Here’s Your Comprehensive eCommerce Website Audit Checklist

Does your website load in under three seconds? Is your homepage providing the information on your latest sales and promotions? Can users easily search the site via your homepage? If your answer to these questions is yes, then you are pretty much in a safe position.

However, if your answer is either ‘no’ or ‘don’t know’, you need to figure out these details as soon as possible. A website audit can help you do just that, so you can devise solutions to increase conversion rate.

Your ecommerce store needs regular audits just like a brick and mortar store needs regular checks and follow-ups. Website audits help you understand your website in depth, and enable you to find  the trouble areas where existing or potential customers might be facing difficulties.

Why audit?

Audit is a vital part of an ecommerce business. You can perform it a few times every year, or at least twice a year, for a deep understanding. Audits are also helpful before you decide to make a major change on your store, like a refresh or an overhaul.

Why do you need an audit?

Your ecommerce store needs an audit because everything on the internet, from search engine algorithms to customer concentration spans, are changing. The idea of a website audit is very simple. It helps you peek into every corner of your website and find out how to:

Improve website performance:

“79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and ~44% will tell a friend if they had a poor experience”-Kissmetrics

Your website should be running perfectly and none of these elements should be lagging.

Improve SEO

From February 2015 till today, Google had seven major updates:

  • Mobile update or Mobilegeddon
  • Quality update
  • Adwords update
  • Brainrank
  • Panda 4.2
  • Real Time Penguin Update
  • Few Unnamed Updates

It is high time that you check your store for SEO glitches and fix them to be able to improve site ranks in the SERPs.

Improve conversion rate

The funnel matters the most for your ecommerce business. If people are not buying products or are cancelling orders, you need to find out why they are doing so. An audit report can be that first step to help you find out the reasons behind a lower conversion rate.

Improve customer experience

Customers should find the shopping experience on your website extremely pleasing. More instant purchases are made when the site is a treat to the eyes.

 How long will an audit take?

It depends on the type of audit you are performing. Basic audits are complete in a few hours, whereas complex audits of larger websites with more than 160 checkpoints may take around 3 weeks to complete. Audits for ecommerce stores with fewer pages can take up to 3 days to 1 Week.

How much does it cost?

The cost of a website audit depends totally on the type of website. In the case of ecommerce sites, the size and complexity matters the most. You can either pay an auditor to do the job for you in which case, they will use all the tools to analyze your website and report the result at the end of the audit. Or you can perform the audit yourself.

Website auditors are usually paid for their expertise and problem-solving skills. You must allocate a portion of your yearly ecommerce budget for audits, because it is a worthy investment.

For a small or medium-sized website, it could be an investment of $600-$4500. Remember, that your audit is going to be as good as the person conducting it.

How to perform a website audit?

Whether it is the end of the year or mid-year, a website audit will improve your conversion and sales.  You can look at the data from your analytics reports, review your targeted keywords, identify domain issues and look at link issues and tags. Moreover, this is how you can breakdown the audit:

Conversion rate

The most general number of conversions that ecommerce sites get is from 2% to 5% of all visitors. So even if you are sending more traffic to the landing page of such a poorly converting website, you are wasting money. Look at the following parameters:

  • Call-To-Action (CTA): The conversion rate of CTAs that are too big, too small or just not ‘clickable’ may be low. Check out the best practices in the industry to optimize your CTAs and make them convert more.
  • Landing and homepage: A high bounce rate could be due to many reasons. Most ecommerce stores can avail the advantages of ‘trust signals’. Great content and links between products and pages can help with that. Removing third-party advertisements from the site is also a good idea on an ecommerce website.
  • Opt-in forms: If conversion rate is low, it is important to check the opt-in forms too. May be your website is taking unnecessary information that customers are unwilling to share. Pop-ups should also be checked because they drive a higher number of sales.
  • Registration: Forcing users to sign up before buying something is a bad idea and quite possibly a major reason behind your low conversion rate. A customer wants to buy his favorite product and get out. Read more on the $300 million button for more tips.
  • Checkout process: The checkout process is an essential part of the CRO. Make sure that cart abandonment is dealt with.

 

SEO

Strong SEO can lead to greater sales on ecommerce websites. This is why it is better to start with SEO when conducting an audit. Some basic on-site SEO points can be followed when doing this. You will get more customers if the pages are visible to both the customers and the search engines.

