Conduct a Real World Website Audit

March 16, 2011

With all of the tools available to test and monitor different parts of your website, “real world” audits from the perspective of your site’s visitors are often overlooked. Put yourself in their shoes and walk through these simple tasks to make sure your site is meeting their needs (and yours).

website audit


What is the first message a visitor sees when they visit your homepage? Is that message still relevant or has it become dated? How about your call-to-actions throughout the site – are they still prompting visitors in a way that aligns with your current marketing and business objectives?


If your site is a few years old, there is a good chance that mobile access wasn’t a priority when it was built. Grab a few co-workers and load your website through several different mobile phones and devices. Here are a few basic things to check for:

  • Does your site rely on Flash and therefore not load properly for iPhone/iPad users?
  • Does the site navigation work properly without the ability to hover over drop-down menus?
  • Does the site layout display properly on a smaller screen?

Search Results

What do people see when they search for your business name and the names of your staff? Google these terms and review the results, both from your site and others.

  • Are you showing up as the top result for your business name?
  • What other results are being shown from other sites?
  • Are you showing up in multiple places, such as through your social media accounts and through your Google Places listing?

Common Actions

Review the common actions users will take on your site and make sure they are providing a good experience. For example:

  • Is the search form on your site working correctly and showing the results you’d expect?
  • Can you easily navigate the site and get to your key content in 1 or 2 clicks of the mouse?

Contact Points

Many sites rely on a customer “getting in touch” to close a sale or to start a conversation. Make sure these avenues of contact are updated and working properly by testing each one as if you were a first time visitor to your site.

  • Is it easy to find your phone number, directions to your office and a company email address?
  • Do you have generic email addresses such as and on the site? If so, do they forward to the correct people?
  • Does your contact form work properly and notify the appropriate contact within your company?
  • Do you have your companies social media accounts listed on your site? If not, should you add them? If yes, are those accounts current and regularly updated?

These real world tests can have a huge impact on your site. No matter how great your content is or how great your site looks, it must work properly to be successful. Step back and review your website as an outsider and you may gain a new, very helpful perspective that will help you and your site's visitors moving forward!


Jonathan's avatar
@A. Sheldon - good tip! Checking your site from public computers or even your friend's computer is a great way to check what others are seeing from different browsers and operating systems too
A. Sheldon's avatar
A. Sheldon
You may want to test your site from a public library computer, as public library computers are set up specifically for shared use, with very limited access rights.

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