Episode #323: Performing a Website Audit
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You are listening to episode number 323 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today we’re talking about performing a website audit onto the episode.
Hey, welcome to episode number 323. I’m your host, Taylor Bradford. Today I’m talking about performing a website audit, why it’s important, why you should do one at least once a year, if not twice a year just to make sure that everything is functioning the way you want it to or if you’ve made a pivot within your business, that your website is accounting for said pivot etc, etc.
Before I dive in, the Inner Circle membership is now closed. If you missed out, you can put yourself on the waitlist for when it reopens December the first. Go to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle to get yourself on the waitlist. Again, it’s closed. It will reopen December 1st. Second announcement, I’ve got an ebook coming out that is my Pillar Series. I’m really pumped about this. And I will be putting a call out for beta readers because I want to get some early feedback about the book about any gaps that I might have. So stay tuned for when I put a call out for that. But once the book comes out of beta mode, and is ready for the masses, you’re going to have the opportunity to get the book for free. If you are a podcast listener or part of my community, you’re going to be able to get this book for free. Yes, true story. And I’m pumped. I’m super super pumped to get this book out into the world. So those are my announcements.
Let’s dive in. We’re going to get super nerdy today we’re talking about website audits. A website audit is basically you going through your website with a fine tooth comb, taking a look at the whole kit and caboodle. Everything. Making sure things work, making sure things are still on brand, making sure links still work, making sure that there’s nothing broken, that maybe a sales funnel is still functioning, etc, etc. That is why you need to do a website audit. It is why I suggest you doing it at least once a year, if not twice a year. So you might as well put it on your calendar, every six months ‘perform a website audit’ just to make sure that everything is still functioning the way you want it to still function. Plus a website audit can aid in growing your business in the short term and in the long term. It can help you rank on Google. Just making sure you’re combing your website making sure things are good. So website auditing. Doing one frequently once a year or twice a year, can help you rank on Google, can better attract your ideal customer, helps maintain the user friendliness of your website, and gets you to fixing things quicker, then maybe you might, because you’re going to dedicate time to do a website audit. So if something breaks, the next time you do an audit, if you haven’t already figured it out that it’s broken, this will give you the opportunity to get things fixed on a routine basis. On a frequency raises.
So the moment that someone lands on your website, they should be able to tell what you do for whom you are doing it, and how to get the thing you’re selling. So let’s start at the very top of your website, which is your header and traditionally your header also includes your logo, but it definitely needs to include a menu. In your menu, you want to keep it simple, maybe about six pages no more than that if you can help it, but you want your most important pages to appear in that menu bar that is in the header of your website. Okay, and then at the very bottom of your website is your footer. And in your footer, you want another menu bar, you want to link all of your main pages within that menu bar. And by main pages, what I mean is more of the nuts and bolts of your business or your blog. So your about page, your contact page, your FAQ page, your company policies page. Also include your shop if you have one, include your social media links, and a search bar down there in the footer.
On every single page of your blog, including blog posts, on every single page, you need to make sure the page or the post has a very distinct purpose for being there and you have a call to action, asking the reader to do something. Make sure all of your pages that are published, are up to date, and have relevant content related to your brand. And I would even consider sprinkling in testimonials throughout the pages that appear on your website because not everybody is going to go straight to a testimonial page, so it makes sense to sprinkle testimonials throughout your website.
Next key thing, your website has to be mobile friendly. It has to be mobile responsive. So once you get it built, I want you to grab your phone, and I want you to test out every single page and post that you’ve got published – or a few posts that you have published – and make sure that they respond on mobile. Grab a tablet as well. If you don’t have one, borrow friends’. Ask them to go through your website on a tablet to make sure that your website is functioning in a mobile friendly format. Super important. This also helps SEO, which is next.
SEO. Are you paying attention to your SEO? SEO means search engine optimization. It is how you get the robots to pick up your content and show up in search results. Most of the time I’m working on Google SEO, but I know Bing is still a platform. Some people use – I don’t use Bing but some people do, so think about being too as well. I don’t know. In case you weren’t aware, I do have an SEO course that you can purchase. Go to bossgirlcreative.com/SEO to buy it, and it will walk you through everything you need to know about SEO and your website.
Okay, some other things to think about when it relates to SEO, do you have your own .com? When I first started blogging way back in 2008, I had a Blogspot address. And I eventually changed that – I believe it was 2013 when I bought pinkheelspinktruck.com, and then I’ve just had URLs ever since then. But it took me a while. 2008 to 2013 I did not own my own .com. That is important. You want to make sure that it is your URL that you’re sending somebody to not something.blogspot.com not something.wix.com, not something.squarespace.com. Make sure you have your own .com
Do you have a secure site with an SSL certificate? This means the HTTPS that occurs at the beginning of your URL. It needs to have the ‘s’. That’s what makes it secure. And I think it was 2014 or 2015 when Google started basically saying if you aren’t a secure site, then we’re not going to rank you. And so make sure that you have a SSL certificate on your website. If you don’t, talk to your host of your website to get that turned on.
