Why Audit Your Website? [Podcast]

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Today we’re going to go over website audits, what are some of the things we look for when auditing a website, and why you might want to audit your own website more regularly.

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Guests in Today’s Episode:

Show Transcript

Christopher:

I’m Christopher Lara with TheeDigital joined by Keri Giordano our director of operations and Rob Delory all-around SEO Enthusiast. Today we’re going to go over web site Audits and what are some of the things we look for when auditing a website.

Keri, Rob, thank you for joining me.

Rob:

Hey Christopher.

Keri:

Thanks for having us.

Christopher:

Why would someone audit their website? What’s the point of one?

Rob:

Well, if I could jump in Keri, if that’s all right.

Keri:

Yes please do.

Rob:

It really comes down to what is it that you’re looking for your website to do and what are you auditing it for and what I mean by that is are you looking for technical elements for search engine optimization, you know, why is it not performing as well in the actual Google search results or are you looking at your website from the standpoint of hey I get a lot of traffic to the website but why is it not converting as much?

Why are people not taking the actions that I want them to? So it really starts with understanding as you’re approaching the project of looking at it from the standpoint of what is it that I’m trying to accomplish here and that will lead you down the road of how you do or why you would conduct a specific type of audit.

Keri:

Yes, I totally agree with you Rob. When I look at a website, you know, if the client comes to us looking for an audit.

I’ll look at a site and try to put on my user cap and try to think of myself as you know, if I were a user coming to this website and I knew nothing about this company and I went to the home page or any page on the website because you don’t always enter a website from the homepage, remember.

I, if I go to that site. Do I know what I’m looking at?

What company is this?

What do they do? You know, is this an e-commerce store?

If your an eCommerce store and that’s not obvious when I first come to the site then you know, that’s an issue or if I’m looking for a plumber and I come to your site and it’s not obvious that you do plumbing.

Then that’s an issue.

So I just like that’s kind of the first thing I look for is it is it obvious?

What the point of the site is and what they do.

Rob:

And from a usability side of things, I agree with you Keri.

You really do want to start thinking more in terms of the visitor their mindset when they show up. You’ve been looking at your website for a long time.

But as you’re saying, is it obvious? It really is remarkable to look at some of the websites and then have conversations with the person who owns the website and determine well a lot of the things that you want people to know about your business aren’t even on the front page that the really primary things about your company and it’s always surprising to me.

Keri:

Yeah, and I think as business owners were really proud of our logo and really proud of our products and all of our accomplishments and things like that.

But you know, when a user comes to your site for the first time, they don’t really care about that stuff if you have a really beautiful abstract logo, but they don’t know what you do or what you can offer to them then they’re not going to care.

They’re just going to bounce.

So yeah, I think it’s really important to to keep the user in mind. That you know users have – you only have like three seconds of their attention.

So they, they need to get to your site and know what’s in it for me.

Is it worth my time?

Because time is so valuable and people are so distracted.

So you need to serve whatever need they have, as soon as they get to your site in some way and maybe it’s a call to action that answers the question that most people ask when they’re coming to your site or you know, also, is it easy for them to call you or contact you if they have a question?

There’s nothing more frustrating than going to a website. Be really interested and then not being able to find or figure out how to contact these people if you want their service or their product.

Rob:

And sometimes it’s as simple as the phone number so many websites for some reason.

Let’s go ahead and put it on the contact page.

What? For me why wouldn’t you have it on every page?

Why wouldn’t you have it predominantly displayed at the top. Again if that is important to your company.

There are some, very few companies, but e-commerce, for example, the phone number isn’t the priority for them.

But a lot of service companies.

I’m really surprised every time I go through the website.

How often they’ll go ahead and just have one instance of the phone number on their website and it’s in small type somewhere on the contact page.

It’s one of those first things that you look at and say, well here’s a big opportunity.

Keri:

Right and there’s nothing more frustrating than finding the contractor that you need on your mobile device and you click on their phone number in the teeny tiny print in the footer and it doesn’t call.

For the user experience, please put your phone number in a button and so that they can call and immediately call the person and not have to copy and paste it.

