While the technical nature of site coding will likely remain a mystery to most business owners, it is possible to acquire the knowledge and perspective needed to ensure your business site is healthy. You don’t need to be a doctor to take care of your health. But you do need a reliable “doctor” to run tests, diagnose issues and prescribe corrective measures. Then you need to follow the doctor’s instructions This holds true for managing the health and effectiveness of your website.
What makes a “Healthy” website
We understand concepts around human fitness and have measures to help us know if we are in a “healthy” range:
- Blood work to check on cholesterol levels, organ function and other factors
- Body mass index within appropriate range
- Range of motion without pain or discomfort
- Good Blood Pressure and Heart rate
- The list goes on
A healthy website also has numerous elements that can be tested and measured to ensure everything is working in its favor. Most site-checkups involve looking at more than 50 different factors including:
- There are no broken links. All pages, posts, images and resources are delivered when requested.
- Site elements load quickly and consistently no matter what type of device; desktop, tablet or mobile device.
- Every page has a title, description, and H1 heading that is unique and targeted toward an intended audience.There is clear information about the purpose of each page or post.
- Each page provides unique, rich content that contributes in a meaningful way to the experience of the reader. The content is focused and comprehensive.
- There are no security related issues including mixed content (HTTP and HTTPS elements on the same page/site)
What to expect from a website checkup
Think about your annual physical. You are not going because you are sick. You are going because you understand that in order to maintain optimal health a regular check-up is beneficial. It helps catch small things before they become big things. This holds true for websites too. If you want to know if your website is healthy, a check-up is in order.
The first step in assessing website health is to conduct a site audit using a tool that will crawl your site and identify issues. There are a number of free and paid audit tools that can highlight areas that can be improved in your site.
Two Types of Audits
Technical site audit – This type of audit will focus on the functioning of the site.
Full site audit – It includes a technical audit but expands beyond the site itself to look at the site in the context of the internet. It will also examine:
- links coming to the site (backlink profile)
- Pages indexed by search engines
- Traffic to specific pages from search engine
- Words and phrases where the site shows prominant in the results(Keyword profile)
Information is great, but to make a difference, you need to act on the information. You or your site designer will need to make corrections to your site based on the issues identified. Prioritization of the issues is important. Broken links come before image alt tags. Title tags come before descriptions. You want to use your limited time to correct the most pressing issues.