The term “audit” can feel like nightmare material. Well, at least during tax season.
Even hearing the word “audit” right now gives you cold sweats as you reach for your checkbook.
I can’t help you with that type of audit.
But I’m here to reveal the truth about website audits:
In the marketing world, a website audit is all about insight. You can learn about your site’s weak spots and how to optimize them for even greater ROI. (AKA: You profit!).
If you’re a business owner struggling to evaluate your brand, an audit can offer an answer in <10 minutes.
It doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
This guide will detail a simple, quick, and 100% FREE way to audit your website and give yourself a number grade.
Will your business’s website make the mark?
Let’s get started!
Making an Unforgettable First Impression
I’m sure you’ve heard the cheesy saying a million times before: “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”
A little corny? Absolutely!
But also 100% true.
In fact, researchers at Stanford found that up to 75% of users will judge your site’s credibility and professionalism based on its design.
Why First Impressions Are So Important
We’re some 20 years into the digital age at this point.
The long-held excuse that “my business/service speaks for itself” is just that — an excuse (that also happens to destroy revenue).
But here’s the thing.
More than 63% of shoppers will begin their search online. And eighty-one percent will research a brand, product, or service before taking the plunge.
Anyone who wanders to your site is already in the depths of the decision-making process.
So this is your one chance to convince them to give your business a shot before shooing them away into your competitor’s arms.
What Makes a Great First Impression?
This is a question I hear time and time again from eager business owners looking to rebrand or drive more traffic to their sites.
How do I know what visitors think of my site?
Or, how should my site look?
Try these three things, and you’ll have your answer:
Type your industry into Awwards.com to get a feel for what others are doing and gather some inspiration.
Google your keyword terms and your local area to check out your competitors and see where you can fill the gap.
Ask yourself or those around you: when you look at this site, what do you feel?
Say you’re in an industry known for being flashy and eccentric. But your site doesn’t have a single splash of color and has dull lawyer-speak copy.
Your first impression might need a little tweaking!
Acing the 2-Second Test
The human attention span is just eight seconds long. That’s four seconds shorter than twenty years ago and one second shorter than that of a goldfish!
But you don’t have quite as long to catch a user’s attention.
How long do you have?
Well, nearly half of your visitors will expect your page to load in fewer than two seconds. And the average user will exit a page within 10–20 seconds.
Unless you catch their attention in the first 2–3 seconds.
Two-Second Test Red Flags
You have just two seconds to either impress your visitors or send them packing.
Beware of these red flags that’ll send prospective customers running in the opposite direction:
Confusion: If a user visits your website, will they have a pretty good idea of what your business does and how you can help them?
Hard-to-read text: Is it too small? Too large? Are you using a funky font that’s hard to read? Does the text blend in with the background?
Color contrast: You don’t need a degree in color theory to know that a red and yellow combination can be blinding. Or that green and orange can be a little wonky.
No call-to-action: Once they land on your homepage, is it clear what you’d like them to do next? Are you hoping they’ll figure it out by happenstance? Or are you giving them the power to choose their own adventure?
If your bounce rate is a high 56–70%, one of these is likely your problem!
Mastering User Flow & Navigation
As a business owner with a customer-first mentality, you’ll do just about anything to appeal to potential customers.
You don’t know what they’re looking for when they visit your site.
So you do what makes sense. You offer visitors everything and the kitchen sink and let them make the final decision.
And that’s where you’ve gone wrong!
What Do You Want Them To Do?
It can take a lot of work to get a client to your site. Once they crash land onto your home page, what do you want them to do?
Do you want them to look at your inventory?
Schedule a phone call?
Request a quote?
Sign up for your email list?
No matter what it is, make it clear to visitors as soon as possible. The average e-commerce bounce rate is a lousy 2.57%, and one of the biggest culprits is an unclear call to action.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
Now, pretend you’re from another planet, just discovered the internet, and somehow ended up on your business’s site. Talk about crazy luck!
Can you figure out what you’re supposed to do?
Or, are you randomly clicking buttons and links to solve the mystery?
There should be no doubt in a visitor’s mind what step comes next. Imagine how your customers feel if you’re scratching your head or jumping through hoops to figure things out.
Adding Eye-Catching Graphics
Content with photos and videos receives 94% more hits than those that don’t.
When facts like this make the rounds online, many business owners think, hey, that’s easy enough! So they toss a few random stock photos on their homepage and await the traffic.
But it never comes.
And no, it’s not the statistic that’s wrong; it’s your approach.
Forbes suggests that 65% of the population consists of visual learners.
What does that mean for you?
Well, statistically speaking, most of your customers will retain information about your business when it comes in the form of videos or images rather than blocks of text.
Choose images that load quickly with high-quality detail. But make sure you choose the right images for your brand — story-telling, impactful, gorgeous, attention-grabbers.
