At Domain.com, much like our name would suggest, domains are our bread-and-butter. What you may not realize is that we’re also experts in websites and branding. That said, we understand what it takes not just to get started, but to build, flourish, and succeed in establishing yourself online.
A large part of that success consists in understanding the performance of your cumulative digital efforts. You have to take stock of everything you’ve done, and beyond that, your total digital presence.
You may think that means reviewing the actions and things you directly control online, like your website, your social media profiles, and your on-page SEO. And you’d be correct… to an extent.
Don’t forget that you can’t control the entirety of the conversation around your business on the Internet. If you want to audit your total online presence, look to the areas you can’t directly manage, too.
We’re going to discuss the various parts of a total online audit in this post, and we’ll point you in the direction of some tools that can help you accomplish the task. A comprehensive audit takes time, but is vital to your business’ online success, so if you can’t dedicate any time to an audit, consider hiring an expert who can help.
Performing a complete online audit of your web presence.
You should go into your audit with a plan, and you should be able to put one together using this guide. So let’s get to it.
We’ll be learning a lot about performing a web presence audit today, like:
- The issues it can help you uncover and solve.
- The items and areas to be reviewed in your audit.
- The insights you’ll gain into your online presence [Office1] and business post-audit.
Why You Should Perform a Total Online Presence Audit.
There seems to be this recurring trope in Hollywood — the one about someone who’s born lucky, or has some magical event befall them, and then everything they do works out in their favor. Do you know the one?
Somehow, that mentality has gotten into entrepreneurship. We hate to break it to you, but that happens in the movies and only in the movies.
If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, blogger, or side-hustler, you’re going to have to make your own luck. And fair warning: It’s going to look a lot less like luck and a lot more like dedication and hard work. But the end result — success on your own merit, is so worth it.
The first step to success is understanding your business.
Do you know who your ideal customer is? Can you describe your marketing funnel(s)? Wondering why some competitors perform better than you do for certain keywords in SERPs? Or why certain pages of your site have high bounce rates?
These are all questions you need to know the answers to, and your audit will help you gain these crucial insights.
Tracking your audit findings.
Before getting started, make sure you have a way to track and record your audit and your findings.
If you use a cloud-based solution for record-keeping, then you can quickly and easily share your findings with anyone who needs to access them.
Depending on your preference, we offer and recommend both GSuite, which comes with all the Google tools you know and love, like Gmail, Sheets, and Docs, and Office 365, that offers all the familiarity of Outlook, Excel, and Word plus a host of other features.
Parts of a complete online presence audit.
Now that you have your tracking tools at hand it’s time to plan your audit. It will consist of reviewing the following areas:
- SEO analysis, both on and off-page
- Marketing and digital campaigns
- Social media platforms and profiles
- Local directories
- Review sites
- Google My Business Listing
As we move through each section we’ll tell you what to look for and provide you with a set of questions to guide you. Feel free to add your own as you go.
How to audit your website.
Your website is your home base online. It’s where you drive customers and generate business, so you need to treat it well.
We really like that John Jantsch, of Duct Tape Marketing, recommends starting website audits with your homepage. He writes that, “If you find issues on your homepage, odds are you’ll find issues throughout the rest of your website as well.”
When you review your site, you’ll discovers answers to things like:
- What actions are your site visitors taking?
- Where are people clicking on your homepage?
- What landing pages receive the most traffic?
- How long are people staying on site?
And all of these insights can be used to further refine your site and improve your marketing funnel.
A website audit, in and of itself, is a large but fruitful task, so don’t hesitate to ask for help from a professional if you need it. We wrote an entire guide dedicated to auditing your website, and it includes tips and the tools you’ll need to accomplish it. Check it out here. This guide also includes the instructions for performing your on-page SEO reviews. In the next section, we’ll cover how to review your off-page SEO, or SEO factors that aren’t on your website.
How to audit your off-page SEO.
