What is a website audit?
A website audit is a process of scanning your website and identifying issues or problems within your website that need to be addressed or fixed. Oftentimes, a good website audit tells you if your website is in need of an update or redesign.
Why is it important to audit your website?
It is important to audit your website in order to:
- Keep your website up-to-date
- Determine if your website or web pages are loading properly
- Determine if there are issues in your website
- Determine if your website needs to be redesigned or updated
In order to do the things mentioned above, is important to define the metrics you need to monitor.
What are metrics?
Metrics are the quantitative measures of user behaviour – they tell you how many users, sessions, conversions, transactions, products, and revenue your site handles. Usually represented in Google Analytics in an interactive spreadsheet format, you can view selected metrics in comparison with one another, over selected time periods, according to whichever criteria you choose to customise.
Understanding which metrics to pay attention to comes down to what you can do with the information; what decisions do the data inform, or what previous endeavours does it measure?
False performance metrics – numbers which may not matter
Not all metrics are useful, and not all the data matters. More still are useful, but it is vital to understand how the data is gathered so you can understand how – and if – it is applicable to your site or business. The most common mistake that companies make is to believe that the metrics that are most readily available are the ones that are most important to your business.
In addition, understanding the way that metrics are collected provides further insight into their relevance to business goals.
The most commonly misunderstood and overly weighted metrics are:
The bounce rate on a site is the measure of how many people leave the site without interacting. It usually means they left before navigating to another site. If your site is a one page site, or if there is genuinely useful information for a user to consume on the first page, a high bounce rate should not be a concern.
Average time on site
Similar to bounce rate, average time on site as reported by Google Analytics can be deceptive depending on your site’s set-up. When a user lands on a page, they issue Google Analytics a time stamp. When they make an interaction with the site (such as clicking a link or triggering an event) the time on site timer marks how long they have been on the site and times from that point onwards.
This means that if the site has not events or goals set up, only users who navigate to another page will have any time on site recorded at all. Someone who views just 1 page and leaves will record their session time as 00:00; this will bring down and misrepresent the average session times.
Sessions, users, page views, pages per session
The point to be made here is that while these metrics are useful in a big picture, it is important not to reply on these as measures of success. It is all too common for businesses to see that they have a certain number of page views, or users and judge that as success. These metrics are not necessarily useless, but it is important to keep them in context.
Social media metrics
Similar to page views and sessions, social media account managers are shown the reach, shares, ‘likes’, and impressions of social media posts.
True performance metrics – numbers that probably matter
In contrast to false metrics, true metrics are those that focus on understanding how the engagement on your website relates your business goals. It is important to note that page-views, bounce rate, unique visitors and other metrics all contribute to business objectives; the important message is that these metrics are not a direct measure of performance.
Your efforts need to be geared towards measuring and improving the following:
Queries or Leads
Understanding how users who make a query perform on site is important so that changes can be made to the site to encourage this behaviour. Ensuring that goals are set up to track the lead or query form, and setting up events to determine actions users commonly take before converting, will give you direct information on the performance that the site plays in generating these true performance metrics.
If your site has a purchasable item or service on it, then making your marketing accountable through Events is most easy and relevant. E-commerce tracking on your site allows you to understand how much users are spending.
How can I audit my website with Google Analytics?
Google Analytics has a number of functions you can use to audit your website performance. These functions include:
- Custom Reports & Segmentation
- Goal Discovery
- Behaviour Flow Report
- Site Search Report
- Landing Page Report
- Channels Report