once again, because this process involves in-depth knowledge about web pages and their structure, it’s recommended that you seek professional third-party assistance.
- Analyze the Design and User Experience
Once the SEO audit is complete, you can move on to an analysis that focuses on how well your website design supports an excellent user experience.
Run a user experience audit on your site’s design and user behavior to identify areas where you might need improvement. This includes understanding how users interact with your website by looking at metrics such as bounce rate, time spent on site, page views per session, search referrals, etc.
If you’re performing an audit on your own, it’s easy enough to use Google Analytics or any other third-party analytics tool to review key performance indicators for specific pages on your website. However, some things require knowledge—for example: how to track every page on your website, how often a user closes his/her web browser during a session, etc.
- Social Media Presence Audit
Social media audits focus on the current state of your social media channels. This mainly includes reaching out to followers, tracking engagement metrics, analyzing follower demographics, sharing best practices for social networks, determining where you’re getting social signals from (and more).
If you’re performing a site audit on your own, it’s easy enough to log in to Facebook or Twitter and review recent posts. However, some things require a more in-depth analysis. For instance, understanding how often to share posts, what time of the day your posts are most effective, which posts led to the most clicks and shares, and how users are engaging with your posts (are people clicking on links, sharing, or commenting).
- Mobile Audit
The mobile audit is one of the hottest topics in digital marketing today because about half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. These days, it’s important to ensure that your website is viewable on mobile devices without disrupting the user experience.
A mobile audit is aimed at making sure your website works across different screen sizes and devices. This includes identifying how well your website looks on smartphones (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, etc.), tablets (iPad, Kindle Fire), and desktops.
- Create a Checklist of All Site Problems and the Recommended Solutions
Finally, when performing a website audit, it’s critical to have a location where you can summarize all of your findings. Organize the site problems and suggested remedies into sections so that you may communicate them to the appropriate personnel.
Recommendations are the most important part of any site audit. So, be sure to document all findings and include your recommendations to make sure they will be properly implemented.
What is a Website Valuation?
On the other hand, a website valuation is an estimation of the worth of a website at a certain point in time. The purpose of this valuation is to ascertain whether or not the asking price for a website is reasonable. Nonetheless, several factors go into any website valuation, but perhaps the most important consideration is future earning potential. Other factors such as site traffic, age, and website design can also come into play, especially if you are going through a formal acquisition process with the goal of selling your website.
In short, a website valuation is used to ascertain the estimated worth of a website, whereas an SEO audit is used to determine how well your site ranks in terms of search engines.
There are several ways to value a website, including:
Website Age and Traffic – Based on the age of your site and how much organic traffic it gets, you can calculate its worth by multiplying those two factors together. For example, if your site has been around for five years and receives 200 site visitors per day, the total value of your website would be 60,000 (200 x 300).
Income and Expenses – This valuation method takes into account the site’s revenue and expenses, including how much money it makes every month (or year) along with operational costs like hosting fees. For example, if your website made $50K/month in profit two years ago but is only breaking even now or losing money, you can determine its value based on this information.
Domain Name – A domain name valuation identifies what someone might be willing to pay for a domain name using tools like Estibot. It considers factors such as the number of backlinks the site has built over time, whether any trademark disputes surround that specific keyword phrase, and other criteria relevant to SEO.
Once you have a general understanding of the different valuation methods, you can begin to put a dollar value on your website. However, it’s important to remember that these values can change drastically over time, so it’s always best to get an up-to-date valuation if you’re looking to sell your site.
Want to find out how much your online business is worth? Check out Flippa’s free online Business Valuation tool.
A comprehensive or overall site health audit of your website will identify SEO issues that are negatively affecting your site’s performance, both in terms of usability and search rankings. An SEO audit will help you identify weaknesses in your site structure and SEO strategy that are preventing it from ranking higher in search results.
At the same time, a website valuation is used to determine the estimated monetary worth of your site.
In the end, SEO audits and site audits are important for any owner who wants to ensure their site performs at its best. An effective SEO strategy will help you establish a strong online presence with high search rankings that improve your website’s value in terms of both usability and monetary worth.