By Kahl Orr, the founder of Rise, a digital marketing agency that builds high-performing websites for some of the fastest-growing brands.
The foundation of your business and its digital presence is, without a doubt, a well-designed and high-performing website — what we’ll call a “healthy” website. However, if you are a business owner wearing many hats, it can be easy to let other priorities overshadow your website and review analytics on a regular basis, especially if this isn’t your area of expertise.
With consumers savvier than ever, when it comes to researching products and services online, if your website can’t be easily found for common keyword searches, you’re leaving new customers and money on the table. Once consumers find you, if you can’t entice them to stay on your site, engage with your content and drive them to request more information, then you’re also leaving money on the table. The bottom line: If you aren’t prioritizing the health or performance of your website as much as the health of your business, then you’re in for a rude awakening — maybe not now, but eventually.
What is website health?
In many cases, your website is the first interaction people have with your brand. Much like you would visit your doctor and receive a check-up, your website also needs a check-up. Monitoring your website health means checking in on your website to ensure everything is working as intended. It allows you to flag anything of concern and make improvements before it becomes a severe problem. Poor website health can lead to a loss in traffic and customers. Therefore, a healthy website should be the foundation for your business and marketing strategy.
To ensure your website continues to perform optimally, follow these seven guidelines:
1. Opt for ongoing maintenance and regularly complete website software updates.
2. Use a heatmap like Hotjar or Mouseflow to understand how users navigate through your site. Use these insights to update content, CTAs or site architecture to ensure your website delivers an exceptional user experience that converts well.
3. Keep it free of broken links or pixelated images.
4. Regularly update your blog, using keyword-focused, high-quality content to boost SEO and drive traffic.
5. Set clear, measurable goals that correlate with your business goals for all pages. Goals can determine where you’re succeeding, falling short or have an opportunity for further optimization.
6. Optimize each page and global site architecture for speed and performance, avoiding large images, excessive redirects and unused CSS or scripts.
7. Keep your website’s security top of mind, utilizing an SSL certificate, form validation and sanitation to prevent malware attacks.
Your website quickly becomes slow, unresponsive, vulnerable and possibly more expensive to manage without ongoing maintenance.
Check for website health red flags.
Issues with your website can impact your business more than you realize. These issues present themselves as warnings or red flags, but you need to know what you’re looking for. Key metrics defined by Google called Core Web Vitals can signal whether your website health is compromised.
While these metrics are constantly evolving, Google ranks websites higher when they optimize for user experience, mainly focusing on loading, interactivity and visual stability. It’s essential to look at metrics like page speed or the time it takes to display content on a page fully. If you rarely update your website content, have a poor keyword strategy or have security issues, you could be missing out on more customers than you think.
Perform regular website health check-ins.
Now that you know what to look for, you should be performing regular check-ins to assess the health of your website. For an initial website health check, consider seeking out an experienced digital marketing agency. They can offer expert analysis and recommendations to improve your website’s health. An agency can identify existing and potential site performance issues and security concerns and provide a more detailed analysis of load speeds, page optimization, responsiveness and navigation. After a thorough review of your website and code, an agency can provide a road map of actions or steps to take to achieve optimal website health.
After an initial audit is complete, continued monitoring can identify future issues around content, user experience, search engine optimization and conversion rate optimization. I recommend monitoring your website health at least once a quarter, especially if your website is crucial for generating leads. Monitoring your website can be done both by reviewing your website’s analytics and using various tools.
Google offers many free tools to perform regular website health check-ins, such as PageSpeed Insights, Mobile-Friendly Test and various reports found in Search Console. However, you may want to use a third-party site audit tool for a more comprehensive, high-level review of all metrics. Check with your digital marketing agency, as they may have a site audit tool that offers a comprehensive review of your website’s health.
Prioritize your website’s health today.
Monitoring your website’s performance may seem like another thing that takes time and money. However, an optimally performing website that is secure, easily found and provides an exceptional user experience can drive quality leads and generate new business at the fraction of the cost of a marketing or advertising campaign.