When dealing with a business, of any scale, at any part of its life-cycle, there are several different sections that require our utmost attention. For example: the front-desk that deals with calls and face-to-face meetings should be friendly, and informative, making sure customers leave satisfied, and the factory line should be a well-oiled machine that pumps out products with both speed and quality. In a similar vein, those who work with virtual businesses, such as a clothing brand, video uploading or even a blog, look to their website in an attempt to not only entice, but engage and hold onto potential customers and leads. This is important to remember because simply having a great idea, an innovative concept or product that could gain the attention of millions, won’t do so by itself, the execution, as well as the forthcoming results are just as, if not more important when growing and maintaining an online business. Unfortunately, some people struggle with the virtual side of things, perhaps it’s too confusing, or maybe the pieces just don’t fit together properly; this is completely understandable, in this predominantly digital age it can be overwhelming to bring your business to new areas such as the internet.
A worthwhile and stress-free solution to this problem, however, is a digital audit, in other words: looking into your website’s statistics and analytics, its strengths and weaknesses, ultimately helping you better organise your online presence. If you’re still unsure, that’s no worry, it’s an in-depth process, but we’ll use the following article to explain, going through the what, the how, and the why of a digital audit, as well as showing how The Quad Group’s contribution to the execution of a digital audit can benefit you far more than other generic auditing solutions.
One great analogy for a digital audit is like you’re getting your website serviced, or taking it for a physical. Providers, such as us here at Quad, take every single aspect of your website you could possibly imagine, generally totalling over two hundred elements that make up your space, and analyse it. This could be something obvious, such as loading times, specifically in regard to your website’s server speed and how quickly the page boots up on mobile or desktop; something so simple can have a huge impact on your site’s traffic’s quantity and retention. Other areas a digital audit looks into can include: aesthetics, such as colour scheme, fonts and stylistic choices that could make reading content or navigating the page difficult, as well as functional and technical aspects, making sure the site works, and does exactly what you want it to be doing. Ultimately, this is the most effective way of gathering feedback for your virtual space, beyond simple, often limiting analytics offered by the likes of Google or WordPress, you’re instead offered a hefty, comprehensive guide to the positives, negatives and issues of your website.
I know what you’re thinking, “My products have been selling well, I’m making great returns on my site and customers seem happy, why would I need a digital audit?” Well, there’s a few different answers to that question. First and foremost, many top analysts in the digital marketing industry have advised that sites should aim for a digital audit around once every year. This allows for the owner to stay on top of things, even if they think they’re fully knowledgeable on the situation, a digital audit can uncover otherwise hidden issues to the creator which could cause serious, yet silent damage to their operation. Second, my answer to you is, why wouldn’t you need a digital audit? Not only are they both cost and time effective, but you can then take your self-made success, and potentially double, if not triple the results due to a now god-like understanding of your work that no other service could offer you. Within a week you’ll know the ins, the outs and the sensitive areas of your sites that you can task yourself with fixing, or altering in any way you see fit.
The next question you may have could be asking about the what, “What exactly does a digital audit look at? What are the specifics, and these elements you mentioned?” We named a few before, such as aesthetic, function and technicality of your website, however, to give a more in depth insight to what this process really looks for, we can go through a pretty healthy list of elements. Some of these elements you may have heard of, some you may be able to clue together, others you may have no idea what they mean or do, but they all work together to bring the results necessary to adjust and improve your domain for the better.
Firstly, one of the most important areas to look into includes that of the transition between search engine to website. For example, landing pages, so that when a potential customer types something related to your website into a search engine, they land on your site in the most useful and effective way possible, being shown exactly what they asked for. In turn, this can also be looked at from the opposite direction, seeing how well you show up on said search engines, and which results lead to which pages on your sites. It sounds simple, but these elements of your website are hard to control if they’ve been configured or automated incorrectly, and your business could be dead in the water because of such a big error at the starting line. To help rectify the possible issue, the digital audit can look into similar areas, such as search engine optimisation for the different pages of your website. Which page is most important? Which are used as catalogues or archives? Are the sales and offers being advertised as well as they could be? All these questions are important, and through small changes such as optimisation of: tags, titles, URLs, descriptions and keywords, you can really tighten up your presence on any given search engine.
As aforementioned, the digital audit offered by Quad will do more than just the basics, the backstory and behind the scenes are crucial in maintaining a healthy, growing website, so the technicalities need to be tended to. Technicalities such as duplicate links, or links that lead to a broken or mismatched page. Proper script and code is also important, making sure that everything isn’t configured poorly, if this is the case, then adding on top of a poorly coded site can create dire issues later down the line. Lastly, it’s important to remember that your site won’t just be used by your average computer, it will also be accessed by different forms of device, such as mobile or tablet, here we run into another potential issue of sizing, scaling and resolution. All these elements plus more are what you sign up for when you look into a digital audit, within a week’s time you’re given back masses of data that will truly help develop the future of your site.
In general, a digital audit is helpful in times where a business’ website isn’t performing as well as it could be. Lead generation may not be up, or maybe potential customers are there, but uninterested in what you have to offer. Or, as aforementioned, the site may be slow, or not provide the information that’s needed to engage and keep a user’s attention. This is a prime example of a digital audit being near necessary to help a company get back on top and thrive as a direct result of its online presence. Another example could be that of a new start-up company that is just dipping its feet into the virtual world. They may have the product, maybe even a real-life business model to work with that is successful in physical stores, but online is completely new to them. From here they may take everything they know from the physical market, and find that it just doesn’t equate to knowing how to build a website. A simple audit will help highlight the key areas for improvement, what should be on show, how it could be laid out, and working the behind-the-scenes areas that have so much impact on search engine optimisation. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what your situation is, you could be a brand new company, a physical company, or even one that is running somewhat of a successful business, the bottom line is that a digital audit can’t do any harm.
From here, we take everything we’ve learned in this article, the audit, the elements, the context, the business, the website, and we bring it back to you. You get everything, all data, statistics and analytics wrapped up neatly with a nice bow on top, for you to go off and investigate, there are areas you did well, and some you could improve on, but ultimately, you’re more than aware of the current state of your online presence and how it can be further developed. Though, maybe you’re confused by some of the data, or not quite sure how you could take said data and use it to build upon your site, that’s also no problem at all. With Quad, communication is key, and with every digital audit we provide, we meet with the company for a face to face meeting whereby any questions or details that you may have are completely ironed out and fully explained. At Quad, we are committed to helping our clients through every step of the process, from the audit itself, to its explanation and later capitalisation on its results.