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Website Evaluation Checklist: 11 Steps To Conduct A Succesful Website Audit in 2024

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

Join me at the forefront of web design and digital marketing innovation. I am obsessed with web design, business philosophy and marketing performance.
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If your website is not performing as well as it could, that means it’s time to make improvements. But where should you start? How do you recognize which areas are troublesome and need refinement?

By working in the dark, you will never get optimal and fast results. What’s worse, making improvements blindly can enhance the problem.

A website evaluation checklist is a tool used by website owners, web developers, and designers to test crucial aspects that impact a website’s performance.

At my Los Angeles web design agency, I have conducted over 100 website evaluations. They are an incredibly insightful and priceless website improvement tool. But for them to work, you must know what to test. In this article, I will give you the 11 points every good website evaluation checklist must have. Use them wisely to identify and target weak areas to enhance your website performance.

Table of Contents:
Website evaluation checklist

1. Is Your Website Aesthetically Pleasing?

A website’s visual appeal goes beyond aesthetic purposes. Your website design plays a fundamental role in catching web visitors’ eyes, engaging them with your content, and making your site appear more credible. Your web design color palette, typography, images, and other design elements showcase your brand identity and help you convey your message and values.

This website design checklist involves carefully examining each element of your web design. Check colors, fonts, website layout, animations, and imagery. Do they communicate your brand’s personality? Are they consistent across the entire site? If not, what changes can you make for your desing to stay true to your business identity and provide a seamless navigation experience?

Pay attention to visual noise; are there any unnecessary elements that distract users’ attention from the most important information? You want to stand out for your unique design while keeping things clean.

2. Asses User Experience

Providing an enjoyable user experience (UX) can make the difference between a poor-performing website and an outstanding website that turns users into loyal customers.

When it comes to assessing a website’s user experience, there is a lot of ground to cover. I wrote a guideline on user requirements for a website design that you may find helpful for testing and improving your site’s UX.

The main purpose of this point is to find out how successfully users are fulfilling their needs on your website. For that, you must emphasize with your target audience and understand their unique needs and goals when they visit your site.

Are visitors easily finding the information they are looking for? Is the browsing navigation seamless and intuitive? How easy is it for users to complete their desired action?

Conducting user interviews can help you answer those questions; you can set up an on-page survey on your website. You can also use a session recording tool to learn how individuals behave on your site. Use the data to understand why users leave your site promptly and make the necessary improvements to eliminate barriers and encourage users to stay on your page and take action.

Analyzing broken links as part of a website evaluation checklist

Broken links on your website can make you look unprofessional and harm your SEO efforts. Google and other search engines can’t crawl broken pages and may qualify your site as unoptimized or unfinished, which will damage your SEO rankings.

If you have a small site, you can check all your pages for errors or broken links. However, if the website has hundreds of pages, manually looking for broken links becomes an impossible task. Luckily, there are several tools that can do the heavy work for you.

Two good tools are Google Search Console and Semrush’s Site Audit Tool. Use them to crawl your site, identify broken links, and fix them as soon as possible so they don’t impact your SEO rankings.

4. Is Your Website Content Valuable And Updated?

Creating valuable content is one of the most efficient ways to attract users to your website and turn them into clients. The quality of your website content affects your traffic, bounce rate, and site effectiveness to encourage visitors to acquire your products or services.

Your content, regardless if it is blog posts, infographics, or videos, should be engaging and valuable for your target audience.

Most businesses stand by the rule “set it and forget it,” which is the exact opposite you should do regarding your site content. Besides high quality, you want to update your content regularly to ensure it stays accurate and relevant.

Go over your content periodically to ensure it remains informative and up-to-date. Identify content that needs an update, re-optimize posts with relevant keywords, and update dates, images, and links.

5. Confirm Mobile Compatibility

In recent years, working towards a responsive design become a must for all businesses. It’s essential your website works well on both mobile devices and desktop computers. Why? Besides the extensive use of smartphones, Google shared 3 reasons why mobile optimization is important:

  • Mobile-friendly websites show up higher on search engine result pages.
  • Mobile searches make up for over 50% of Google inquiries.
  • Visitors are 5 times more likely to abandon non-mobile-friendly sites.

If your web design is not compatible with mobile devices and smaller screens yet, that is definitely something to work on.

Tools, such as Website Grader or Google Mobile Friendliness Test, assess your website’s mobile compatibility and mark areas for improvement. For example, a tap button may not be optimized correctly for small touch screens, or documents may have font sizes too small for smartphones.

6. Conduct an SEO Audit

Even if you have a solid SEO strategy, you should periodically assess it to ensure everything stays in check and search engines keep approving your website.

Since SEO is a vast discipline, there are several areas you must test. These are the 3 most important analyses you’ll want to run:

Check Your On-site SEO

For this step, you can focus on the most relevant pages of your website, such as blog posts that target keywords important to your business or pages that would boost your sales if they attract more traffic. Make sure each page is correctly optimized with:

  • Target keywords.
  • Title tags.
  • Meta descriptions.
  • Heading hierarchy.
  • Internal and external links.