Number three, how is your site speed? You can go out to Google and type in site speed or website speed and you can find multiple tools that will easily tell you about your website speed. Google has one of their own. I would use Google. Google is like the thing and you want to make sure that Google can crawl your site quickly or your website actually loads quickly because site speed affects search engine optimization.
The next thing, are your images optimized for your site? If you are in the wedding world or you’re in the photography world, you might be uploading massive images on your website, which will slow your load speed which will affect your SEO. So you can use a plug in I think the one I use is SmushIt and it basically compresses the file without actually hurting the quality of the photos. So if you are consistently uploading large image files to your website, use a plugin to smush it down so that it does not affect your page load.
The next thing use ads and pop ups minimally on your website. This just helps user experience but also helps load time. You want to keep your blog post URL short and sweet. You want to make sure that the actual structure of your URL is your.com and the name of the blog posts. You don’t want to date in there, you don’t want to category in there, you don’t want any of that in there. You just want the.com and the name of the post where you want to keep the URL of the post short and sweet. Your keyword, preferably, of the post or the page. You want to write meta descriptions for every post and page that you are about to hit publish on. The meta description is what converts over to Google search or Bing search, and gives a snapshot of what that piece of content actually is. You can use a plugin from Yoast that helps you add metadata to your blog posts and your pages. I encourage that. This is a very, very important thing to have within your website, especially if you’re on WordPress. If you’re not on WordPress, you can’t use Yoast, so get yourself on WordPress. And then finally, with SEO, add your address to your contact page or a P.O. box if you’re somebody that works from home. This legitimizes your business in the eyes of Google. So make sure you have a physical address or a P.O. box on your contact page. This just legitimizes you through the search engines, also other humans.
Okay, so let’s talk about the design part of your website. Obviously, you need your logo showing at the top of your website, which is traditionally held in the header section. I would encourage you to get a favicon, which is a little icon of your logo or something that represents your business, your blog, etc. that actually shows up as an icon in a browser tab. Now I want you to consider your color and your fonts. Are they consistent? Have you made a brand kit or a brand mood board so that every photo that you use aligns with that brand kit? Every graphic that you create aligns with your brand kit. So a brand kit is a place where you store your logo, your brand colors, your brand fonts. This can be a PDF that you can quickly reference when you are creating content or graphics or using photos. Canva actually has a section on their platform that actually says brand kit and this is where you can upload your logo and use your brand fonts and your brand colors. It makes things really easy when you’re creating graphics through Canva to reference. Like, all you have to do is go to the fonts and then your brand fonts pull up so that you can easily swap out the font of the graphic to one of your brand fonts. Makes it super, super simple.
Alright writing content. Make sure there is whitespace on your website when it relates to your content because getting too wordy or not breaking things up is super distracting and not a good user experience. So with your content, make sure there’s whitespace. Make sure you’re using headings to break up your text. Use bullet points, put paragraph breaks in, using bold tags versus regular text, using italicized text versus regular text, using colors in your text to break up the monotony. You want the content to stand out but you want to keep it user-friendly. And you want to make sure that there’s whitespace it just looks and feels better and contributes to that overall user experience.
With your photos that you’re using, make sure they’re high quality and that they are relevant to the content you’re writing about. And make sure you have a license to use the photos. I’ve talked about this before. I’m actually still dealing with a copyright infringement claim against me on a photo that I never used. I never published. I’m not sure how it showed up on my old website. I ended up having to hire an attorney and I will keep you up to date with what happens but I continue to receive threats from this attorney about a photo I never used. And I really think it’s fraudulent because the screenshot of me supposedly using the photo is not even how my website is formatted. So oh my gosh, it is crazy. And I had to go out and spend money and hire an attorney to defend me not doing anything wrong. Like, it’s crazy, but it just is what it is. So I’ll keep you up to date on that. But make sure if you’re using stock photos, that you have the right license to use them. If you make money from your website, you’ve got to have a commercial license for use. If you’re just a hobby blogger, and you make no money, and you use a stock photo that you get from a stock site, like Big Stock Photos, the regular license that you get with that when you buy the credit to buy the license should be fine, but please read the fine print. Make sure you’ve got the right license to use the photos.
Alright, now let’s talk about your content. We’re going to edit your content. Is your content clear and concise or is it clever? Are you writing in a clever way because you need to be clear and concise. Clever content does not help you, especially from an SEO standpoint, being clear and concise, and less wordy is the best way to go. You want to make sure you’re checking for typos and that your grammar is okay. I mean it doesn’t have to be like APA format with your grammar but make sure that it at least sounds good. Create consistent and current content. This is for both search engines and for your readers. You want to make sure the content is valuable and is high quality. This is key.
Alright moving on to backlinks. So what is a backlink? It is a link to your website from somewhere else. That’s the gist. Getting backlinks is good for SEO because – especially if you’re getting them from reputable websites. So let’s say you wrote an article and somebody links to that article from their website. That is a backlink. This helps your long game, you can get a backlink by also guest posting on a another website that might be a companion website or maybe somebody in your niche you can get featured. So this happens a lot in the wedding industry. Getting a wedding featured and a backlink to you as a wedding vendor or maybe a write up about your business. That’s a backlink. It’s important to not ever purchase backlinks. Absolutely important. That will get you blacklisted so incredibly quickly.
