It’s time to evaluate your website success
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
For some, the word audit sparks anxiety—many people think of an IRS audit when financial information is examined to ensure information is being reported correctly and to verify the amount of tax reported is correct. While most audits are typically meant to evaluate a system and determine weaknesses, not all of these check-ups have to have the negative connotation. Website audits, for instance, are meant to evaluate your website, pinpoint weaknesses and help you make it better.
Why do I need to audit my website?
A website audit is a process of evaluating your site for various flaws such as navigation or information quality. Think of it from a user’s perspective—how many times have you visited another website only to find the font is too small, the links are broken and the layout is confusing? You may be blind to your own nonprofit website’s weaknesses, which is when the website audit comes into place. This audit will help you analyze those weaknesses that are keeping visitors from returning, staying on your site for extended periods of time, or making online donations. Fixing the flaws in your website will help build your nonprofit credibility and encourage traffic, ultimately helping to boost donations and engagement.
Determine what content to evaluate
As you go into your website audit, you should be open to changing whatever weaknesses you find. Make a list of the content and criteria that must be audited, including items such as:
- Design and layout
- Ease of management
- Structural quality
- Content quality and quantity (think SEO)
- Link navigation
- Marketing effectiveness
Are your links working? Are pages loading quickly? Are there simple grammatical errors? Before looking into the big picture goals of your website, start by checking out the front end.
Start a spreadsheet
Start a spreadsheet during your website audit to take notes about priority pages or sections. Consider assigning a grade for each page and section, and take notes if you find broken links or spelling errors. After completing an audit, you can assign priority levels of High, Medium, or Low to each page to help determine which pages should be cleaned up first. While every criteria must be taken into consideration, it may not all carry the same weight.
Get to it!
Create a plan of action, and commit to perfecting your website and creating the best user experience. Here is an in-depth checklist to help you get started:
- Color – Is my website color scheme consistent with my nonprofit logo and color palette?
- Typography – Does my brand have a consistent font style and size?
- Images and video – Are my visuals unique and engaging?
- About us page – Does the nonprofit “About Us” page should tell website visitors who you are and what you do while aligning with the company’s overall style.
- Tone of voice – Is our brand consistently represented and personalized with a specific tone of voice?
2. Site navigation and functionality
- Do my pages load in 2 seconds or less?
- Is the current location on site apparent?
- Is the home page always available?
- Are key pages easily accessible from most site locations?
- Are key functions easy and intuitive?
- Do we have standard plug-ins in place to view visuals?
- Are instructions provided where necessary?
3. Site design and content
- Is there consistent use of terminology throughout the site?
- Are the visual elements consistent with our brand and theme?
- Is the layout clear and easy to follow?
- Do the visual elements build trust in viewers minds?
- Is my site mobile-friendly?
4. Site errors
- Are there any broken links?
- Are error messages clear and useful?
- Are there any spelling or grammatical errors?
- Hacker activity monitored and persistent IP addresses banned?
- Are payment systems up-to-date and secure?
- Is contact information easily displayed?
A complete and detailed audit should give you a deeper understanding as to why your site is not generating the traffic you think it should or why your visitors are not converting to donors.