I mean – a lot of people don’t think about that.

But since we do this every day, that’s something that we look for when we audit a website.

Rob:

I’ll take it even one step further Keri because you know, even some of the small mobile browsers are getting pretty good at identifying that this is a phone number.

But how many websites I’ve gone through and the phone number is part of an image.

Okay, I can read it. Right.

Keri: 

You’re right. It’s terrible.

Rob:

It’s still out there.

I’ve still seen that happening out there.

So yes when you do and conduct a website audit, those are the types of things you’re looking for.

Okay, fine.

The text isn’t in an image. It’s just sitting there on the website.

However, if it’s not actually click to call, you know the technical Term for it if it’s not click-to-call you’re missing out on the opportunity of seeing how often times people are actually clicking on it because you’re right.

If somebody goes ahead and sees the text there in the web browser or your device is picking up on it.

It still doesn’t mean that you’re getting that information in your analytics.

You got the call.

But you don’t know where these calls are coming from.

So again, that’s where we started digging down into in a website audit.

Determining all of these things.

Keri: 

Right.

Some other things.

So that’s kind of the first past that I do on a website audit is just kind of you know, think of the user and think it just the user experience just basically the basics but then you know, you dig a little deeper and we start looking into page speed, you know, there’s several tools that we look at to see is the site loading more than a second or two.

Was it getting stuck on maybe you have a plug-in that’s out of date that’s making the website, you know choke and keep trying to access a script that doesn’t exist anymore because your site can be, you know, great when you launch it and then six months later.

There’s some kind of code change and a plug-in that you’re not even not even aware of particularly, you know in a word for any of the CMS sites that have plugins, you know, those plugins are developers are all over the world and are making code changes every day.

To improve their plugins.

And so your site could be fine one day and then next week all of a sudden it’s slow.

So we run it through a tool to identify what could be causing the hang up.

Maybe there’s some images that are too large.

So there’s a lot of simple things that you can do to make a site faster and easier to navigate.

Another thing that’s been coming up a lot lately is ADA compliance, so you know, there was – there were laws passed, you know a couple of years ago and it’s taken a little while for the websites to catch up.

You know, everybody knows that, you know, retail businesses have to have ramps for a wheelchair and you know, there was a time where people had a just the sinks in there in the bathrooms and you know, that was a big change and now websites were discovering their some Basics that Websites needs to have so people who are visually impaired can see whether it’s you know color blindness or if they have use a screen reader to read off what’s on the page.

So there’s a lot and a lot of people are just not even aware that that’s a thing and that’s its there’s – if you federal agencies and anybody who Services a federal agency has to be ADA Compliant and that’s including their website and I’m not a lawyer but that’s that’s what I hear and that’s what we do, but it’s actually becoming more and more important for all websites and in some countries.

It’s actually the standard that it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in they have to be ADA Compliant and it might be a different term over there.

But here I think in upcoming years it’s coming.

So we need to keep that in mind and some of the things you can do to help people access your website is to make sure that your you have good color contrast, you know, you don’t put, you know, red text on a blue background where you can barely distinguish the difference between the colors make sure the font sizes are large enough and one thing that you might not even think of is alt tags on your images.

There’s actually some code you can put in all of your images that describes what the image is, so when a visually impaired person is looking at a webpage and it’s reading off all the content on the page when it gets to a picture.

If you don’t have an ALT tag on that picture, it’ll just say image.

But if you have an ALT tag on there, it might say girl with red balloon, at least it tells them what is in the image.

So that is something that we would look for in an audit as well. If all the images have alt tags.

Rob:

And for the ADA compliance and I mean it is a law that’s out there and you are starting to see quite frankly lawsuits have been coming up over the last few years for different organizations that are out there.

So it’s something that people you’re right have to start becoming mindful of these things and making sure that they’re at least taken care of very simple things as you’re describing because I think it’s going to be a bigger topic moving forward.

Keri:

Yeah, exactly.

There’s there’s different laws out there and there’s the it’s not just the ADA laws but there’s also…um…

Rob:

GDPR.