The web is continually evolving and changing fast, so here are 11 ways to audit and refresh websites for opitimum performance.
Websites that seemed to be state of the art a few years ago now look dated. It is good practice to put some effort into a continuous cycle of improvement so with that in mind here are 11 ways to audit and refresh your websites forthe year ahead.
Websites are like plants, trees, and animals. They need to be nurtured, fed, and given regular health checks. It’s not a difficult task but it does need to be part of your routine. Happily, there are some easy and free ways in which you can increase traffic to your websites.
Website Audit and Review
The first task is to take a detailed look at your website and audit it. Before you can make any improvements you need to baseline it to establish the current status so that you can measure any progress.
Things to consider in this review:
- Keywords. Is your site designed to attract traffic from particular search terms? Are these terms still relevant? Should they be updated based on changes in the way people search and the terms they use?
- Content. How much new text and media has been added in the past 12 months? Was this too much or too little? What would you change about the schedule in the coming year?
- Quality. How satisfied are you with the quality of the content added so far. Have you ever hired a proofreader to have the site checked for spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors?
- Appearance. How about the site design? Does the current them look dated?
Next, audit the site for technical errors that could effect its performance:
- Broken links. Are there any broken links, missing images, and videos that don’t run?
- Code errors. Is the HTML, CSS and other code error free? How could it be improved?
- Mobile friendly. How does your site load and display on smart phones and tablets? Put your URL into this free mobile friendly Google tool and test it.
- Forms and functions. Are all the contact, mailing list and other forms working correctly?
- Reporting. Is your Google Analytics code reporting correctly and accurately?
Finally, don’t forget security and backups:
- When did you last backup your website? Is the process automated? Where is the backup stored?
- How secure is your website? Are you plagued by spammers, spam comments, and spammy registrations?
11 Ways To Audit and Refresh Websites
- Clear navigation: Ensure your website has a simple, easy-to-understand menu that helps users find what they’re looking for quickly. This will improve the user experience and make your website more enjoyable to use.
- Mobile-friendly design: Check if your website looks and works well on smartphones and tablets. A responsive design will help your website reach more users and rank better in search results.
- Fast loading times: Make sure your website loads quickly by optimizing images, using simpler design elements, and limiting the use of heavy scripts or plugins. A faster website will keep users engaged and contribute to better search rankings.
- Quality content: Review your website content to ensure it is useful, engaging, and relevant to your target audience. High-quality content will help keep visitors on your site longer and improve your search engine ranking.
- Keyword research: Identify the keywords your target audience is likely to use when searching for your products or services. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your content to help your website appear in relevant search results.
- Page titles and descriptions: Create unique, descriptive titles and meta descriptions for each page on your website. These should be informative and include relevant keywords to help search engines understand and rank your content.
- Image optimization: Ensure all images on your website are properly optimized by reducing file sizes, adding descriptive file names, and including alt text. This will improve your website’s loading speed and make it more accessible to users with visual impairments.
- Internal and external links: Check that all internal links (links within your website) and external links (links to other websites) work properly. Broken links can be frustrating for users and negatively impact your search engine ranking.
- Website security: Make sure your website is secure by using HTTPS, which encrypts data between your site and users. This will help protect user information and improve your search engine ranking.
- Sitemap and robots.txt: Create a sitemap that lists all your website’s pages and a robots.txt file that tells search engines which pages to crawl. These tools will help search engines understand your website’s structure and improve its visibility in search results.
- Regular updates: Periodically review and update your website to ensure it stays current and relevant. Regularly updating content, fixing broken links, and optimizing for new keywords will help maintain and improve your website’s performance and search engine ranking.
If you’ve checked all of this and found the site to be over 80% error free then well done! It’s in very good shape and only needs a few other tweaks to optimise it. However, if there are obvious areas for improvement then it’s time to work out a plan and implement it.
You can make these improvements in any order but you might prefer to start with the design first and then rearrange the content. Once you’ve decided on a new theme you rearrange and amend the existing content. You’ve then got a fresh looking site that might inspire you write more articles and blog posts.
You’ll need to address all and any of the items listed above. If this is beyond your expertise or if you’re in any doubt about how to do it then hire someone to do it for you. I would be happy to give you a no-obligation quote too.
Strengthen your site’s SEO
It’s easy to become obsessive about SEO and forget that the priority is simply to create interesting and informative websites that answer your target audience’s need, and which inspire visitors to return and to share your content.
Take care of that task and your site’s ranking will improve naturally.
- Creating a site that is error free, loads quickly, is mobile friendly will help.
- If you’ve audited, refreshed, and renewed it then you’ve already improved the SEO to some extent.
- Adding fresh and original content that people like and share will attract backlinks.
- Writing articles and blog post, or creating videos, that are shared on social media will also help.
However, you an dive much deeper into this subject and use tools that will analyse the site, suggest improvements, and give you the means to implement those changes. Again, you can learn to do it yourself or hire someone to do this for you.
As with houses, businesses, life habits and more, websites need annual audits, reviews, and refreshment. You can make some or all of these changes yourself and the SEO Powersuite is an excellent collection of tools which, properly and regularly used will pay for itself many times over.
Alternatively, outsource the task and look forward to seeing a gleaming new website for the year ahead.
Website Audit and Review Tools
- Google Analytics (FREE)
- Google Webmasters (FREE)
- Google Adwords (for the Keyword Planner) (FREE)
- Google Mobile-friendly Test (FREE)
- W3C CSS Auditer (FREE)
- W3C HTML Auditer (FREE)
- SEO Powersuite (suite of tools that audits, checks ranking progress etc)
- Content Samurai (create videos to draw traffic to your site)