How to Perform a Technical Audit of a Website
Surprisingly, a lot of people think of their website and their marketing campaigns as separate things. This thought process can be detrimental to a successful marketing strategy. We pay just as much attention to the technical soundness of a website as the frontend user experience, as they actually go hand in hand.
Written by Rebecca Roberts
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The Importance of a Technical Audit
A technical audit is one of the first things that we do for a new client at Bolt Goodly. This is a part of our Research, Audit, and Strategy phase that is very important to determine the baseline from which we are starting with a website. This, of course, may not apply if we’re building you a new website, however, we will still go through this checklist as we set up these items for you.
In a technical audit, what we’re looking for is if the groundwork is laid correctly in order for us to track the marketing campaigns that we’re going to be building for you. Some of the items that we’re going to be looking at are:
- Site hosting
- Google Analytics
- Facebook Pixel
- LinkedIn Tag Manager
- Google Tag Manager
- Any other tracking tool relevant to the website or business
Let’s go ahead and take a look at each of these individual items:
Site hosting & Server
We’re going to log in to wherever your site is hosted, whether that be Go Daddy or wp-engine, what have you, and ensure that you have the right hosting plan for the needs of your business. We’re looking at site speed for one, as well as if the server meets your needs as far as security, for example. If you’re going to be selling a lot of items on an e-commerce website or collecting a lot of information for marketing campaigns you want to ensure that you’re on a reputable host and server that can protect your clients’ information. That’s something to consider and it is probably worth investing in a really good hosting company to ensure the protection of your clients and their data.
Plugins are pretty specific to WordPress or Squarespace and other similar types of website building platforms, not necessarily custom sites, but it’s really important to look at the plugins to see what you’re using, why you’re using them, and if that’s going to be accurate moving forward. We see a lot of clients using free versions of plugins because, why not, they’re free! Unfortunately, what you find there is the developer may not update that version of the plug-in to match updates with WordPress or Divi, if you’re using Divi Builder, so you end up having errors more often and having to switch plugins, which is just a waste of everyone’s time.
So with plugins, we want customers using the best for what they need that will serve their website and their clients for the longevity of the business. We’re going to do an audit to make sure all the plugins you have are installed correctly and being updated effectively and if necessary, make recommendations for any adjustments in plugins.
Google Analytics, along with the majority of the Google Suite of products, should be set up on any and every piece of an omnichannel digital marketing campaign. Google is number one for a reason and we continue to use their services because of that. Google Analytics is where we’re going to track all activity on your website and you can get pretty detailed with this. We can look at traffic, conversions, when people are leaving your website, what page they’re leaving your website on, and we can do all of this by date, geography, and almost anything you can think of. If you haven’t played with Google Analytics, honestly you’re missing out, it’s kind of fun!
Another thing Google Analytics will help us measure is your Google AdWords campaigns. We’ll be able to see click-through rates, which AdWord campaigns are leading to conversions, later on, which AdWord campaigns are leading to bounces, etc. Just like your overall website information and data that you’re looking at, you can really dig and get a lot of pretty clear assumptions from the data that comes from Analytics while looking at your AdWord campaigns. This helps us as an agency to understand which of our work is working and which is not. This comes back to how we measure all of our work and show you clear data. We’re not guessing here – we’re making pretty smart hypotheses based on a lot of information that you give us then we A/B Test, like a science experiment, and we show you the results.
If you are running Facebook ads, Facebook Pixel is a must. How do we know if your Facebook ads are working, meaning are they converting? By placing a Facebook PIxel on a specific URL that we are aiming at through the Facebook Ad. We can then measure how many people are converting from that Facebook ad specifically. If you are running Facebook ads and you don’t have your Facebook pixel setup, then you are not effectively measuring these campaigns and what’s the point? Clicks are great, but not all click-throughs lead to conversions and this something we have to measure with Facebook Pixel.
LinkedIn Tag Manager
Just like Facebook, we need to set up some LinkedIn analytics on your website if you’re going to be doing any LinkedIn ads. This is very similar but it’s important to see which LinkedIn ads are working because they’re very different from Facebook ads, and usually from a very different target market. For example, we have a lot of professional services clients who do ads on LinkedIn and Facebook and they will get a totally different response from a completely different market on LinkedIn than from Facebook, even if it’s the exact same ad. So a lot can be measured here and it’s really important to see what your different audience responses are to ads on various social media sites.
Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is also very important to collect as much data as possible to measure your websites activity and your marketing campaign efforts. The Google Tag Manager is different from Google Analytics. They do work very well together but Google Tag Manager is a little more technical in that it involves code. So Google Tag Manager is a bit more complex if you don’t quite understand the backend technical aspects of the website, which is why you still need a developer and a team like us to implement it for you. This saves us some time, which saves everybody money, we know that, by automating a lot of things that you used to have to do manually. Some really great stuff you can do with Google Tag Manager is scroll tracking, monitoring form submissions, conducting surveys, generating heat maps, remarketing, or tracking how people arrive at your site.
Let’s Start Marketing!
Once your technical audit is complete, we will report that back to you along with the rest of your Research, Audit, and Strategy phase. The purpose of this phase is building a solid foundation of data tracking in all the ways that we possibly can so that we can ensure what we’re doing for you is successful.
Again this might include all of the items listed above as well as any additional items that you might have already been using or specialty plugins or different kind of tracking tools depending on the specific needs of your campaigns. Once we’ve got this foundation set and everything set up and ready to go, we’re ready to rock and roll and do some marketing!