Website Auditing in 3 Steps– Part 1

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Do you want to improve your website's performance, like all others do. It's tricky. Isn't it? Let me start with a joke.

Two farmers bought a truckload of watermelons, paying $5 a piece for them. Next day, they drove to the market and sold all their watermelons for $4 each. They, happily, started counting the money they earned and were shocked to see that that they have earned little money than they had spent during this business spree.

‘See, I already told ya, didn’t I?’, said one farmer to the other. ‘I had told ya that we shoulda get a bigger truck or else we are gonna burn our pockets’.

Cocksure, these farmers just identified their weakness.

Now, let’s get straight down to our subject,’ Website Auditing’. It’s true that most of us have our websites, blogs and ecommerce stores and, perhaps, it’s also true that we struggle a lot have our efforts crowned with profitable outcomes, and with another perhaps, it’s also true that often the results are not always blissful and delightful.

What is failing? Is it that we ‘shoulda get a bigger truck’? Before we set our budget for any bigger truck, it’s better to do some website audit. Normally, a website audit is done by a designer, a writer and a marketer, or ideally, by all these together. Initially, Web Auditing is nothing less than a peek and perusal of measuring a website’s performance against given standards or objectives, eventually leading to a concrete findings about good and bad of a website.

What is Website Audit, anyways?

Picture a Doctor. In case you can’t, a doctor ensures sound health of his patients by doing checkups, diagnosing health issues and by prescribing medicine, finally. Same goes for website audit in digital space. Web audit is a series of diagnostic checkups leading to concrete findings about website’s performance, to be used for future strategy building.

Website Audit, different people name it differently, is methodical evaluation of your website’s (broadly speaking) design, content and marketing elements of your website and measuring each one’s performance against objectives that it exists for. It’s a process which, if done correctly, always results with true findings about opportunities, challenges, and constrictions open to any website. So, you feel like your website is underperforming? It’s time to do the trick – website auditing. Split it into 3 different parts.

  • Design Audit
  • Content Audit
  • Marketing Audit

Where to Start From? Is it 1-2-3 or is it 3-2-1….?

You get what you measure. And whatever you can measure, you can improve as well. That’s pretty serious. There is always one more way to skin the cat. So to start web auditing, first you need to collect data which may tell your site’s core traffic pattern, general user behavior, your pain points and also your website’s lynchpins.  This amount of data is well enough to clear your head and learn what you are up against.

Based upon these gatherings, now you can start your website audit. We at RED SIGNAL, usually start off with design audit first, followed by content audit and marketing audit at the end. Let’s see the best practices in detail.

Design Audit

Design is not how a website looks. Aesthetics, though, is imperative to good design but there is something more sublime to design. Design is, how it behaves, how it interacts, and how it strikes customer emotions and influences customers’ buying behaviors.

Broadly speaking, design audit is a human analysis of everything that falls under design umbrella, starting from color palette, branding and typography to website architecture, website features and user experience. So, design audit takes design aspect of a website into account and measures it in terms of its efficiency. We check design for

  • Brand Identity and Brand Consistency
  • Website architecture and its logical correlation with its features
  • And finally, User Interaction and User Experience

That said, design audit starts with reaching out to all the visual material of a website, followed by measuring its efficiency and consistency in relation to company’s brand and objectives.

Measuring ‘Ease of Access’ is imperative to design audit.

You should measure how user centered website architecture you have designed, which is what guarantees the site wide navigation with respect to logical and cohesive relationship among pages. Make sure that Design material is aesthetically delightful for focus group and it conforms to users’ preconceived notions of aesthetics. Focus groups are invited for user testing where they tell how easy it is to navigate around the website, find the information and interact with core functions.

Focus groups answer if

  • Visual material within website canvas, conforms focus group's aesthetic perceptions
  • Website architecture is logically cohesive and is user focused, allowing them maximum control.
  • Information presented is always accessible, with as little clicks as possible.

Design audit assures that all the visuals help visitor engage with website’s core features and impress visitor’s design palate aesthetically. Based on reporting, often suggestions can be as overwhelming as re-branding the entire company’s identity and total redesigning of the website. Phew

In next session we will talk about Content Audit, at length. Please let us know about your feedback.

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