Check Technical SEO

Your website backend also plays a key role in your SEO efforts. Some technical elements I advise you to check include:

  • Your XML sitemap.
  • Your Robots.txt files.
  • URL structure.
  • Your site’s security.

Conduct A Backlinks Analysis

Backlinks – links from other websites to your site pages – are still a significant factor in search visibility.

Your website benefits from high-quality, authoritative websites linking to it. Think of it as a recommendation or trustworthiness vote. Conversely, too many backlinks from low-quality, spammy sites can hurt your SEO.

Use a backlink analysis tool, such as Senrush or Ahrefs, enter your website domain, and check your backlink status. If you don’t have any links, it’s time to start building a backlink campaign. In case you do have links, check that list for any low-quality or spammy ones. If you find too many, you must disavow those links using Google Search Console.

7. Test ADA Compliance And Website Accessibility

Next up on this website evaluation checklist is accessibility. If you want your website to be an enjoyable experience for all users, you must make it accessible and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That will not only ensure every visitor can smoothly navigate your site, but it will also protect you from lawsuits.

Does the ADA include business websites? Yes, it applies to electronics and technology, including websites. So, if you haven’t before, it’s time to check your website’s compliance with ADA. Where should you start? You have a few options for testing your site’s accessibility, including:

  • Use Tools: You can use accessibility checker tools like RAMP, WAVE, or Lighthouse. They will assess your website’s font size, contrast colors, image alt text, video captions, and more.
  • Conduct A Manual Audit: You can also check your pages manually using an ADA website compliance checklist. Find areas of improvement and work toward making them more accessible for your users.
  • Hire A Professional: You can request an accessibility assessment from an ADA compliance professional. They will analyze your website and give you an action plan to make it more accessible.

8. Measure Your Page Speed

Measuring page speed

Page load times are a crucial aspect of your website’s overall performance. Users are not fans of waiting long for a site to load; the average waiting time is between 4 and 6 seconds. If your website takes longer than that, visitors are likely to hit the back button. Google considers website speed a core ranking factor. Therefore, you can not afford slow load times.

To learn about your site performance, you must measure different speed metrics, including:

  • Load time
  • Time to first byte (TTFB)
  • First contentful paint (FCP)
  • Largest contentful paint (LCP)
  • Interaction to next paint (INP)
  • Cumulative layout shift (CLS)

The last three metrics are part of Google’s core web vitals; I advise you to pay special attention to them and, in case of poor scores, address them promptly.

These are 3 of the most popular and complete tools to test your website speed:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights
  • WebPage Test
  • GTMetrix

The best about these tools is that besides shedding light on problematic areas, they will also suggest actionable solutions. Improvements can range from optimizing image size or self-hosting fonts to switching to better hosting.

9. Are Your Call-To-Actions Enticing Enough?

When was the last time you checked your Call-to-Action buttons? Well-designed CTAs have the power to drive conversions effectively and are a key point in any conversion rate optimization checklist.

It’s only when a user clicks on a CTA button that they are directed to a landing page where you can turn them into leads. Your CTAs must be enticing enough for visitors to want to click them; they also must be placed strategically among your web design.

How successful are your call-to actions? These are 3 ways to measure their effectiveness:

  • Click-through Rate.
  • Clicks To Submission.
  • Views To Submission.

Measuring the performance of your CATs, combined with A/B testing different versions of them, will help you increase response rates and generate more leads.

10. Analyze the Competition

Analyzing the competition as part of a website evaluation checklist

Besides evaluating your website performance, you can also check how your competitors are doing. Comparing your website with the competition will shed light on industry standards, trends, and best practices. You can use them to improve your site and stay ahead of the game.

Again, you don’t need to manually peek at your competitors’ sites one by one; there are several tools that get the job done.

An example of this practice is checking the competition to identify content gaps. Using Semrush, enter any domain into the Organic Research tool, and you will get a list of their top organic keyword and how much traffic they are getting from them. After inspecting some websites, you’ll identify essential keywords your website is not targeting.

11. Arrange Regular Website Health Monitoring and Alerts

You’ve reached the final point of this website evaluation checklist article. Now, you will ensure that, after conducting each of the previous points, your website keeps running smoothly and avoids future performance issues. For that, you can use tools to step up periodical audits, which will scan your website and notify you of any troublesome areas.

You have plenty of tools to choose from; I recommend Semrush Site Audit, which performs weekly audits and sends email alerts with warnings and notifications.

Ready To Cross Tasks Off Your Website Evaluation Checklist?

Performing a website audit is the most efficient way to learn which areas need immediate refinement. At Alpha Efficiency, my web design agency, I’ve found that any website, big or small, always has room for improvement, and this is the best way to tackle it.

From better search engine rankings and increased traffic to a more enjoyable user experience for your web visitors, a website analysis has too many good benefits to miss out on it.

Conducting a full website evaluation checklist takes time. And even after you finish, prioritizing improvement can be challenging. If that’s where you are at right now, I encourage you to schedule a call with me. I can assess your website and give you an actionable plan to boost performance and increase business.

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