The Ultimate End-of-Year Website Audit (with a Checklist!) - Digital Grace Design

The Ultimate End-of-Year Website Audit (with a Checklist!)

Business, SEO, Tips & Tricks, Website Design

How do you normally approach the start of a new year?

Some entrepreneurs like to set audacious goals and choose their new word for the year. Others find that the new year comes and goes as easily as any other day.

No matter where you land, the end of the year is the perfect time to review all facets of your business. Of course, this includes your website performance.

If you don’t make the time in your schedule to audit your website, trust me—it just won’t happen! I say this from experience, so take my advice and set aside an afternoon to complete this quick website audit.

Grab your favorite drink, open your website, and let’s get started!


8 steps to complete your end-of-year website audit

As you complete these steps, you’ll be able to further improve your website. It’s good to audit your website at the end of every year because you want to keep the content fresh.

Without a website audit, you may forget to update your website with important information or changes that could impact how you work with clients. To ensure this doesn’t happen, follow all of the steps below as you mentally check them off your list.


Check for any errors

When you revisit your website with fresh eyes, did you happen to spot a typo? Don’t worry! We’ve all been there. That’s why it’s good to do an audit of your website now.

You may not have caught an error the first time around, but now you can remedy it by making any necessary changes. You can check for errors on your landing pages, website pages, blog posts, and more.

Checking for errors can include:

  • Making sure your words are spelled correctly. (Pro tip: use Grammarly!)
  • Clicking your outbound and inbound links to ensure they aren’t broken.
  • Testing your 404 page to make sure it is working properly.


Once you’ve successfully replaced any previous errors, you can move on to the next step.


Update your services and packages

Many entrepreneurs use the new year as an opportunity to make changes to their services. As you plan your goals for next year, think about how this could alter your current offerings.

Are you adding new services to what you already offer? Do you need to eliminate any packages you currently have that don’t suit your clients’ needs anymore? Is there a crucial edit you need to make in order for your services to be relevant next year?

All of these questions can help you make the right updates to your services. As you audit your website, these updates could impact the copy on your Home page and Services page. Before you move on to the next step, ensure you’ve edited these pages and included the right information.

Also, if you’ve changed any of the deliverables inside your packages, this should be reflected in your website. For example, if you are adding one week of Voxer support to replace your need for live calls, you’ll want to clearly define this change.

When your services are updated, it’s time to look at your pricing. 


Change your pricing as needed

If you don’t have any upcoming changes in the pricing of your offers, then you can skip this step. However, I highly recommend using the new year as an opportunity to raise your prices.

Otherwise, you may forget to raise them over the course of your business and limit your earning potential. It’s better to gradually increase your prices over time than to make a huge leap that clients aren’t prepared for.

There’s an age-old debate about whether or not to put your pricing on your website. I’m on the side of being transparent so you can generate more quality leads, but it’s completely up to you.

If you frequently work with clients on custom projects, feel free to include a “starting at” investment or budget range to let website visitors know what to expect. Otherwise, you can simply state your price and give a list of deliverables in each package.


Add recent projects to your online portfolio

Speaking of projects, you’ve probably worked on several inspiring projects within the last year. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your portfolio with new work, now is the perfect time to do so!

If I have one recommendation, it’s to never ignore your portfolio. When visitors are considering hiring you for a project, they’ll likely look at your past work to see if you’re a good fit for them. That’s why it’s important to keep your portfolio updated with recent projects.

Your portfolio only needs to show your best work. I’m all for curating your online portfolio, making sure your website highlights the work you love most instead of showing every single project.

Ultimately, I have 15 website design projects in my portfolio right now. However, if you’re new to business, I recommend shooting for five to seven really stand-out examples of your work.

Choosing which projects to highlight often comes down to personal references or a number of factors. This can include projects where the client received great results, gave a glowing review, or saw a high ROI from your work.

Completing this step may take more time than others, depending on how you want to structure your portfolio. Some service providers simply show a collection of imagery to show their past work, while others write in-depth case studies.


Include any recent testimonials

Instead of asking you to add new testimonials to your website, it might be better to ask when was the last time you asked for client reviews?. If you’re like most business owners, you probably can’t remember.

When I design Showit websites for clients, I like to start our projects by encouraging them to reach out to past customers so we have fresh testimonials for their new site. While it’s best to include this as part of your offboarding process, it’s okay to ask for testimonials at any time.

Once you receive these testimonials, it’s important to choose the best ones for your site. Review your current testimonials and see if the new ones you received are stronger. If so, take this time to replace them.

Including testimonials is a sign of social proof. Since the average customer reads at least 10 reviews before making a purchase, it’s important to include multiple testimonials throughout your site. It’s mostly important to have reviews on your Services page, but you can include them in your Home, About, and landing pages, too.


Add new team members to your site

Have you recently added new members to your growing team? If you’re no longer a one-woman show (or a one-man band), it’s time to update your team bios and photos.

Research shows that including photographs immediately boosts trust, so it’s a great idea to include team headshots on your site. They can be as professional or casual as you’d like, depending on your brand personality.

It might also be worth adding the team member’s name, direct contact information, and title to your About page so visitors know exactly who to contact if they have questions. Adding team members to your site is a relatively easy update to make to your website, so let’s check this off your list.

 

Review your website analytics

The first step is to make sure Google Analytics is uploaded to your website and running. If you aren’t sure how to set up Google Analytics, here’s a video tutorial from Showit. This is something I walkthrough when I’m working with clients on their site, but it’s relatively easy for you to accomplish on your own.

By looking at your website analytics, you’ll find:

  • How many people are visiting your website
  • How many visitors are new vs. returning
  • How well your website pages are converting
  • Where your audience is located
  • …and so much more!


You can also
set goals on Google Analytics so you can track how well your website is performing and how likely it is to help you accomplish each goal. This is something you may want to consider doing next year, but for now, feel free to review your analytics to see if there were any big changes to your audience.


Use heatmaps to improve your site

Instead of wondering if your website is performing well, why not track an actual visitor’s journey on your website? Then, you can improve your website, leading to better interactions with your digital audience.

Website heatmaps will help you stretch beyond assumptions and connect you with real data from your website visitors. As you track each visitor’s behavior, you’ll be able to notice trends and make any necessary adjustments.

If you want to go above and beyond with your website audit, think about using a tool like Hotjar to complete this step. It’s my absolute favorite tool for understanding how users experience your website.


Your end-of-year website audit checklist

Ready to go into the new year with the peace of mind that only comes with having an optimized website? To ensure you’re prepared for the new year, let’s make sure your website is primed to help you reach any goal—big or small.


When auditing your website, make sure you:

  • Check for any errors
  • Update your services and packages
  • Change your pricing as needed
  • Add recent projects to your portfolio
  • Include any recent testimonials
  • Add new team members to your site 
  • Review your website analytics
  • Use heatmaps to improve your site


Once you’re finished, you’ll be ready to welcome the new year!

The Ultimate End-of-Year Website Audit (with a Checklist!)

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