Auditing Your Business Website? Here’s Our Ultimate Checklist

It’s standard practice for every business to have a website. But, in today’s digital age, just having a website is no longer enough. 

To get found by your potential customers, to keep your website users engaged, and to ensure you’re appearing at the top of internet search results, you need to do more than just have a website – you need to have a website that is optimised to perform. 

Your business website serves a number of purposes. It helps you to:

  • Get found on search engines. 
  • Build trust with your potential customers by conveying quality and expertise
  • Educate and inform customers and potential customers 
  • Build long-term relationships with customers and potential customers.
  • Convert visitors into potential customers, employees, and stakeholders. 

Here is a 19 point checklist that you can use to help ensure your business website is optimised to perform:

  • Clean and Crisp Design

Gone are the days when brightly coloured backgrounds, or white text on a black background, passed for a decent website. The design and layout of your website should be appealing, eye catching, and should be simple to navigate, so that any user can find what they are looking for. 

Steer clear of clutter, make good use of breadcrumb-style menus, and make sure the most important information is right there on your homepage. If web design isn’t your strong suit, bring in the professionals. It’s an area you can’t afford to get wrong. 

  • A Clear Message

Does your website accurately explain who you are and what you do? You can have a range of pages on your website that provide more detail, such as a company history, ‘about’ page, or meet the team, but a concise synopsis of your business should take pride of place on your homepage.

  • High Quality Images

Where you can, use your own images instead of stock photos, but only if they are high resolution and good quality. The advancements in digital technology that are available to all of us today means that most people are able to take reasonably good images for social media, news stories, and blog posts – but for those all-important homepage, product, or service-related images it’s worth investing in a photographer to ensure you make the right first impression. 

  • Obvious Contact Information

A specific ‘contact’ page on a website is a must. This usually includes a contact phone number, social media links, email address, contact form, and location map. However, some of this information can also be located in the footer of the website so it is available to the user in multiple locations. For service-related businesses, a header banner with a contact number and email address is a very useful addition.

  • A Sitemap 

A sitemap is a structured layout that clearly shows the most important pages of your website. It can be quite lengthy, and it doesn’t always look pretty, but it’s important for users who want to use it to find specific information, and it can help with that all important search engine optimisation (SEO). There are two formats for sitemaps – XML sitemaps that help with SEO, and HTML sitemaps that are for your website users. 

  • Customer Testimonials

Whether your business is better suited to testimonials or case studies, ensure you have up-to-date feedback from your customers and/or examples of the type of work you do. This helps to build trust with your potential customer base, and reassures current customers that by working with you they are making the right choice.

  • Social Media Links

If your business isn’t on social media, you really are missing a trick. You don’t have to have a presence on every social platform, but you should definitely be active on those that are most beneficial to your industry:

  • Facebook is an excellent all-rounder.
  • Pinterest is catered towards creative industries such as interior designers or wedding planners.
  • Instagram used to be best for visually enticing businesses but is significantly growing in popularity and usefulness across all sectors.
  • Twitter is effective for public-facing bodies;
  • and Snapchat is a commitment that – when done well – can have excellent results, especially for a business where the owner is the brand, such as a makeup artist or personal trainer. 

If you are on social media, ensure there are links from your website to your social accounts.

  • Regular Content

Whether it’s a news section, blog, free downloads, top tips, or regular video updates, your website should have at least one area where you can add fresh, new and up-to-date content. Optimise this by having an email sign-up box so individuals can subscribe to an email newsletter to be notified of new content. This not only helps to keep your audience engaged, but when done strategically and with purpose, helps you to build on that all-important SEO.

  • Secure Hosting 

Ensure your hosting company is trustworthy and reliable, especially if you take online payments, or have any areas where customers can enter personal details and information that is stored on the server. Ensure you also have an SSL certificate. While this is most important for websites that take payments or personal details, they’re not expensive and it’s more search engine friendly to have one.

  • Mobile Friendly

A few years ago, the notion of ‘responsive’ websites became really popular. Meaning your website was built to be user-friendly on a standard size desktop or laptop screen, but that it was equally as user-friendly when it was shrunk down for use on a tablet or mobile. 

Today, many websites are built with mobile and tablet in mind first, with some companies even developing two separate websites – one that automatically loads when users are on larger screens, and one that is specifically built for mobile and looks a little more like an app. Whatever route you take, make sure your website looks good and is easy to use across all platforms.  

  • Privacy Notice

A Privacy Notice or Privacy Policy is a must for all websites. It lets users know what personal information you collect (if any), what you do with that information, how long you hold it for, and who an individual can contact to have their personal information amended, deleted, or destroyed. 

You might not think you are collecting or using any personal information, but it’s highly likely that you are. You must adhere to your Privacy Notice and have it linked to on your website. 

  • Cookie Notification

You know those annoying pop-ups that ask you to enable cookies or give consent for different cookies every time you go to a website for the first time? You need one of those. Make sure you know what type of cookies your website is collecting, and ask users to accept or deny their use. 

  • Call To Action

What is the purpose of your website? Do you want to generate online sales? Have a brochure style website and want to generate enquiries? Whatever the purpose of your website is, you should have clear calls to action throughout that direct users to take the steps you want them to take next. 

Consider the use of buttons, website design, and links to make sure your calls to action are attention grabbing. 

  • Friendly Slugs

Not the garden variety. The pages on your website have an address also known as a URL. Your website may be, but each page on your website has a specific URL address, such as for the contact page, and for the about page. Anything that comes after the forward slash is referred to as the slug. Slugs should be neat and tidy, and should effectively explain the content of the webpage it refers to. This is important for SEO.

  • Quick Loading Speed

You want your website to load as quickly as possible, and ideally in 2 seconds or less. Slow site loading speeds are often associated with large image files or messy HTML and CSS code. When uploading images to your website, make sure they aren’t unnecessarily large and compress them where possible. 

  • Named Images

In addition to making sure your image files aren’t too large, ensure to correctly name images before uploading them to your website, and provide a suitable description of the image for the Alt tag. Alt tags are used in place of your image if for any reason it isn’t able to load, so users will still understand what the image is of. However, these are also very important for search engine optimisation as Alt tags provide context that help your website to rank higher. 

  • Terms and Conditions 

Your website is the perfect place to have an easy-to-access version of your business terms and conditions. This can include a wide range of T&Cs, but should also include the rules a website user must agree to in order to use your website.

  • Page Not Found

It’s a time consuming job, but checking to ensure that none of the links on your website are broken is a worthwhile activity. There are free resources online that will scour your website for you, so all you have to do is fix any broken links. However, it’s still a good idea to create a ‘page not found’ page, also called a 404 error page. You can customise this with a search bar, useful links, and other information to keep your visitor on your website, and help them find the information they were looking for.

  • Personality

People do business with people. Visitors to your website will want to know more about the business, the brand, and the people who work for the business. Don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your website through its design and content. Tell the story of your business, and share images and/or bios of the people who work there (with their permission!). 

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