Performing a WordPress website audit is an easy way to ensure your site is optimized for your business goals.
Think of it as a regular checkup for your site that provides insight on your specific goals, whether that’s driving more traffic, increasing sales, growing your subscriber base, improving your SEO, or something entirely unique to your business.
Where to Start
The most valuable audit isn’t necessarily the most comprehensive one (though those can be helpful, too). Which parameters you are entirely up to you.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the most common components of a WordPress site audit so you can pick and choose the most relevant ones for your business and your goals.
Check Behind the Scenes
It’s easy to overlook the behind-the-scenes functions of your site, but it’s important to keep these components in good working condition so that your site stays speedy, secure, and glitch-free.
These are the nuts and bolts that keep your site running like a well-oiled machine.
- Run backups. If you’re not in the habit of making a backup every time you update a plugin, theme or WordPress itself, do yourself a favor and start now! Follow these steps to export a complete backup of your content, images, user info, plugins, themes, configurations, and other important information.
- Find (and fix) broken links. Landing on a 404 page is one of the greatest bummers of the internet. Make sure your site is free of broken links with our handy guide to finding and fixing broken links. Then, incorporate broken link maintenance into your routine at least every few months, or more often if you create a lot of content.
- Ramp up site speed. If your site runs slowly, your visitors aren’t going to stick around. Run through this list (…see what we did there?) of five ways to improve page speed. Trust us: Your website—and your search engine rankings—will be better for it.
- Lock down your site security. Online security is a serious concern, as major businesses are regularly the targets of data breaches and hacks that can threaten content and customer data. Take steps now to bulletproof your site against a potential attack.
- Clean up plugins. Clear out the WordPress plugins you don’t use anymore and check for updates on the rest. If you use plugins from The Events Calendar, you can follow our release notes to stay in the loop on our latest updates.
Spruce Up the Front of the House
These are the parts of your site that visitors notice right away: Is it nice to look at? Easy to navigate? Organized logically? Maybe you already have a great site, but most of us have room to improve. See if your site could use an upgrade in any of the following areas:
- Give your site a visual refresh. Maybe a full website redesign isn’t in your budget, but small changes, like swapping a color or a font, can make a big difference. You can also clean up the appearance of your event pages or switch to a better stock photo library to give your website’s appearance a mini makeover.
- Make your 404 page more fun and useful. The occasional broken link is, sadly, inevitable—so you may as well embrace your 404 page. Get inspiration from these websites that use creative copy, illustrations, and animations to create 404 pages that are equal parts fun and useful for lost visitors.
- Test mobile responsiveness. By now, a mobile-responsive website is nonnegotiable—it’s necessary to ensure a good user experience for visitors on phones, tablets and laptops alike. But even if you’re using a mobile-friendly theme, it’s a good idea to check in on how your site appears across different devices, or use the device-specific preview in WordPress to check the responsiveness of your site on tablets and mobile devices.
- Consider accessibility. Make sure your website is inclusive of all visitors, including those with visual or hearing impairments, and visitors who speak different languages. Check out these three tips to help make your site more accessible, from adding alt text to images to running plugins that can translate your content into multiple languages.
Shore Up Your Content
If you’re already honing your content strategy for the new year, now is the time to perform a content audit to see what’s working, what needs to be updated and what could benefit from some tweaking.
- Run traffic reports. Take a deep dive into your WordPress analytics to see what types of content perform best and to take a look at what’s driving traffic on your site—is it Google searches? Outside links? Which campaigns performed best (and worst) last year? The answers will help you clean up your existing content and create even better content moving forward.
- Clean up your content. Speaking of cleanup, it’s a good idea to delete old events from time to time to keep your calendar running smoothly. Luckily, this process can be automated, which saves you time and hassle. Of course, this same concept applies to old or outdated content that can be updated or redirected to a newer version.
- Review your copy for consistency. If you’ve made any recent changes to your editorial guidelines or your brand voice, now is the time to click back through your content and spend time updating old pages and blog posts that may not match your updated style. Plus, it never hurts to re-read old content and fix any typos you catch.
- Make product and service updates. Look, we get it. Sometimes you’re so busy running your business that your website becomes an afterthought—and that includes the most basic elements of your site, like your services and products pages. Check up on these important pages to make sure all product and service information is up-to-date.
- Update contact information. And while you’re tackling the tip above, click over to your “Contact Us” page to make sure email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and staff directories are current. If you have contact information in your site’s footer or in a widget, be sure to update it there, too.
- Check your organization and navigation. Improving your site’s user-friendliness will always be time well spent. Start by reviewing your site navigation—are there ways you could streamline it, or add sub-menus to help visitors quickly find what they’re looking for? Same goes for making your content more scannable by thoughtfully using bold text, italics, pull quotes and bullet points to break up large chunks of copy
Optimize Your eCommerce and Marketing
Check up on the items below to bring your audit full circle, encompassing not just your website, but also your e-commerce and marketing efforts.
- Enhance your e-commerce. If you run an online store, don’t skip this part of your audit. Make sure your back-end and front-end operations are running smoothly, and take simple steps that can lead to big improvements on your e-commerce site. If you’re using WooCommerce, check out our tips for boosting traffic and sales.
- Measure your marketing efforts. An audit is also a great time to look back at your website traffic, conversions and ROI for each of your marketing channels. What you learn can help you put together a smart, data-backed marketing strategy for 2019. When you’re ready to get started, check out our guide to using WordPress analytics to measure marketing success.
- Educate yourself. After your audit, harness your learnings and read up on ways to be an even better marketer in the new year. Start by checking our some of our best tips:
We just threw a whole lot of ideas your way, but remember: You don’t need to audit everything on your WordPress site, and your audit doesn’t need to be a painful, days-long process. Stick to the parts that matter most to your business and your goals. Then, you’ll be well on your way to taking your site from just ok to absolutely amazing.
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