As a business advisor, I am regularly asked for help in diagnosing performance issues, or technical roadblocks limiting a business owner being able to attract attention from new customers in search results, or affecting the website traffic, where visitors to the website leave without any interaction (this is a performance metric known as bounce rate).
Although the technical terms may seem overwhelming, the process is fairly straightforward. For anyone wanting to DIY a website performance audit. I have outlined the steps involved below.
The first step to take in conducting a website audit is what technologies are being used. The variety of software solutions used by a business to undertake their marketing is often termed ‘martech stack’ which stands for the set of marketing technologies used. Many business owners may not know what software or products are used, so the first place to look is to head to BuiltWith.
Visit www.builwith.com and type your domain name into the search box. Click the Lookup button and you’ll be presented with the results, listing the software and technologies used on your website, grouped by category. Bear in mind, if you have made recent changes to the software or tools you use on your website, these may not yet appear (a review of this website showed technologies no longer in use).
To understand what each category is, take a look at my Jargon Busting Glossary of Technobabble
The main things I try to find out from doing this search is:
Content Management System
It’s important to know what Content Management System is running the website, making sure that you have access to the website, and with sufficient permissions on the user account to effectively manage the website performance.
For marketing to be successful, it’s important that it is measured, so it’s critical to ensure a web analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, is installed and correctly configured on your website
A name server holds records that match a domain name entered into a web browser to an IP address( a string of numbers in four parts, separated by full stops). These records map website traffic to the right destination, in order to return information (website content, emails, multimedia etc) to the destination (the web browser used by your website visitor).
Website hosting is a service that provides a secure and permanent home for a website on the internet. This service is provided by a web hosting company, which rents server space to customers for use as a website. When a visitor types your domain name into a web browser, the domain name is translated into an IP address, the virtual location of the web server, and direct the traffic to this location. The web server would interpret the request to then point the website traffic to the folder location where the website files are stored.
How to use this information for doing a website audit
The four elements listed above – content management system, analytics, name server and web hosting – should be noted down, ensuring that you have access to the accounts you may need to resolve some of the issues. If you use an external party to support your website, then you can use the gathered information in a support request at the end of completing the website audit.
With this information documented, it’s time to check your website performance.