Also, as you begin to write content, you’re going to attract other people wanting a backlink to their websites. I probably get three to five emails a day. I’m not even kidding. Three to five emails a day, through my website, or from my website with people wanting me to insert their link into a piece of content I’ve already written. Sometimes they just want me to do it for free, and sometimes they want to pay me to insert the link. But the caveat is they want me to give them a do follow link, not a nofollow link. That is a no no. When somebody pays you to insert a link into your website that links to them, you have to make it nofollow. You cannot put a do follow link on something you got paid to include. This also goes for sponsored content, or review. Like if somebody sent you something for free and you decide to write about it. Any link you that you link to them from your website has to be a nofollow link. I will put the nofollow tag info in the show notes so that you understand how you have to code a nofollow link. But if somebody asks you to backlink and wants to give you money for that, you’ve got to say no. You have to say hey, if you want to pay me to put a link in a previous blog post, it’s got to be a nofollow link. A do follow link is a no no and you will get blacklisted by Google. So do not put do follow links that you get paid for. I hope that makes sense. If you’re confused, please email me because I want to make sure that you do not get blacklisted by Google. You can DM me on Instagram @BossGirlCreative or you can email me, Taylor@BossGirlCreative.com.
Okay, so let’s talk about internal and external linking. Now this is your own blog posts being linked within your own blog, or you externally linking to a relevant article on somebody else’s blog. So internal linking every single piece of content that you write, it’s encouraged that you link to two to three other articles or pages on your own website. This encourages people staying longer on your website, but only link to things that make sense within that piece of content. Now, if you’re going to link to something external – so let’s say you decide to do a round up of 10 cocktail posts. Putting an external link to somebody else’s recipe is smart, that just sends people to quality content, you are curating a list and you’re sending people out into the world to get that piece of content. Now, if you include that person’s recipe photo, you need to ask permission first. Make sure you ask permission before you ever use anybody’s photo, ever.
And then finally, let’s talk about your categories and your tags and social media share buttons. When you’re going back through your content – so you’re doing this website audit, and you’re going back through your archives, and you’re checking to make sure that the content is still relevant, that your links aren’t broken, that the images are optimized and all of that jazz – when you’re categorizing and tagging your content, I need you to think about it in this way: your categories are your pillars or your branches of your business and/or your blog. Your tags are what describes the content. So think about keywords, but I want you to keep your tags to a relative minimum and make sure you’re using the same tags consistently. So if you say – for example, if I write a book review post, I will tag the author in the post with the tag function of my website, so that if somebody searches for an author – Mary Kay Andrews, for example – if they were to put in my search bar, Mary Kay Andrews, that pulls up every book review that I’ve ever written about a Mary Kay Andrews book. It’s important that you stay consistent with your tags. If I were to say author, Mary Kay Andrews, and then sometimes use Mary Kay Andrews, it’s not going to pull up every piece of content that I’ve ever written because I’m not staying consistent with my tags. So if I write book review as a tag, and then I write books I have reviewed, those are going to get to different results if my reader is searching for book reviews. So be consistent in your tags. So your categories are the branches or the pillars of your business or blog. And then the tags are the descriptive words or keywords that describe the content. Make sure you’re consistent.
Also, make sure you have a search bar. I talked about this by adding one in your footer. But sometimes if you have a blog, you might turn on the sidebar to only show when your blog posts are being viewed. If you have that functionality on make sure there’s a search bar in the sidebar as well. This just helps for people to find other content on your website, etc, etc. So make sure that there is a search bar somewhere on your website, I encourage it to be in your footer, but if you do also have a blog, sometimes you can also add a search bar in the sidebar of your blog as well.
And then make sure you have social media share buttons available to people so that they can either pin it to Pinterest or share it to Facebook or tweet it out to Twitter. Whatever might be the case, add share buttons, because it just allows you to show up in front of other people’s eyeballs that you may not have already had the chance to do or be. So giving share buttons on your blog or adding share buttons on your blog just allows you to potentially show up in front of new eyeballs. Make it easy for people to share your content.
So time for you to start your own website audit. The goal is to make sure everything is clear and concise, that things are running smoothly, that pages that link to other pages don’t have broken links, that your affiliate links or other pieces of content that you might be linking to aren’t broken, that the content is so relevant to your brand and/or blog, that your sales funnels are intact, that your email subscribe functionality is intact. Like, you want to check all of these things so that you make sure that your website is user friendly, is up to date, is clear, concise, and that you answer what it is that you do for whom that you do it, and how somebody can get that thing relatively quickly. You’ve got about eight seconds from the moment somebody lands on your website. Alright, let’s get to those website audits.
Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode. If you found it helpful, I hope that you will share it with your business bestie. Until next week, I hope you have a great rest of this one.