Why You Should Do Annual Website Audits

The websites we build don’t always keep up with technology. Best practices, frameworks and other tools seem to change in the blink of an eye. And whether you’re managing one site or a hundred, there always seem to be things that slip through the cracks.

Fortunately, websites don’t have to remain frozen in time, either. We can use our knowledge to help them evolve.

But too often, we only learn about any shortcomings after something has gone wrong. It could be a major performance failure, incompatibility with the latest software update, or a broken feature. So bringing the site up to snuff is a stressful experience.

One way to avoid this situation is to conduct an annual website audit. This can help you identify any potential problem areas and address them before it’s too late.

Today, we’ll provide some tips for auditing the websites you manage and what you can learn along the way. On with us!

Create a Web Maintenance Checklist

While each website is unique, there are likely similarities as well. For example, the sites you manage may have been built using the same content management system (CMS) – like WordPress. Some may rely on a framework such as Bootstrap. Then there are basic languages ​​like PHP, JavaScript, and CSS.

Each of these factors plays a role in a website audit. So, it’s worth taking some time to think about those similarities and differences. From there, you can create a website maintenance checklist that you can use to keep things in top shape.

In general, let’s look at some items that are likely to be on your list:

1. Accessibility

Sure, you may have built and tested your website for accessibility. But it’s easy for gaps to appear as a site of age.

New content and features may not be up to standard. This is particularly relevant when clients are involved in management. How can you be sure they have kept up with best practices?

Any audit should include some basic accessibility tests. A combination of automated tools and manual inspection can help you detect and fix any deficiencies.

2. Basic Security Measures

Every website is a target for malicious actors. And the people who use CMS are especially at risk. Therefore, a basic review of security measures is in order.

Check the low-hanging fruit, such as using secure passwords and server file permissions. Covering these areas can help prevent some of the less sophisticated attacks from getting around.

Also, look for any signs of malware infection. They are not always easily detectable and can lie dormant for long periods before becoming active. Keeping track of the file changes on your server and performing a security scan can mitigate these problems.

3. Outdated and abandoned software

Using third-party themes and plugins makes our job easier. But they also require vigilance. These products are only as good as the last update.

Software that hasn’t been updated in a while can cause problems. For one, there could be security vulnerabilities without a pass. And there is also a chance that it won’t be compatible with new versions of PHP or other items you have installed.

You can save yourself a headache down the road by doing a little research. Identify whether the software in use is still being actively supported and developed. You can then decide whether to stick with what you have or find a suitable alternative.

4. Content and Structure

Audits are about more than functionality. This is also a great time to dive into your website content.

There are a few items of interest here. It is vital to ensure that the content remains accurate and relevant. Prime examples are pricing, contact information and service listings. Make any necessary changes to ensure visitors get the best possible experience.

The structure of that material also makes a difference. The goal is to help users (and search engines) find what they need in short order.

An Unprofitable Opportunity for the Revenue Commissioners

An annual website audit is not only a great preventative measure – it’s also a potential source of income. Therefore, offering this service to clients can be mutually beneficial.

If you offer annual maintenance packages, inspections can be sold as an add-on or simply included. There is plenty of opportunity to experiment with pricing and implementation. However, a lot can depend on the client’s budget and attention span.

Clients who tend to lose interest may be more likely to respond to the results of an audit, rather than asking you to do one. This can still be a profitable venture, as you can charge a fee for any fixes you make.

Audits can also get clients thinking about other changes they might want to make. It can be a catalyst to complete those tasks that have been putting them off. In some cases, they may even prefer to spend money on a redesign rather than punching holes in their existing website.

For those looking to capitalize on the value of existing clients, this could be a viable option.

Work with clients to keep their website in great shape - and increase revenue

All-Around Best Practices for Your Web Design Business

The benefits of performing annual website audits are plentiful. And although they require some manual labor on your part, they may be worth every second spent.

Firstly, they will help you spot any potential problems before they become a nightmare. This alone will give you and your clients peace of mind.

In addition, they provide a path to increase your income. And you can do that in a way that doesn’t require sales pitches or prospecting for new clients. Everything can be done in partnership with your existing client roster.

And, once you’ve established a checklist, it’s easy to repeat the process year after year. Overall, it helps establish best practices in your business and can strengthen client relationships. It’s something for all freelancers and small agencies to consider.

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By LocalBizWebsiteDesign

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