Look into the following:

  • Visibility: You should review your block pages (some of which are good), and check your robot.txt files.
  • Meta description:
    • Missing meta: Having no title and no description is usually a bad thing for your search results. Each page on your site needs a thoughtful description.
    • Duplicate meta: Duplicate titles are the worst things on your ecommerce store. They don’t help in improving site ranks in any way.
    • Meta length: If it is too short, optimizing keywords becomes a missed opportunity. Long titles can be cut off in the SERPs, so make sure that you keep it moderate.
  • Content:
    • Low word count: If your pages are saying very little, they will have very little importance to search engines. Content rich pages perform better in search results. You can either remove such a page or add good content to it.
    • Duplicate content: Search engines know duplicity and will determine the most relevant page. If duplicate content is necessary, try rel=”canonical”.
  • Links
    • Broken links: These create a poor user experience and drive customers away. Some broken links are pointing to high performing pages, so keep that in mind.
    • Missing ALT links: The best thing to do is to use anchor text or use ALT text images. Sometimes they are the remnants of previous site maintenance.
    • Nofollow links: Make sure you are not using internal links with nofollow attributes. Use nofollow sparingly on your website only if it is for comments or websites you don’t highly vouch for.
  • Images: If the images are broken, fixing them will improve user experience. Use ALT text when you can, but it is not necessary.
  • Semantic considerations: A best practice is to use a heading for content. Schema.org will provide structured data to search engines and help your site look better to the SERPs by providing rich snippets.

 

Platform audit

You need to choose the right ecommerce platform for your business. In the auditing process, it is necessary to spend some time figuring out if a platform switch is appropriate or not.

With sales going down or drastically increasing, it is good if you check the platform and whether or not it is suitable for your business. Needless to say, a well-executed platform will lead to higher sales.

  • User experience: Site speed, navigation, checkout process and a whole range of features matter directly for your SEO or CRO. They determine if you should switch platforms or not.
  • Mobile optimization: Google also keeps an eye on your site’s mobile functionality. Mobile-friendly sites rank higher.
  • Market: There is a growing need for multi-channel buying experience, and the integration of social commerce is a good example of this.
  • Scalability: Check if the business has outgrown your current platform, or whether or not your existing platform is supporting additional integrations. This affects the buyer’s experience.
  • Costs: Costs associated with the platform may be too high, and it might be better to switch to a cheaper system.
  • Speed: Just a one-second delay in load time can lead to 7% decrease in sales and conversions. A new platform may improve your site speed.

 

Grade each page:

Data gathered from these aspects and from a close look at the aesthetics and usability of your product pages will help you grade each page on the basis of content, design, lead generation and social media.

 

Add improvements

Taking this data-led approach, you can determine your ecommerce success. Understand what works and what doesn’t, notice how customer behavior is shifting due to the changes on your website, and optimize the website based on this data.

 

Some popular website audit tools:

We have established this fact by now that performing an audit is a job that has to be done with extra caution. It’s a time-consuming and complex process that demands patience as you go through and analyze each page.

The internet is a wonderful place and is full of tools to help you perform an audit on your ecommerce site. However, you should remember that a tool is not enough. You need a highly competitive team and adequate resources to make the auditing work perfectly. Here are some popular website audit tools that you can use;

 

 

  • Deep Crawl

DeepCrawl is very popular for its in-depth reports and flexible nature. It can crawl millions of web pages. If you run large marketing projects, it can provide competitor reports on site structure, content and social media, etc.

 

 

  • Screaming frog

This tool can give you a detailed and quick overview of your website. It is less of an auditing tool and more of a website crawling tool. It provides you with insights and possible SEO errors.

Screaming Frog can check an entire site in one go and report over 30 different parameters such as; meta descriptions, outlinks, load time, anchor text, etc.

 

 

  • Seoptimer

Seoptimer is a free auditing tool that can identify critical errors instantly and report them along with recommendations on what you should do to avoid those errors in future. A Google Chrome extension of the tool is also available for improved site audit.

You can work on your website audit by looking at the parameters one by one and make changes accordingly. You can save reports in a PDF format after the audits.

 

 

  • MySiteAuditor

MySiteAuditor is a popular tool for a variety of reasons. This tool is great for large agencies. You can simply integrate the tool on multiple websites to generate more leads. The tool is also directly compatible with Google’s rank algorithm. The results can be downloaded in a PDF format or received via email.

 

 

  • Site Analyzer

Site Analyzer is another free SEO audit tool that offers 20 analyses every month or an unlimited number of analyses if you upgrade to its paid version. This tool will check your website based on 50 parameters and lists all the problem areas to fix.

It also highlights SEO-related flaws. The unique thing about this tool is that it provides you with a global score on levels of accessibility, design, text, multimedia and networking. Site Analyzer can also encounter conflicts in multiple languages with the help of its multi-lingual capability.

 

Conclusion:

The conversion rate of an ecommerce website is one of the most important areas that needs improvement. An ecommerce retailer works hard to make people stay on the site and spend more.  Therefore, it is important to conduct site audits. Because unless you know what isn’t working, how will you fix it?

 

mmhemani
mmhemani

By profession and by hobby I am a SEO Consultant, a search blogger and a link builder, all in one. I am writing across websites all the time, I love working with people from all over the world.

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Moosa Hemani stands out for many reasons, but one is simply for his exceptional desire to contribute to the SEO community through his writing and participation in social media. You would be hard pressed to find a highly-visible SEO site that he has not contributed to in way. He is also a truly nice guy, which always impresses me. There’s no ego, but there is confidence. I’d be honoured to have the chance to work with Moosa.

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