Last Updated on June 20, 2022

If you’re taking over a website that you didn’t build, or it’s been a while since you’ve done a review of your own website, then it can be helpful to work through a checklist of things from time to time to make sure that the website is still working as it should and performing as a good marketing tool for your business. We do these kinds of website audits for clients fairly regularly but it’s something you can easily do yourself. We’ve put together this checklist of the most common issues that we come across when auditing clients’ sites.

Functionality – does the site work as it is supposed to?

  • Does all the functionality on the site work? Use all the bits of the site as a visitor would (book onto events, download materials, anything else you can do) and check that everything works as it should. Click on all the menu items and make sure they work as expected
  • Are there any broken links? Use a service like this one or go to Search Console and check the Coverage report, select ‘excluded’ and look for any 404 errors.
  • Do the forms work? Go through the pages on the site looking for forms. Complete and submit every form and see if the process works. Do you get a response? Do you know who in your organisation receives these? Are incoming forms actually being responded to?
  • Send an email to all the email addresses you can find on the site. Do you get a response? Note who receives these at the client site? Which email address are they going to? Is that email address being actively monitored?
  • Are these contact forms supposed to plumb into an email management at the client side? Does that work correctly?
  • Are there any pop ups on the site? When do they appear, do they dismiss correctly? Where does a completed enquiry go once someone has submitted it?

Information – is the site accurate and up to date?

  • Call the telephone number that’s listed on the site. Is it the right telephone number?
  • If there are social media links on the site click on them and see what they do. Do they go through to the correct social media profile?
  • Check that the contact details as listed on the social media profiles match those as listed on the website.
  • Check the address, company registration number, VAT number and so on – are they all correct?
  • Is the same logo being used across the website and the social media profiles?
  • Do you have a favicon set to appear in the browser tab rather than the generic WordPress logo (or similar)?
  • Read the content on the pages of the site. Is it still correct? Up to date and relevant? Look at the ‘about us’ or ‘meet the team’ pages – do all these people still work for you? Does anyone need to be added?
  • Look at the product listings – are these accurate? Any products that are missing and need to be added or that aren’t relevant anymore and need to be removed?
  • If you have customer logos on your site are these up to date? Are there any that need to be added or removed?

Compliance – is the site compliant with GDPR and cookie legislation?

  • Is there a GDPR consent box and a link to the privacy policy included as part of any contact form?
  • Read the privacy policy and check that the details in it are correct. If you are running Google Analytics or have any tracking tags on the site such as a Facebook Pixel then you need to mention these in the privacy policy.
  • Look at the site in an incognito browser window and check that you are asked if you’re happy to consent to cookies before proceeding onto the site.
  • Open developer console in an incognito browser window. Look at what cookies are created before the cookie consent is granted. Are cookies blocked before they are accepted or being created even though people have not consented?
  • If the cookie bar has a link it in, click on that and see where it takes you. Read the cookie policy and check that it’s correct.
  • Are people’s details being stored in the backend of the site, for example when they submit contact forms? Do they need to be stored there or could they be deleted?

SEO – does the site work well from Google’s point of view?

  • Run a page speed check on the home page and see if Google identifies any issues with speed either on mobile or on desktop.
  • Run a mobile friendliness test on the site and see if Google identifies any issues with mobile friendliness.
  • Have you configured tailored meta titles and meta descriptions for all the important pages on the site?
  • Run a site search in Google (“site:yoururl.com”) to see which pages Google has in its index. Are there any pages listed there that shouldn’t be indexed? Any obvious omissions – pages that you think should be included but Google isn’t seeing?

Tracking site performance

  • Is Google Analytics running on the site? You can look at the code directly or use https://builtwith.com/ to check. If it isn’t, why not? This needs installing. Note that builtwith.com will tell you if the code is on the site, not if it’s actually running. Open developer console, check that the page hits and any events are being sent to google.
  • Is the site registered with Google Search Console? If it isn’t, it should be.
  • Do you have any social media tracking tags running on the site (e.g. a Facebook Pixel or LinkedIn Insight Tags)? If so, do you have access to the Facebook account in which these are configured?

Site security

  • Is the site running on HTTPS? Is the SSL certificate up to date? Will it renew soon?
  • Do you know who has access to the backend of the site? Check the list of users and delete any that are no longer needed (for example people who have left the organisation or the agency / developers who don’t work for you anymore)
  • Check backups. Are they being run in the backend of the site (for example in WordPress using a plugin) or at the hosting company? Check that they are actually being run and that you know where the backup is stored and how to access it if you need to.

Other technical considerations

  • Does the site run using a CMS such as WordPress? If so, check that the CMS is up to date and all supporting hosting requirements are recent.
  • In the network console, check to see if any resources fail to download – sometimes old third party plugins might break, are any resources very slow to load?
  • Check the javascript console tab – are there are any errors thrown when loading a page? This usually means something might not be working correctly.
  • Does the domain expire soon? Check that you have access to the domain and the hosting and will be notified before the renewal date.
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