For a lot of people, audit is a scary, intimidating word. In reality, conducting a business audit just means gaining a better understanding of your business’ money.
In fact, the definition of an audit according to Merriam-Webster is, “a formal examination of an organization’s or individual’s accounts or financial situation.” Regardless of the industry you’re in, or the years of experience your company has, an audit is essential to the fiscal success of your business.
In the same way you’d create a business plan to identify brand objectives and tactics, an audit helps you analyze key operations within your business that could contribute to accounting irregularities or even fraud.
For e-commerce businesses, this is especially important because everything is done online. While some auditing operations may prove mystifying, the e-commerce website audit checklist we will cover today will help you understand the steps you need to take to perform an effective audit so you can increase your conversion rate.
What should be in your e-commerce website audit checklist this year?
As an online business owner, there are certain tasks that need to be completed in order to set your company up for long-term success. Below we’ll go over some preparation work that needs to go on your e-commerce internal audit checklist.
An audit is virtually the same as reviewing website analytics, which is important because these metrics reveal trends and shifts in customer behavior. Especially with Google, analytics can reveal how long users spend browsing your website, the pages they visit, conversions, and how well your site is doing compared to competitors.
With analytics tools, you can also audit e-commerce transactions to gain better understanding of your best-performing products and why they perform so well.
All in all, your website’s analytics reveal crucial information every business leader needs to improve an e-commerce business. These reports are also done in real-time, so you always know the state of your site.
With any internet business, data is powerful. Market research is important because understanding your audience and how they interact with your business will help you understand how you can improve.
You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to uncover how many people are searching for specific items in your industry and what keywords they’re using to do it. Google Trends is another way to see what users are interested in based on geographic location. Use this information to correctly position your e-commerce business online. Alexandra Sheehan, writer for Shopify, says:
When you conduct market research, you’ll gain an understanding of the cultural, societal, socioeconomic, geographic, and personal makeup of your target customers. You’ll understand whether there’s a demand for your product, how big that demand is, and who is generating the demand. It’ll also help you understand the competitive landscape.
Essentially, market research will help you understand how you can better service your audience and increase your ROI.
User experience (UX)
For e-businesses, UX is essential for success. Think of UX as a digital variation of customer service. If you’re at a restaurant and the service is exceptional, you’re more likely to visit that establishment again.
However, if you dine and your server is rude, you probably wouldn’t want to experience that again. All of this is true of UX as well. In fact, more than 9 out of 10 users surveyed agreed with the statement, “good user experience just makes sense.”
In a study done by Forrester, a “well-designed user interface” was discovered to increase conversion rates by as much as 200%, and “better UX design” could increase conversion rates by 400%. User experience is at the top of this e-commerce launch checklist because it can determine customer retention.
For a better understanding, we’ve included the different aspects of UX your should audit should review:
Usability is at the center of UX—if a user can’t navigate or is confused by the order of your website, you could be discarding revenue. Some of the main factors that affect usability are design, navigation elements, and the organization of your website.
To address these types of issues, set aside design funding, as well as consultations with your web developers. With this additional time and budget, come up with a visually appealing design that also makes sense organizationally.
A user’s ability to access your content, whether via desktop or mobile, is crucial. This is especially true now, since average users spend more than 5 hours a day on their mobile devices.
Neil Patel, Co-Founder of Crazy Egg and Kissmetrics says, “[A] third of all online sales come from mobile devices. Mobile users convert.” This is why it’s imperative that your content is available for users on all devices. For your e-commerce website audit checklist, ensure your website is mobile friendly by employing web developers who understand responsive design for flexible layouts.
Issues with page speed or loading speed also affect your conversion rate because long loading times may deter users from visiting your website or coming back. In fact, if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 53% of users will exit the page.
Some of the main factors that affect page speed are images, videos, fonts, and server issues. To address these issues, sit down with your developers to see what can be done.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is important because how you rank on search engines can determine the amount of traffic your website receives, which can affect your conversion rate. In essence, SEO is about optimizing your content so your website shows up in relevant search queries on SERPs (search engine response pages).
Below we’ve listed elements that will need to be covered for your e-commerce SEO audit.
For many e-commerce businesses, digital, written content is just another way of saying, “blog posts.” Blogs are essential to any digital strategy because they’re important for raising brand awareness. As a matter of fact, 70% of consumers learn about a company through their blogs rather than ads.
To audit your blogs, consider your written content and how it aligns with your keyword strategy. Are your writers using the correct keywords throughout their content? Are they backlinking correctly? Go over best practices with your creative team for content so you can receive higher ROI on your investment.
It may not seem like a huge factor, but having relevant imagery to supplement your content is important for SEO. Post pictures and videos that coincide with your messaging to improve your SEO and visual search in e-commerce (make sure to also use proper alt tags).
This tactic will help users and website crawlers alike as they’re searching for content relevant to specific queries. One way to enhance your SEO strategy and generate more leads is through open graph tags on your pictures and images for cohesive branding.
Conducting an audit in an e-commerce environment may sound strange, but hopefully this post has helped you gain a better understanding of what an e-commerce audit program will look like for you. Let’s sum up the main points of this e-commerce website audit checklist so you can start checking those boxes sooner rather than later:
✔ E-commerce essentials
- E-commerce analytics
- Market research
✔ User Experience (UX)
- Page speed
✔ Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Written content
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to write them in the comments!
Author Bio: Therese Palmere is a content writer for Aumcore, a digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO and all things digital. She writes about everything, from e-commerce web development to emerging marketing trends.