17.09.2018 at 18:23
Is it possible to do site audit by yourself?
Site owners are often interested, is it possible to do site audit yourself? Is it profitable to pay money for this to specialist? It is enough to type something like "services for site audit" into Google – and you will get an extensive list of resources that offer free or paid analysis of different site’s parameters online.
However, is it good to rely fully on such tools? Who can do a fast analysis of the site by himself, and for whom is it better to order a deep audit by professionals? Let's try to answer these questions.
As we already figured out in another article, there are different forms of audit, which differ by the depth of the analysis and the list of parameters that are checked. The choice one or another form is based on your goals and the type of site. On this basis, you can also decide how realistic and appropriate it is to do the audit by yourself.
Doing technical audit of the site by yourself
This type of audit is the most basic and, in some way, the most simple – if it is a question of finding mistakes, but not of fixing them. In the process of technical audit, it is possible and often necessary to use various tools to automate the process, especially if the site has a large number of pages. Such tools include, for example, Screaming Frog SEO Spider desktop software, as well as various online services: SiteReport, Serpstat, SERanking, etc.
Audit services can help you to identify the key technical issues on the site (duplicate content, low value pages, missing meta tags, 404 errors, extra redirects, etc.). Some of them will be easy to eliminate if you have basic skills of working with the site's CMS (for example, adding title and description tags), but others require certain knowledge, including HTML code and programming. By making incorrect changes in robots.txt and .htaccess files you can easily not improve the site's performance, but harm it.
In addition, online services do not always adequately distinguish critical and non-critical errors. For example, too long or too short meta description belongs to the second group (especially because of recent events, when Google continually changes the requirements for it), but the lack oftag is quite serious. In order to distinguish important mistakes from less significant ones, you need to some experience, because the checking services act on hard-wired algorithms, do not always understand the context and do not consider relationships with other factors.
Thus, you can do technical audit of the site by yourself if:
- you have a small informational site or blog, and you plan to develop and promote it by yourself, so you will need some knowledge in this field anyway;
- you already have some experience in the work of a webmaster or site promotion, so you understand what you should check and how to fix problems.
It is better to entrust technical audit to a specialist when:
- you are going to promote a commercial site, and technical problems can turn into problems with traffic and conversion for you;
- you need to audit a large site containing many pages of different types, and it's easy to miss important details;
- you do not plan to promote sites by yourself and to study the features of audit, so you want to save time and resources.
Self-made SEO audit
Deep SEO audit is a broader concept than technical audit. To do this type of audit you need to analyze semantics, backlinks profile, commercial factors. Collecting semantic core manually is not an easy task, especially in popular fields, so it's better to use automatic tools such as Key Collector, Semrush. There are also special resources for finding and analyzing backlinks – one of the most popular is Ahrefs. Most of these tools are paid, and if you are going to analyze only one site, then buying them will most likely be unprofitable.
That’s why a complete SEO audit of the site is in most cases more profitable to order from a specialist, both in terms of time and in finance. The exceptions are small and young sites, mostly in those cases where the owner wants to promote the site by himself and to study the basics of SEO for it.
You should also be prepared for the fact that the implementation of SEO audit recommendations may require writing or changing a large number of texts on the site. If you do not have the opportunity to do it yourself, then use the services of a copywriter.
Self-made usability audit
You can also make usability audit by yourself if necessary. Of course, if you don’t have experience in analyzing usability factors, this audit will not be as effective as professional, but it can still bring some benefits.
Try to browse the site putting yourself in the place of your potential client. Go through the typical "route" of the buyer or customer (if your site sells goods or services) and make a test order. During this process, note what was convenient, what you need to change, and whether there were any technical errors and malfunctions.
If you want to dig a little deeper, examine the list of Nielsen’s heuristic usability rules and check if your site matches each of them. Also, be sure to check if the site works correctly in all popular browsers: try to perform targeted actions (for example, ordering the goods) in each of them. If you do not have access to some device, you can use BrowserStack service to check the site's functionality.
Self-made usability testing can be sufficient for young resources that are just beginning to develop, and for non-commercial sites (news sites, blogs). For a store or service site that has been on the market for some time and wants to improve its performance it's better to order a professional usability audit.
How to start doing site audit more professionally?
If you are going to carry out an audit of your online projects by yourself, or you want to become a professional in this field, then you should start from the recommendations for webmasters from Google. This is the basis. Then study some articles about audit and related topics, read blogs of SEO and usability specialists, and try to practice. Over time, you will accumulate enough experience to conduct high-quality and detailed audit of websites!
Therefore, you can conduct the audit of the site yourself; however, it is not always profitable. In addition, some types of audit will be difficult to perform without the help of a specialist, or it will just not be effective enough. In particular, this refers to a comprehensive audit, including technical, SEO optimization, analysis of usability and marketing factors.
When deciding whether to conduct an audit by yourself or give it to a specialist, consider the following factors:
- the focus of your site – informational, blog or commercial;
- the age of your site – did you just recently put a resource into the web or it exists on the Internet for a long time;
- your goals and what you want from the audit – to identify the most basic problems or to conduct an in-depth analysis to maximize performance;
- your experience in working with sites in general and in auditing in particular;
- do you have the time and resources to conduct an audit – after all, despite it seems to be simple, this process is often very time-consuming and labor-intensive.