The Craft Beverage Expo in Santa Clara, CA begins today, and Craft Beverage Jobs & Craft Beverage Media will be there. We’ve attended many industry events in the past, and have presented many times on the subject of Social Media and Digital Marketing. This will be our first event, however, where we will have a trade show booth and where we will be presenting on the trade show floor at the event’s “Spotlight Stage”.
If you’ll be in Santa Clara this week, come say hi to us at booth #321. Also, if you’re interested in having your website and social media presence critiqued, I will be conducting “live” website audits from 4:00 – 4:50 pm today (May 6th) from the Spotlight Stage.
What is a Website Audit?
A website audit is sort of like a health check-up or inspection before a tune-up. For those that volunteer their business’s website URL, I will go over a checklist of items to assess their website health and effectiveness. I will also give as many suggestions as possible on areas where I think there is room for improvement – as well as highlight things that they are doing well.
In the Craft Beverage Media side of the business, we offer these audits as one of our core services, and our audits are thorough and comprehensive with regard to a business’s website, social media activity, and digital marketing efforts.
For the expo, I will be reviewing a handful of sites live to the audience. These audits will be a condensed version of our full-service, and by following our 10 Minute Website Audit Checklist, they are intended to take only a handful of minutes to complete.
Not going to be at the Expo this week and/or don’t want your website reviewed publicly? No problem. Conducting a quick audit of your website is easy using our checklist below.
Pre-Audit: Define your Primary Objective
Before your begin your self-assessment, it’s important to have a very clear understanding of your website’s primary objective. All too often businesses either intend their websites to accomplish too much or they fail to identify any goals with their website at all.
So decide, is selling via your online store your primary objective or is driving visitors to your tasting room? If selling via your online store is priority #1, then the focus will be on optimizing your site for sales and highlighting your offers. If your priority is getting people to visit your location, then your focus will be on highlighting your location with visuals and story telling and putting a spotlight on your address, hours of operation and contact info.
It’s OK if you need your website to both push online sales and invite visitors to your location; my point here is for you to identify your primary goal and then establish your secondary goal(s) thereafter.
10 Minute Website Audit Checklist
click on each section to expand the checklist
The purpose of looking at your website’s branding is to ensure that you’re communicating your business in a cohesive way and that what you’re doing online is consistent with what you’re doing offline.
A simplified way of putting this is by asking yourself “is our website out-of-date”? Brands evolve, and many times websites become a time capsule of the past.
Also – ensure you can check off the following three items:
- Is your logo clearly visible on every page of your website and not lost in clutter?
- Are your site colors consistent with your brand colors?
- Do you have an “About Us” page and is it easy for a visitor to find?
Whether you spend $5 on your website or $50,000, design with regard to organization of information is important.
A term to be familiar with is “Above the Fold“, and it refers to the portion of your website that is visible before someone has to scroll down for more info (on a desktop).
- Do you have the following elements “Above the Fold”:
- Site Navigation
- Contact Information
- Call to Action (“Shop Here”, “Visit Us”, etc)
- E-mail Subscribe Capture field
- Does your site have “flow”? Is there consistency and organization?
- Is there enough whitespace (not too much clutter)?
- Do you really need that slider image?
If a visitor to your site doesn’t have a good experience while there, how likely are they to convert with regard to your objective? Not very likely.
- How does your website look on a mobile device or tablet?
- Is your typography legible? Are your font sizes too big or small?
- Is your navigation well organized?
- Is your website too slow to load?
- Does your slider distract from your message and objective?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The reason you want to pay attention to your SEO is so people using search engines like Google can find you. SEO is an ever evolving field, so it’s not like you can “set-it and forget-it”.
Just this month, Google did a major update to its search algorithm. Because so many of searches happen now on mobile devices, Google began penalizing and withholding sites from search results whose websites are not mobile responsive. This is a big deal!
- Is your site mobile ready / responsive?
- Is your Meta Description accurate and up-to-date?
- What is your site speed?
- Do you have backlinks?
- Is your site connected to your active social profiles?
There are several online tools to help you monitor your SEO data. I recommend a Chrome extension called “Chrome SEO Toolbar”
Content is an important part of a healthy website. Whether you publish to a blog on your site, it’s important to ensure that your website content is up-to-date.
- Is the content on your site relevant to your objective?
- If you have a blog, are you posting regularly?
- Does your content offer value?
- Is your content well written and free of grammatical errors?
If your website doesn’t have a blog (or doesn’t publish information on a regular basis from it), it’s easy to fall in the trap that your website is a one-way communication device from you to your customers. Don’t fall for this trap!
Your website is all about engagement. Are you attracting conversions, are you inviting conversations (by phone, email, social, etc), are you actively monitoring your brand online?
By focusing on these elements, you can then use your website as an engagement tool. Add testimonials that you find from 3rd party services like Yelp or Trip Advisor, add a live chat feature, or even add perhaps add a member’s only forum area.
- If you have a blog, are you responding to comments?
- Are you monitoring 3rd party sites (Yelp) that link to your site and responding to feedback (good and bad?).
If you made it through each of the sections above and applied the checklist to your own website, you’ve just completed a 10 Minute Website Audit. Now your task is to implement any improvements or changes you determined are important to make.
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