One of the best ways to know if your company has fully optimized the purpose of creating a business website is through a website performance audit. It is important to understand that web browsers, like Google, not only monitors your site performance based on keyword density or search engine optimization (SEO), they also factor in the loading speed and availability of your site. A website performance audit is an overall evaluation of your company website that examines your site’s navigational ability, user-friendliness, and SEO ranking. The prime purpose of a website performance audit, like any other form of auditing, is to create an opinion out of the data gathered from the audit and thereby pinpoint all irregularities, if any, that affect the comprehensive performance of your website. Through site auditing, we addressed questions like: “Are my users getting the most out of their user-experience with our site?” or “Is my site SEO-friendly and maintaining its ranking on the browsers?” or “Can they navigate easily through my website?”. These are some of the example questions that must be answered by the report from your auditing team.
Analyzing how your website contents work together to boost your user experience and looking out for the signs that contribute to poor site usability do not sound very easy. Rather, it can be a complicated process if you do not go through it prepared. The good news is, you can do it effectively. Here we provide you the checklist to winning your website performance audit.
Checklist #1: Define your website performance auditing goals.
There is no better way to start your audit with a clear objective of what you want to look out for. We have read and been told many times how powerful goals are. Setting your website performance goals means focusing on achieving the desired outcome after your audit. What date do you want to collect to have a clear gauge on whether or not your company website is performing very well? Having specific goals sets how your performance audit will go about and what are the things you want to focus on. These goals could be related to the direct feedbacks you frequently get from your end-users, or from your employees, or from you yourself.
Checklist #2: Keep an eye on your website audit logs.
Your website logs simply refer to your site activity logs or a record of changes and events on your website. Sometimes, businesses mistakenly put this aspect at the backburner of their priorities. A record of what activity is performed by whom and how the system responded to the action is very important to the data-gathering aspect of your website performance audit. An effective website activity log management enables you to keep a close eye on what is happening on your site and equips you with how to take actions based on those logs. It is also an additional tool on your website security toolbox.
Your site activity logs detect what activities are normal and what is not, thereby gives your network administrators a foresight of what works well and what is likely to fail within your system. Since activities and actions are not overlooked, it boosts the system’s performance and keeps it stable.
Checklist #3: User session data
The user session data refers to the duration of time your end-users interact with your website. This records how long customers browse through and how frequently they visit your site. For example, an e-commerce website like Amazon can use user session data to check how long their users interact within their site until their visits are converted into sales. For social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can make use of these session numbers to examine whether their end-user are using their sites as an essential part of their daily lives.
A good user session data analysis can spot points for optimization in two ways: 1. Session metadata (i.e length of session); 2. Usage data (ie. what the end-user is doing within the website). This information is used to gauge how the end-user is engaged within the site and for how long they are kept engaged. This will allow your business to track what part of your media source performance needs to improve and what needs to be removed, added, and shows a report on current opportunities and the problems that occur in the overall performance of your website.
Checklist #4: Do not forget the external aids to appease the giant browsers.
External aids, like the Google Search Central (formerly Google Webmaster), are keys to get a back-end look at how Google sees your website. The giant tech has rebranded this service into a more inclusive segment that incorporated specialized tools for business owners, hobbyists, marketers, developers, and SEO professionals alike. Whether you are creating a new website or trying to track your site’s performance, it is best to understand how these external aids work in giving you the information it needs to keep your site up, available, and visible to your end-users.
As most of the organic traffic is coming from Google, let us use it as an example to know how it can help you be up-to-date with the trends and convert them into opportunities. Google Search Central equips you with the tools to communicate with Google according to your profile and needs. It gives you an in-depth insight on how your site crawls, the indexing of your internal and external links, determines the strongest keyword to get to your website, the rate at which your customers are clicking, and other site statistics you can make use to improve the performance of your website.
The information you get from Google Search Central can be used to optimize your site’s performance by giving the quantitative assessment you need to better understand the contents of your site and how they are used to improve and meet your target audience.
Checklist #5: Is everything up and loads fast?
Last but definitely not least of your priority is your website uptime monitoring and speed tests. They are the backbone of this checklist because if you fail at monitoring your site’s availability and loading speed, it will defeat the purpose of the other four. For any kind of audit, monitoring the entire site is a must.
Uptime monitoring addresses your site’s availability issues by keeping track of its uptime and downtime round the clock. It helps determine how long your website has been functioning without interruption. From a customer’s point of view, if your business is closed when consumers needed a product or service, they will most probably go check the other stores available. This means you will not make any business with your customers. When your number of page visits goes down, the browsers will penalize you through your search engine ranking. You see, everything on this checklist is interconnected. Remember that how well your website performs is related to how much revenue you can generate through it.
We all know that loading speed affects browser ranking. Browsers, like Google, make business by providing high-quality search results for their users and in achieving this goal, it uses metrics that measure page load times. The faster the loading speed, the better ranking in the Google browser. And when your website is at a higher page ranking this means it is more visible to your customers to do business with. More customers mean more conversions.
A website performance audit report equips you with the right information to strategize your business through your company website. This is especially true for those businesses like retail e-commerce that rely 100% on revenue generation through the website. Summing it up, an audit gives you in-depth insights and analysis on three important factors that define your site’s performance: marketing, usability, and search ranking.