Your company needs a Digital Audit – Discover the truth about your website and online marketing
Every business has a web presence of some kind. In it’s basic form it acts as as a business card online through to selling your products and / or services. Most businesses have someone in charge of the website. Usually a sales or marketing expert. With larger companies you might even have an entire team who are tasked with your digital marketing.
Why does your company need a Digital Audit?
Many of my clients have a web agency or freelancers who work with them to improve their website and digital marketing. However, sometimes these people are so busy focusing on the day-to-day stuff that they don’t see the other aspects of your digital work that needs attention.
Technology changes (and improves) so quickly these days that it’s really hard to keep up with the ever-changing set of best practices. For example, the advancements and increasing adoption of mobile devices is a priority area to focus on. Just making your website responsive isn’t enough. We need to look at how you visitors and target customers are using your mobile optimised website and see where we can improve things further.
Another fact is that you might be putting your effort into one area (or several) when you should really be focusing on another. One that is more effective for your business needs. The example here is a business that believes social media is the key to attracting more visitors. There are lots of people out there selling social media optimisation as a crucial part of a company’s digital strategy. This might not be the case depending on your type of business. I recently engaged with a business to provide a Digital Audit. They were told by several people that they should be doing more on social media but during the audit I discovered that this really wasn’t the case. Their focus needed to switch to on-site search engine optimisation and improving usability. This simple advice completely changed their approach to online marketing and development. Plus, the returns they will see from improving SEO and website usability far outweigh the benefits of adding more pictures to image sharing websites or making status updates.
Being too close to your website is also another reason why having an external consultant audit your digital marketing. A fresh pair of eyes with experience working within other sectors and with different companies can provide some very interesting and valuable insight.
What is a Digital Audit?
Essentially a Digital Audit is a complete review of everything your business does online. This includes your website(s), social media channels, email marketing and advertising.
The process I follow when conducting a Digital Audit is quite straightforward:
- Discuss and understand the business goals.
- Review all digital assets and processes.
- Document issues and provide solutions.
- Discuss the audit with the client.
- Take action!
Within the audit I cover many areas. On the website, for example there are over 200 points that are connected to search engine optimisation. Carefully going through each of these and checking to see how the website is setup and how it performs. If there are items that haven’t been implemented or are not working they get documented with the recommended solutions.
Looking at your competitors websites and digital marketing is also important. I can usually spot gaps in their implementation that we can exploit which result is our business gaining an competitive advantage. One very simple example is implementing an SSL certificate (making your website run over HTTPS). All e-commerce websites will have this already but recently more and more marketing websites have been making this change, with a noticeable increase on SEO and visitor trust levels.
Other key elements that are reviewed are the design and usability of the website. This is massively important in terms of visitor engagement and usability. Making sure you have the correct amount of contrast between background colours and text is simple example. Do you have clear calls to action? Surprisingly many companies don’t and this can turn browsers into leads or potential customers.
There are a wide variety of other elements that are reviewed within the Digital Audit. While the document is written in plain English there are some technical points in there which might make more sense to your developers, but these are important so need to be included.
The process of conducting a Digital Audit takes around one week, depending on your website(s) and other online marketing. Once the document is completed I usually have a call with the client to run through all the points and discuss the impact they will have. We then discuss how the audit should be used as a guide for implementation.
What happens after the Digital Audit is delivered?
Once we have discussed the audit we need to make sure that the actions within it are implemented correctly and quickly. It’s pointless having this work done if it sits on a desktop for months without action.
Most of my clients ask me to talk with their web company or freelance developers and designers. We work out what the priority items are and they get to work.
Sometimes I get involved with the implementation depending on it’s complexity. I’m often asked to make professional recommendations for other specialists, eg: content writers, social media authors and photographers.
Nine times out of ten the client asks me to stay on as a Digital Consultant. This usually involves me checking on the progress of the items within the audit and making more recommendations as we work through it. I have some very happy clients that work in this way. It also benefits the agencies in most cases, as they pick up some valuable insights into areas that they haven’t focused on recently.
What your company gets from a Digital Audit
If the items are implemented and followed up, then your company should see a marked increase in all or some of these areas: traffic, engagement, enquiries and sales.
Sometimes the amount of work that needs to be carried out is vast but the audit has now given you a plan that you can follow until you get the results you need.
Recommend a Digital Audit to your company or colleague
If you believe your company could benefit from a Digital Audit then please forward this post onto the person that makes decisions in this area.
Request a Digital Audit for your company
If you are in a position to request a Digital Audit you can contact me directly. We can discuss your business needs and how we get started…
Digital Business Consultant
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 112 8859
Digital Audits can be carried out for businesses anywhere in the world. The principles are the same regardless of where you are located.
Finally, a testimonial from a satisfied client:
“We had a professional services website that was working well. However, we hadn’t invested as much time into the website as we should have and started noticing that our competitors were out performing us on several areas.
The audit Spinach produced highlighted a large number of actions and possible improvements that we needed to work on. We are very happy with the ongoing results and highly recommend an audit for any business looking to improve their online presence.”
Professional Services Firm, United Kingdom