6 aspects to evaluate for annual website audit
By Colleen Malloy
Before the spring season really ramps up, your website might be due for a little spring tuneup of its own! While you likely update specials and banners and add new products to your site on a pretty regular basis (Hint, hint: If you aren’t, you’d better get in gear!), an annual website audit is key to a healthy digital marketing plan.
Not sure where to start? Let’s walk through this handy checklist of six aspects of your dealership’s online destination. Before you give this article a first pass, I want you to stop right now and add an appointment to your calendar to actually complete this checklist. Just adding one hour to your calendar now will increase the chances that you’ll ramp up the potential of your website presence to capture a larger share of this spring’s potential website traffic.
Got your appointment booked? Great, let’s dig into what you need to evaluate.
1. Is your website mobile friendly? A mobile-friendly website is an absolute must in today’s world. According to Google1, more searches take place on mobile devices — think smartphones and tablets — than desktop computers in the United States. Test your website from your own phone or tablet to make sure your links are easy to press, your text is easy to read, your page layout is optimized for the device it’s being viewed on, your pages load quickly, and your images are optimized for mobile viewing. This will help you make the most of the mobile traffic your website receives. Google has an easy test2 you can run to see how your website performs on mobile, which, if you haven’t taken it already, is an absolute must as part of your website audit.
2. Is it easy to use? Have you ever visited a website and gotten frustrated because it was hard to navigate or didn’t have the information you needed easily available? The experience users have on your site is extremely important to guiding them through your sales funnel. Make sure your navigation is clear and you’ve got highly visible buttons (calls to action!) for the main areas of your site. Avoid overloading your pages with content to keep things clean and easy to read. Finally, keep important details like your store’s phone number and address in the header or footer of each page. This way, users who want to get in touch, don’t have to dig through your site to find your contact information. If you want to get really techy, there are service providers that offer heatmapping software that actually shows you where people are clicking on your site. But before you get that granular, another great place to start is with your Google Analytics. While I could devote a whole article to analytics, a few key stats will give you a better understanding of how people are interacting with your site. Dig into pageviews, your bounce rate and conversions for a little intel on on-site behaviors and stay tuned for my “Metrics that Matter” article that’s coming up in a few months for more on Google Analytics.
3. Is your content optimized for search? Back in November 2015 OPE, we did a deep dive on search engine optimization (SEO), and as you learned (or can learn on the OPE digital edition archives at outdoorpowerequipment.com), SEO isn’t a one-and-done strategy. However, implementing some simple tactics can help your page rank higher in search results and drive more traffic to your site. Google’s spiders and bots crawl the code of your site to find content that helps the search engine determine where your page should rank in search results. By publishing quality content surrounding relevant keywords, building relevant links and driving traffic through an active reputation management and social media plan, Google sees that you’re a beneficial resource for users and will help your site land at the top of search results.
4. Is your branding present? When shoppers arrive at your website, you have less than 10 seconds to make your first impression. For your loyal in-store customers, it’s critical that you use consistent branding, including your logo and color schemes, to assure them that they’re in the right place. For new prospects, this is your first and perhaps only chance to impress — if your home page feels fresh out of 2001, chances are they’ll be visiting the competition.
5. Is your data complete and accurate? If a product isn’t listed on your website, shoppers are going to assume it doesn’t exist in your store. In addition, it’s critical that you provide ample details about each of your products and services, so shoppers can make an educated decision to either request more information, place the item in an online shopping cart, or confidently come to your store to buy.
6. Can customers easily contact you? Your site needs to have all the tools necessary to allow your customers to communicate with you:
- Address info: Make it easy for visitors to find you by adding your address information to the footer of every page, and offer an easy-to-click link for mobile shoppers to get driving directions.
- Phone number: Your phone number should be prominently displayed in the header of your website. It should feature “click-to-call” functionality, making it easy for mobile users to call you.
- Contact form: Forms need to be easily accessible on your site and included on every product and service page.
Your store’s online presence should be an accurate representation of your brick-and-mortar store. It should be just as easy for customers to find information and shop on your site as it would be if they visited your dealership. Ensuring your site can check off the items on this list is critical to not only informing the customers and prospects who hit your site, but getting more visitors there in the first place — one of the biggest challenges facing any digital marketer today!
Colleen Malloy is the director of marketing at ARI Network Services. Prior to joining ARI in November 2013, Malloy served as the editor of Motorcycle and Powersports News. She is dedicated to the mission of helping dealers improve their operations through the implementation of ever-evolving best practices paired with ARI’s suite of award-winning data-driven software tools and marketing services that help dealers “Sell More Stuff!” — online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”