Website Audits – piece of cake, right?
All you have to do is visit Hubspot or WebsiteOptimization.com etc. or any one of the many numbers of websites offering a free website audit. You enter your web address, press a button and you’ve got a fully-fledged, audit of your website, detailing all the things you need to do fix it. For free.
Nope. Not quite.
They’re all good, these free website audit tools. They look at performance, mobile-friendliness, speed, SEO and security… But when you submit the URL of your business’ website you get an automated audit… and it’s not all there, we know.
Now that’s fine, nobody’s perfect, no tool is perfect, after all, these automated audits are like Swiss Army knives – they have a lot of things to do and some obscure things too. And if it’s not 100% then that’s OK.
But when you rely purely on the results of an automated audit to give you everything a webmaster needs in order to be able to optimise a website, then you’re not getting the full picture.
Let’s look at a couple of simple things an automated audit will not pick up…
Take XML sitemaps for instance, they are essential for any website. Just as the HTML sitemap is a page for users to glance at your site structure, so the XML sitemap is submitted to the search engines. It is the defacto, full-fat map of your site. The search engines crawl and index your site based on what they read in the XML sitemap and so these files are crucial to digital health and performance.
One tool that we used crawled the URL we input before spitting out the response that we had no XML sitemap.
Why? Because the well-respected top-ten website audit tool is programmed to find the sitemap at /sitemap.xml
However, with the website being in WordPress the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress likes to use /siteamp_index.xml and then include all the other aspects of your website as child sitemaps. The website audit tool didn’t identify this and thus failed this aspect of the audit.
It’s only experienced website design agencies, like Clever Marketing in Woking, who have years of experience in web design & development and can spot this straight away and audit your website correctly.
Another automated website audit we ran showed that security was lacking. Why? Because there was no Secure Certificate and the site was not showing up HTTPS at the start of its URL.
Now an SSL cert is really important to securing a website but it is not the be-all and end-all of website security options. We had the login details for the website and were able to see that there was security plugin. This plugin performed a number of best practices for securing a website beyond SSL.
An automated web audit cannot tell if you’ve taken security measures to protect your website. Only someone with those login details, experience and insights can spot whether you’ve taken those precautions or not.
What this means is that a Clever Marketing agency like ours is best placed to conduct a proper website audit. Additionally, we have access to some tools that are more cost effective when you do your website audit through us. We check for broken links, missing meta descriptions etc. We provide a full featured audit and will fix all the things that will make your website great again.
Call us if your site needs to be faster, more secure. Tell us if your website needs be seen in the search engines. Let us know if your landing pages need to be converting more. We’re on 0203 146 4341 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Blogs are an essential element of the digital marketing mix as each post drives traffic to your website. It’s relatively easy to set a blog up and build a following but it takes time to ensure it receives regular traffic.
Successful blogs deliver quality content on a regular basis, which means they’re crawled more often by Google with the opportunity to generate potential leads higher. We take a look at what you can do to maximise your visibility and drive more traffic to your blog.
Your target audience can make a huge difference to the popularity of your posts. So do consider what kind of content is relevant to them and how you can make your posts more shareable. Evergreen content like “how to” guides, tips or education based posts are often popular choices although they’re not for everyone.
Content should be a key part of any digital marketing strategy. Having an editorial plan in place will result in greater consistency, whether posts are focused on a specific theme, topic or style for example. Google Analytics is, of course, essential to finding out where your visitors are from, their demographic profile and what kind of content is most popular among other things.
There are a number of ways you can ensure your blog is SEO friendly starting with how it’s structured, what headings you use and which signal words are included. You should always optimise the length of your posts so they’re over 300 words and make sure you link to previous content where relevant.
Your featured keyword, which will help people find you, should appear in your post heading, title, URL, content and meta description. Consider what terms and phrases your target audience might type into Google when looking for the information they require. This will help you identify the best keywords to use. Research can also be conducted using tools like the Adwords Keyword Planner.
Readers appreciate blog posts with useful links so you should reference relevant content where appropriate, whether it’s a post of your own or someone else’s. Links to relevant content are well received if they’re in context and provide value. They should never link to top-level web pages and any anchor text must be natural.
It might be worth creating a list of internal content for the purpose of blogging. If you haven’t already catalogued your own site’s content, consider an SEO audit or a website audit where a crawl will identify all your assets.
