Website Audit – the first step to mastering your digital universe

Sharon Tanton

Rocket-GOING-STELLAR

If you’re serious about getting your website and digital marketing universe sorted you’ll need a plan of action.

A website that’s not working can be a big sprawling affair – the result of many years of work, reflecting some but not all of the changes in your business, and struggling to reflect where you are now. Chances are if you haven’t looked at the site for the last five years you won’t have capitalised on the huge opportunities that content marketing offer. Yet you may have some really valuable content tucked away– case studies and white papers, guides or even sales proposals that you know capture the essence of how you help far better than the words on your website.

In the midst of all this confusion it can be daunting knowing where to start.

A really useful first step is a thorough audit of your website and marketing collateral so that you understand what’s working and what isn’t – and so that you can draw up a realistic and targeted plan to get your website firing on all cylinders. The process gives you a clear starting point, clarifies what you need to do, and shows you what you can measure to demonstrate the return on your investment.

We often begin the web projects we work on with an audit – and this is what we’re looking for on a company website.

SATURN*

S =  STORY. Does the website tell a good story – the WHY of your business as well as the WHAT and HOW?

A = ACTION. How clear are your calls to action – if you look at the website from 5 paces away is it crystal clear a) what your business does and b) what you want people to do?

T = TONE OF VOICE. How does your business sound? Is the tone of voice consistent? Are you human and easy to understand?

U = USEFUL CONTENT. How much trust-building valuable content do you have on the site and elsewhere in the business, and where are the gaps?

R = RELEVANCE. Are your website messages and the content you share relevant to your audience?

N = NAVIGATION. Do people get lost on your site? Is it full of dead ends?

PLUTO*

P = PLATFORM. Is your website platform up to the job? Does it integrate with your CMS? Can you upload new blogs and videos easily?

L = LIKEABILITY. Do you look like the kind of business you’d trust? Do you sound like the good guys?

U = USABILITY. How easy is it for a potential customer to find what they want on the site? Does the site work?

T = TRAFFIC. Where is the site pulling in leads? You’ll want to preserve anything that is working well so analyse your data before you throw out the baby with the bath water

O = OMNISCIENCE. Are you everywhere? How joined up is your site? The best working websites make as many links as possible with the rest of the universe. Guest blogs, social sharing, forums, events, seminars – the more the merrier.

MARS*

M = MOBILE. You need a site that works on a smart phone. Does yours?

A = ATTITUDE. What’s the personality of your site? Does that reflect your brand?

R = RSS FEED. Is your site creating content that people can’t wait to get their hands on? Is there a newsletter sign up?

S = SEO. What search terms are you getting found for? What search terms are your potential clients using?

(* The fact that the audit points to help you master your marketing universe spell SATURN, PLUTO and MARS pleases me greatly. I confess, I am the geekiest of word geeks!)

Turn your audit into action

The next stage is turning the audit results into a plan of action. After the audit you’ll be clear whether you’re looking at a website refresh or a complete reworking of your website,. You’ll know the content your business already has in reserve, and you’ll know where the gaps are. You’ll know some of the questions you’ll want to ask clients to ensure that the next iteration of your website is truly client focused. And you’ll have a base line to measure from, and the only way is up!

It’s a lot to look for, and an outside view can help. If you’d like our help with your website audit, or with turning your audit into a plan for action please do give us a shout.

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4 Comments

  1. Fabulous article and great astronomical acronyms, Sharon. I’ll certainly be using this list – for my own site and for others. For SEO we always start with an Audit, although from a slightly different perspective, so combining the two will be an incredibly powerful tool, I’m sure.

    Reply
  2. Thanks Paul – would be really interested to read about your SEO audit. Maybe it’s time for another guest post?

    Reply
  3. Excellent article Sharon. Thanks. C.

    Reply
  4. Thanks, Sharon, for the clear and concise ideas.

    Reply

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