The websites you build are stunning, but as they age, the sites won’t keep up with new technology. That’s how this business works. Everything changes quickly. And if you manage any number of websites, there are always going to be things that slip through the cracks. This is life as a web designer.
The good news is that websites are not static, and we have the ability to update them with our skills and knowledge. Even so, something will go wrong. For instance, maybe the site saw a falloff in site visits or a problem developed with the last software update. These issues can make it challenging to bring the site up to modern times, and it can be stressful work for you.
However, you can avoid some of these problems by conducting annual website audits. The audits help find and identify potential problems and fix them before they become major issues.
So, in this article, we’ll take a look at some tips for auditing your clients’ websites and what you can learn through this process.
Create a Website Maintenance Checklist
Each of these elements is crucial to a website audit. To make website audits easier and more thorough, you can develop a website maintenance checklist.
Here are some things that can be included on a website maintenance checklist:
You’ve built and tested your websites for accessibility; however, you may still miss some issues as the site ages.
For instance, new content and features may no longer meet current standards. This is essential when clients are involved in website management, too. How can you make sure they’re staying up with best practices?
An audit must include some basic accessibility tests. You can use a combination of automated tools and manual inspection to find and fix any accessibility issues on a site.
- Basic Security Measures
Cybersecurity is essential with today’s websites. Each website, no matter its size, is a target for cybercriminals. Sites that are built with CMS are at more risk than others. So, it’s essential to ensure security measures are in order and being used.
Start by checking for “low hanging fruit.” This may be the use of secure passwords and server file permissions. Making these areas secure can prevent some unsophisticated attacks on a particular site.
In addition, check for signs of malware infections. They aren’t always easy to find and can lie dormant for a long time before becoming active. You can track file changes on the server and run security scans that catch these pests early.
- Outdated & Abandoned Software
The use of third-party themes and plugins can make your work easier. However, they also require a watchful eye. These products must be updated regularly to ensure they meet current standards and security measures.
When software hasn’t been updated in quite a while, it can create problems. For one thing, if the software has unpatched security vulnerabilities, the website may be vulnerable to cyberattacks. The software may also no longer be compatible with newer versions of PHP and other software.
Conducting searches can save you from encountering problems later. So, identify whether the software is still in use and whether it’s still supported and developed. In that way, you can tell whether it’s OK to keep using the software or it’s time to find a better alternative.
- Content & Structure
Audits are usually more about functionality; however, you can also use the audit to take a look at the website’s content.
What should you look for? You can start by making sure the content is still accurate and relevant. In addition, checking that pricing, contact information, and service/product listings are accurate is essential. If you find an issue with the content, take time to make any changes at the time. That way, visitors will find the most accurate information, and they’ll have a better experience with the site.
It’s also a great time to make sure that the site’s content is structured correctly. The key is to ensure site visitors can find what they want quickly and easily.
An Opportunity for Revenue
Annual website audits are a great way to make sure your sites are current, and there are no issues. But one thing you may not have considered is that website audits can also increase your income. And clients will appreciate the annual audits and rest assured that their sites are running smoothly.
You may consider offering yearly maintenance packages and sell the audits as an add-on or include them when building a website. You can experiment with the price and find what works best for your business. But remember to consider your clients’ budgets.
Clients that aren’t too interested in managing any part of their sites may be interested in annual audits. They may not ask you to run the audit; however, you can do the audit and then charge for fixes. You still make money and your clients benefit from ensuring their sites are running smoothly.
Audits may also get clients thinking about changes they may want to make to the website. And the audits may be a great way to get those tasks done that have been put off by your clients. They may even prefer to spend money on updating the site rather than repairing problems with their current site.
There are many ways to make money with website audits!
Summing It Up
There are many benefits to conducting annual website audits for your clients. While they do take time and effort, audits may still be worth it if you can add another revenue stream.
What’s more, website audits can help you find problems and fix them before they become major issues. This will ensure your clients have peace of mind, too.
Once you’ve created a checklist for the audits, the process will be easier each time. In addition, you’ll build good practices in your business and strengthen relationships