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3 Website Audits to Add Value to Your Online Store in 2021

Home office desk setup with a laptop on a riser stand

Got an online store? 

You’re in luck – eCommerce sales are expected to surpass a whopping $4.8 trillion this year. 

But are you getting your piece of the cake, and eating it? 

While many eCommerce stores focus on top-notch digital marketing campaigns, many underestimate the power of thorough website audits and their impact on sales, conversions, and overall brand performance. 

Stay ahead of the game with these 3 website audits that add value and that special something to your online store. 

1. Site speed audit 

The hard truth is that if your store takes too long to load, visitors won’t stick around. 

In fact, Google recommends that you optimize your online store for both desktop and mobile – and ideally, your store should take less than 3 seconds to load. If it takes any longer than that, the probability of a bounce (a user leaving your website) increases by around 30%. 

And when users need to wait for a web page to load for over 6 seconds, the bounce rate is above 100%.  

So, it’s evident that in a world of constantly shortening attention spans, speed is everything. 

How fast or slow your online store loads is mainly down to the amount of bandwidth your hosting provider has allocated to your store. If your store has low bandwidth, it essentially means that your store could take ages to load when there’s a lot of traffic to your store. 

You should always opt for a provider that allows you to easily scale your hosting plan and other technical aspects of your online store. This way, potential customers won’t be met with a 404 error after a successful social media or email marketing campaign. 

There are a couple of other things that you can do yourself to improve your page speed: 

  • Compress all images and use the right image format. The bigger the image file, the longer it takes to load. Opt for the PNG format for quicker load times.  
  • Use lightweight, mobile-responsive web design. A lightweight website template has an efficient code structure and uses less HTML, CSS and JavaScript, resulting in better page speed. 
  • Get an SSL certificate. ​​An SSL certificate makes the browser verification process easier for your online store, meaning faster loading times.
  • Remove broken links. By optimizing your links you avoid the web browser wasting time trying to call a page with a link that’s faulty or broken.
  • Say no to iFrames. iFrames are notorious for slowing down websites, so try to not use them if you fancy a faster online store.  
  • Use cookies and caching. Cookies and cache are tools that help your store load faster since they help the web browser to remember where everything is on your page.
  • Be strategic with your content placement. By this, we mean avoid placing huge files above the fold (the space of the web page that loads up first). 

Use speed test tools to determine your store’s starting point. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are also great tools for identifying things like the average bounce rate and amount of broken links on your website. 

A person writing a journal with their laptop open on the table

2. Content audit 

Sometimes, eCommerce owners think of content as a necessary evil. But you’d be surprised if you knew how much the content in your online store can influence the performance of your business overall. 

For example, if you’re not paying attention to the headings of your product pages, or what you’re saying in your product descriptions, you might be unintentionally hurting your store’s search engine optimization (SEO for short). 

At its best, a solid content strategy will help you solidify your brand’s voice and key message, making it easier to appeal to your target audience. 

Through a content audit, you’ll be also able to identify content gaps that nobody else in your market is covering. 

  • Define your main goal. Do you want to increase your visibility within search engines? Or do you want to make it easier for users to use your products? Understanding your content’s main goal helps you focus on the right improvements. 
  • Understand what types of content you need. Creating content for search engines is a lot different than creating marketing material for TikTok. 
  • Understand what content you already have. Start by mapping out the different types of content that already exists in your online store – from product descriptions to shipping and privacy policy and order confirmation email templates.
  • Shift through your existing content. Is your existing content serving your main goal? Audit all existing content based on your main goal and the types of content that you need in order to reach it. 
  • Create new content based on the content gaps identified. After going through all content you already have, you might realize that you need more in-depth articles to rank better on search engines, or you need to educate your customers better on your shipping and returns policy. 

Once you have a clear overview of what you want to accomplish and what content you need to reach your goal, it’s time to set up a content plan with clear milestones. 

If you’re looking to establish a social media presence, it’s important to also remember to set up a content schedule – consistency pays off on most social networks. 

For anyone interested in building an SEO-focused content strategy, it pays off to use tools like Ahrefs for keyword research and overall SEO monitoring. Ideally, you want to make sure that you are using the right keywords on your landing pages and product pages, but having a blog won’t hurt your SEO efforts, either. 

In fact, blogging is a great way to share insights and behind-the-scenes information about your brand and product, as well as answer some of the most frequently asked questions about your product, brand, and the overall market. 

Website design wire frames written by hand

3. Design audit 

Humans are visual creatures – a picture does tell a thousand words. 

The same goes for your web design. If your store looks like it’s from the 90s, chances are that you’re not bringing home as much revenue as you could. 

The best website designs are consistent in their looks, use modern page elements, and are mobile-responsive, meaning that the website looks good, no matter the screen size or device type. 

With a website builder like Zyro, it’s easy to make sure your online store looks and feels modern, without sacrificing the user experience. 

Zyro template library gif

Thanks to the vast store template library, you can simply pick and choose the template that pleases the eye the most, customize it with your own products and content, and you’re ready to go. 

The intuitive drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to visually see how your store will look like to the visitors since everything in the editor reflects how your store looks when published. 

Zyro AI image enhancer mockup

With the various AI-powered design tools you can make sure that your product pictures look the part, even if you’re on a budget. You can upscale older, lower resolution images, remove the backgrounds from pictures and even create a modern and fresh logo for your brand – all free of charge.

As part of your design audit, you should also critically evaluate how well your web design is working towards your overall goal (whether that’s to generate more sales, leads, or conversions, or something else). 

Heat mapping tools help you understand user behavior better. They analyze and predict what page elements visitors will be most engaged with, and allow you to avoid the so-called dead zones on your pages that get glossed over by the users. 

By understanding where users are looking, you can position call to action sections more effectively, and prompt the visitors to continue down your desired marketing or sales funnel. 

Running A/B-tests of new changes to your web designs help you gather data on performance, and make informed decisions – after all, it could be that your target audience converts better when you use a certain color in your sales messaging, or a particular type of offer. 

Get your store ready for the festive season 

Thankfully, it’s not too late to dress your store up for the upcoming holiday season. 

Whether you decide to do one, two, or all three of the above website audits, all are guaranteed to help you succeed with your holiday sales. 

A faster-loading store means fewer people leave your page before they’ve even seen what your brand is all about. 

Quality content, on the other hand, not only makes your store easier to find through Google, but it also helps you build trust and precedence in your field. 

And a modern and mobile-responsive web design makes your store easier to navigate and streamlines the purchasing process once and for all. 

So, which audit will you start with? 

Written by

Author avatar

Matleena

Matleena is a seasoned eCommerce writer, with a particular interest in emerging digital marketing trends, dropshipping, and growth hacking. She’s addicted to coming up with new eCommerce business ideas and making them a reality; she deserves her nickname of ‘print on demand business mogul.' In her free time, she enjoys cups of good coffee, tends to her balcony garden, and studies Japanese.

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