Ever wondered what other people think about your website? It can be a little scary to ask for such raw and honest feedback, but ultimately it’ll make your site even better if you take the criticism and suggestions to heart.
It is so important that your site be easy to use, appealing to visitors, and functioning properly. Of course we all think our own websites do everything right, but the truth is that usually there is plenty we could improve upon. That’s when it’s handy to have an outside unbiased perspective.
At Captivate Digital, we conduct site audits with most of our clients as part of our Melbourne SEO services and go through their websites with a fine toothed comb. We look for things that are broken and ways to improve the user experience and site hierarchy, all with the goal of attracting, retaining, and converting traffic as well as improving SEO.
Here are some of the most common issues we tend to come across when we conduct a site audit:
Broken Contact Forms
You might be surprised to hear that there are issues beyond whether a contact form submits properly.There’s a lot more to it than just hitting that ‘submit’ button! Here’s what to look out for:
- Check the required fields - Are the fields marked as required (usually starred) actually required before the user can submit the form? What kind of error message pops up when they try to submit? Does the form actually submit when all required fields are filled in?
- Confirmation of form submission - How does a user know that the form has been submitted? Is there a note on the screen? Does the site redirect to a Thank You page? Does the user get a confirmation email? You don’t necessarily have to have all of these in place, but there should be at least one thing letting the user know that their submission has gone through.
- Transfer of form data - How does the completed form reach you? Do you get an email with the information included? Does the information go straight to a client database or CRM? Is all the data included that should be?
One aspect of our site audit is running a report like this.
Broken links are something you may not even realize is an issue with your website unless you happen to click a link that no longer works. That’s why it’s so helpful to have a digital agency conduct a site audit, as it’s their job to check for broken links so that you can fix them.
- Broken external links happen when you link to another website’s page and they change its URL after the fact. If it’s easy to find the revised URL to the page you reference, you can just edit the link to your site; otherwise, it may be simplest to remove the link altogether.
- Broken internal links occur if you change the URL on one of your pages and forget to change the link to it on another page. Best practice is to set up a redirection as well, so that if anyone should visit the old URL they will automatically be directed to the new one.
Broken links are also detrimental to SEO, and Google has been known to take them into account with search rankings. That is: if Google notices your site has some broken links, it will deem you less of an authority and in turn rank you lower for your keywords. Don’t let this happen to you: fix your site’s broken links!
Missing Meta Tags
Meta tags aren’t visible on websites so they often get forgotten about, but that’s a huge mistake to make. A core component of your website SEO strategy should be optimising your meta tags. This means including your SEO keywords in title tags, meta descriptions, and image alt tags. Many websites we audit leave these completely empty and therefore miss out on some serious SEO gain.
When a user clicks onto your website, ideally they should be easily able to find the information they’re looking for. If not, expect them to bounce.
During a site audit, we follow many different user paths to ensure they flow seamlessly and intuitively. We look at the navigation structure, examine the site hierarchy, and determine whether the main topics are clearly laid out.
Above all, we check to see if it’s easy for users to contact you. There should be a general contact page, but also your contact email or phone number on every single page of your website (e.g. in the header, sidebar, or footer). The longer it takes for someone to figure out how to contact you, the less likely it is that they actually will - and that’s potential missed business!