Creating an Effective, Click-Worthy CTA
The call-to-action is arguably the most important piece of a website and a huge revenue driver. Yet, surveys suggest that 70% of small B2B websites lack one altogether.
If your site already has a CTA, you’re already ahead of the game. Now, all that’s left to do is optimize your CTA to be a customer-centric, lead-generating machine.
Think about it his way:
How do users benefit if they click the button?
And what exciting prize do they win when they decide to pull the lever?
Here are a few examples of small changes that can up your conversion rates:
Most of your customers prefer to keep school in the rearview. And this “learn more” charade looks like a lot of extra effort that users don’t have.
Try to disguise the “learn more” trope.
For example, if your button links to an exclusive guide to lose weight in 30 days, reword it as I want to lose weight this month!
In the age of clickbait and malware, customers are cautious about clicking on vague links that lead to more ads or even computer viruses.
What happens when they click the button?
Do they get a free sample? If so, try I love free things!
Will they wind up on your appointment-setting page? Then, Yes, I’ll schedule a call! would be a better choice.
Are you attempting to outprice competitors known for hidden fees? Maybe something as simple as Get a quote will get your point across.
Evaluating the Site’s Ranking
If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody was around to hear it, did it make a sound?
We know there’s some scientific answer to that one.
But here’s a similar puzzle that perplexes many business owners: if you open a business, but don’t tell anyone about the business, does your business even exist?
In the modern age, no.
Putting Yourself Out There
Take this example of a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
You came up with the perfect local restaurant idea — an Italian-Mexican fusion — in an area where both cultures run deep. You wonder how nobody has thought of this idea before.
After six months of planning and preparation, opening day finally arrives. Your chefs fire up favorites from both cuisines to match the swarm of diners you’re expecting!
But not a single person enters the front doors.
This trend continues for a full week before you finally sit down and reflect.
Then it hits you: how was anybody supposed to know about your business … unless you told them and lured them through your doors?
The hard truth is they wouldn’t.
Optimizing the Site to Rank
The digital world is obviously a bit different than a dine-in eatery.
But imagine building that very same restaurant on a dead-end road. It’s ten miles away from civilization with no signage saying “Eat Here!” and no marketing strategy.
Sounds awful, right?
Well, if you aren’t optimizing every page to rank on Google and aiming for the top slot, you’re in the same boat! The trick is getting them to your website in the first place.
Analyzing 404s, Broken Links, & Mobile Responsiveness
Older websites may rank high on Google and attract the right customers. Yet, the longer your site sits online, the more likely you’ll have SEO issues.
And these problems can hurt you dearly!
These three things may frustrate visitors enough to leave your site forever:
404s: whether it’s a single product, your ‘About Us’ page, or your CTA, 404s that lead to nowhere feel like frustrating dead-ends for customers. Every URL should work or at least redirect to a page that does.
Broken links: they’re not just annoying. Broken links may also impact how Google perceives your site. Try this FREE broken link checker from Small SEO Tools.
Mobile responsiveness: about 50% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. Make sure that every page on your site is functional and visually appealing, whether customers are using an iPhone, standard laptop, or huge TV screen.
You’ve done the legwork to get users to your site. Don’t let these silly mistakes ruin your reputation and customer experience.
Kickstarting a Web Copy Revamp
Web copy is where plenty of decent websites take an unexpected nosedive.
However, the issue isn’t a lack of words; it’s a lack of quality copy.
From my experience, copy tends to be an afterthought that business owners only include because everybody else is doing it. Now, don’t get me wrong — you do need some sort of copy!
But here’s the caveat.
Instead of pasting sales copy simply to have it, use the power of the written word to tell a story and encourage clients to act.
Take a look at the copy you have now.
Is it outdated?
Does it match your brand perfectly?
Is it clear what your business does?
Would it entice a site visitor enough to click your call-to-action?
If your copy seems wishy-washy or unprofessional, now is the time to give it a facelift!
Advertise Your Social Media (or Don’t!)
It’s no surprise that 70% of Americans are on social media in some way or another. That includes Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or even business platforms like LinkedIn.
Is it silly to overlook social media as a business owner?
If you want to meet clients where they already hang out, then yes!
But it’s not a death sentence for your business either. That’s especially true if you don’t post often enough to build a following or drive engagement.
Social media platforms are great tools for sharing photos, videos, and powerful customer testimonials. So once you create accounts, don’t forget to keep them fresh.
Do It All In 10 Minutes or Fewer: Here’s How!
You don’t always need a complete web redesign to improve your status on Google or impress customers already in the decision-making process.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as adding graphics or posting on Instagram. Other sites in desperate need of TLC may benefit from brand new copy or smoother navigation.
So how did you do?
If you want access to our complete 10-minute website audit to learn what score you’d earn, download our free PDF here.