Let us know if you need a full website crawl, we can offer this as a standalone service or as part of a free website audit including performance, security, SEO and mobile-friendliness
Leveraging your most effective social media channels is a fundamental way to boost traffic to your blog. Curating others’ content is great for encouraging people to share your content and interact. As well as the major social networking sites, consider social community sites such as StumbleUpon, Reddit or Pinterest as well. You will need to add value to these sites to get the return but the same applies to any social network. You get out what you put in.
Do you know who your influencers are? If not, you can easily create a Twitter list for example with the most relevant so you can start to build relationships. Joining relevant communities and Twitter chats is a great way to find new topics for discussion too. You should also research which hashtags are most appropriate to your industry. Including relevant @mentions in social media posts will also help increase your reach and visibility.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how you can drive traffic to your blog. For further information, contact our Digital Marketing Manager, Paul Mackenzie Ross, at Woking’s Design Agency Clever Marketing on 020 3146 4341.
The New Year is all about re-evaluating and that means it’s the perfect time to refresh your website. A lot can change in the space of 12 months so it’s a great opportunity to ensure you’re attracting and retaining the right kind of customers. January is an ideal time to review your website and how it’s performing so it’s in line with your business objectives. Here are our top tips to refresh your website so you can position yourself ahead of the competition.
Your first port of call has to be an audit. Think about your target market, how you attract new clients and encourage repeat or lapsed customers. Consider what clients and prospective clients visit your website for.
Review the content on your website to see what copy, images or keywords should be updated. Links should also be looked at to ensure none are broken and functionality must be tested across all browsers. Consider how you drive traffic to your site, generate leads and whether your website accurately reflects your business goals for 2017. This might also include updating case studies, asking clients for testimonials and creating an editorial calendar for blog post content.
If you need professional assistance with an audit, we can perform a free website audit to assess your performance, mobile-friendliness, SEO and security,
Once you’ve undertaken a review of your website, you need to take a look at the typical customer journey. Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective client and imagine what information you might be looking for.
Is your website easy to navigate from the landing page or will prospects need to hunt around for what they require?
They might click away if they’re time short. Ask colleagues and friends who are not familiar with your website to review the customer journey too. More often than not they’ll spot things which could really improve your website usability. Your website should always be refreshed with your target audience in mind. At the very least, they will want to know what your approach is, whether you have the necessary expertise and how knowledgeable your team is.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is fundamental to the success of your website. As search engines refer users to websites that have the most relevant information, content, performance and authority really are critical. Consider the text, titles and descriptions on your pages, the speed of your website and how easy it is to navigate.Authority is also a key factor – are you considered an authority in your field and does your website reflect this? As a specialist, you’re expected to reflect that level of expertise and, if your site has enough in-depth information, it can be considered an authority site.
Authority is also a key factor – are you considered an authority in your field and does your website reflect this? As a specialist, you’re expected to reflect that level of expertise and, if your website has enough in-depth information, it can be considered an authority site or at least have authority pages and these URLs are the ones that top the search engines results pages (SERPs).
One example is this page about cycle tyre sizes – Written by the former CTC’s technical officer, it was often remarked about as “being far too long” and “nobody’s going to read that” but then it was their top traffic page for years!
Many of you will have reviewed Google Analytics data on an ongoing basis. At this time of year, it’s important to understand how your website has performed over the last 12 months. This should include the number of visitors and dwell time plus how many pages have been visited, most popular pages and conversion rates. This information can help drive your content moving forward.
Using Analytics you can segment your visitors to see:
Look at what has changed over the past year, you’ll probably notice that mobile traffic is on the increase. This will give you insights into where you need to channel your efforts in order to stay customer-focused.
Before you embark on a website refresh, it’s essential you conduct a competitor review so you can identify your point of difference. Consider how each competitor is positioned, how easy their websites are to navigate and how up-to-date the content is. Evaluate what works and what doesn’t as well as noting specialisms and location. You can also get a feel for what they’re like through case studies, a blog and social media channels.
Again, if you were thinking of performing a website audit on your own site, see if you have time to audit thecompetition. A professional audit can take time, so consider outsourcing the task to your friendly local design agency…
Once you’ve reviewed your website, you’re ready to refresh it for the year ahead. If you have any design, digital or search requirements, feel free to contact Woking web agency Clever Marketing on 020 3146 4341. We are more than happy to do the heavy lifting and be your digital marketing department, providing expertise in SEO and PPC to increase your visibility and boost your traffic.