If you haven’t heard of SEO yet, let us explain. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Don’t let the name fool you though, when performing SEO tasks you won’t be directly affecting any search engines. Instead, you’ll be optimizing different factors on your site so that they rank higher in search engine result pages, or SERPs.
Along with those website SEO factors, referred to as on-page SEO, there’s also off-page SEO.
Off-page SEO mainly consists of building back links to your site from other online sources. That could mean a variety of things, like linking back to your site from social media or other blogs and sites. In fact, backlinks can be bucketed into three general groups:
- Natural Links
- Links made to your site organically by others. Like if someone were to link off to your site in a blog post they write without you having to ask them to do it.
- Manually Built Links
- These are links that appear on 3rd party sites or platforms, but you’ve had a hand in getting them there. This could mean you’ve asked a customer or friend to share it, or maybe you hired an influencer to do a social media campaign that links back to your site.
- Self-created Links
- These are the bad boys of backlinks, and we recommend you use caution before plastering your site links all over the Internet. Search engines don’t look fondly on spammy links, so if you’ve inserted them where they don’t belong — like random blogs and websites that don’t relate to you in some meaningful way — you could be doing yourself a disservice. Only post your links where it’s appropriate and makes sense.
You can use Google Search Console, a free tool, to audit your links. Use Google’s instructions to start your free account and then you can download a list of all your backlinks. Then, if you can, remove any that fall into “spammy” territory.
How to audit your social media presence and accounts.
Your social media profiles comprise a good portion of your total online presence. Social media is a place to connect with and grow an audience, identify new business opportunities, and tell your story the way you want it told.
Auditing your social media can help you find new audiences, improve relationships with existing ones, direct people to your site to transact, and more.
You’re going to want to start your social media audit by tracking down all your social media profiles. In your Google Doc or Excel Spreadsheet, record the platform (like Instagram, Facebook, etc.) and the link to your profiles. Also include:
- Your social media username, or handle.
- What your goals are for the channel.
- How frequently you post to support those goals.
- Top performing content.
- Information on your audience or demographic.
Then, stop and reflect on the different social media platforms and channels. Are they supporting your goals as-is? What needs to be refined? Are there any you don’t need to be on?
Remember, it’s not about being everywhere, it’s about being where it counts, or where your audience is.
How to audit your marketing and digital campaigns.
Are you running any marketing or digital campaigns?
Those should be part of your complete web presence audit, too. As you compile your different campaigns, make sure you’re clear on their goals. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals for each of your campaigns.
Once you know the goals of your campaigns, you’ll want to review their looks to make sure they’re on-brand. Is your type consistent? Are your logos the same?
Check out this thorough guide from FlypChart to help you analyze the headlines and copy of your campaigns to make sure everything is support of your goals.
How to audit your online reviews.
When it comes to online reviews, there’s not much that can be done to change any that exist, but it’s a good idea to audit them anyway.
Auditing your online reviews, on sites like Yelp or Facebook, can help you keep your finger on the pulse of what people are saying regarding your business.
Lots of positive feedback? You must be doing something right.
Too much negative feedback? Use the critiques and criticism you see to improve your business and after doing so, encourage people to leave new, positive reviews if they’d had a good experience.
No reviews at all? That doesn’t mean people don’t like your business, but it may mean that you’re not exactly memorable enough. You can work to implement a word-of-mouth-marketing strategy that can help increase what people say about you — online and off.
How to audit your Google My Business Listing.
Have you set up a Google My Business Listing (GMBL) for your business?
If not, you’re missing out. Google is by far the most popular search engine, so it’s good to have a GMBL. These listings have all of your important business information like your hours of operation, contact information, and website links, along with the ability for customers to leave reviews on your listing.
We recommend using Google’s guide to setting it up, or making sure yours it set up correctly, as part of your audit.
Audit your complete web presence to understand what your customers are saying, how you portray yourself online, and better your business.
Total online audits have a lot of parts to them, it’s true. We don’t expect that you’ll be able to complete your audit in one day, and that’s ok.
Break your audit down into manageable chunks and record your findings and results as you go so that you don’t forget where you left off.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact an expert.