Blog / 6th July 2021

What is a website audit and do we need one?

Helen from Ink Gardener Copywriting explains what to look out for when it comes to a website audit.

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Keeping your online shop window healthy

Your website acts as your online business shop window 24/7 across the world. An audit is a way to take stock of how well it's doing. Think of it like an MOT or a check-up once a year.

A word to the wise: familiarity can breed contempt when it comes to our own websites. We can get bored of them quickly. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater! Even if you're thinking of replacing your current website, an audit can help assess what to transfer to the next one.


"We always come first in Google for our search terms, so we probably don't need one."


That's great – if it's true. The trouble is our own computers or phones can skew the results. If we keep looking at a website, it quickly learns to save a shortcut there. So it might look like you're top of the list for your sector or area. But what happens when you're in private or incognito mode?

A website audit is a fresh pair of eyes, giving you an unbiased assessment.


"Our customers look at our social media more than our website"


That may be so, but your website is a much a part of your digital footprint as your social media. Having one reassures people that you're a "proper" business. Also it's the only place you fully control online. Facebook changed the goalposts for businesses a few years ago so only 5 – 15% of your followers see your posts unless you pay for ads. Twitter and Insta could easily do the same.


What does a website audit look at?



The first thing to check is how long it takes for a website to appear on a phone. Slower pages rank lower on Google. And yes, I said phone not computer. Google ranks websites according to how they appear on a mobile phone.

A technical audit can also find broken links and any errors with your site's security certificate (SSL). It will also look at how easy it is for the Google search robots to 'crawl' your pages, meaning finding them and indexing them.


This assesses whether your text, graphics, photos and illustrations are working well or need improving. Do you need more content? Or is there too much for your potential customer to plough through? Has any content been duplicated?

Remember, your content also affects how well search engines can find and rank you.


Google, Bing and others are always changing the way they search. So what may have worked well a year ago might need tweaking. They also judge you on how often you update your website and how many other reputable websites link to you.

A SEO audit usually checks:

User Experience (UX)

Are your Google Analytics indicating that customers are abandoning their online shopping carts? Or getting to the newsletter sign-up page but no further? It could be that you need to improve the 'user experience' of how someone progresses through the site.

If you've a complex e-commerce site, one misplaced button could derail the entire buying process. A UX audit can unravel what's going wrong by checking every step as well as the layout.

DIY or bring in the experts?

There are many free tools out there, or at least ones that you can sign up to for a free trial. Popular ones for SEO include:

The Premium versions are amazing, but expensive if you're only going to run an audit once a year.

Web audit and SEO professionals will have access to them, and use them to generate reports automatically. The best companies will then make suggestions on how to improve your website. Depending on the level of detail you want and the size of your website, these reports can cost anything from hundreds of pounds to thousands.

But even asking an acquaintance or members of any business group you're in to check out your website can be valuable. Notice that I said acquaintances. Friends and family will often hold back because they don't want to hurt your feelings. Approach it as a focus group who can give you priceless insights. You could even bribe them with some fine Yorkshire fare!


About the author

With 20 years' experience writing for websites, Cambridge graduate Helen Reynolds founded Ink Gardener Copywriting to sow web content for UK businesses and organisations, from holiday cottages to cathedrals. Based in York, she offers affordable, quick-win website MOTs, web content packages, and pre-written tailored social media posts as well as training. Click here for more advice from Ink Gardener or check out the GrowthBox Advice pages here

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