These days, most online business owners are aware of the existence of website audits. Most are also aware of the fact that they are somewhat important. Nevertheless, research would seem to suggest that comparatively few give them the kind of time and focus they deserve.

Contrary to popular belief, simply skimming over the pages of your website isn’t enough. Instead, you need to dig a little deeper, ‘pop the hood’ and see how things are working at a more advanced level. If not, you run the risk of what could be an outstanding website performing like a dud.
So for those who need a little more convincing, here’s a quick rundown of 5 reasons why you might want to take website audits a little more seriously:

1. Navigation Issues
First up, it’s worth taking into account how easy or otherwise your website is for your customers to navigate. Just because you understand your navigation system inside out doesn’t mean that new customers can make any sense of it whatsoever. If your customers are forced to search long and hard, wait too long or click more than three times to get where they need to be, you’ve got issues to address. Consider navigation from the perspective of your customers – not your own.

2. Optimisation issues
Audits can also be useful in the identification of common search engine optimisation issues. Examples include areas for optimisation in content, images not being properly tagged, meta issues, headers, URL structures, indexability, the presence of a duplicate content, mobile compatibility and so on. In addition, any broken links you come across need to be removed, before they cause potentially irreparable damage.

3. Risk of Penalisation
Another reason to carry out regular and intensive audits is to avoid potential penalisation. It’s perfectly possible that at some point in the history of your website, you’ve included content which today counts as spam. Keyword stuffing, link farming and so on – all the kinds of things you could once get away with, but not anymore. In order to avoid penalisation, you need to take the time to go through your content with a fine-tooth comb and ensure you aren’t breaking the rules. If you are, don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll get away with it.

4. Loading Times
You probably already know that the effect a three-second waiting time can have on bounce rates can be no less than extraordinary. Still, research suggests that most businesses really aren’t doing nearly enough to optimise and improve page loading times. It’s important to remember that the average web user these days is both impatient and lazy. What seems like a reasonable loading time to you could be unacceptable enough to drive vast swathes of your audience in the wrong direction.

5. Competitor Analysis
Last but not least, competitor analysis can only be truly effective when it forms part of a comprehensive site audit. The idea being that along with comprehensively checking the content and performance of your own website, you compare and contrast what you are doing with how your competitors get the job done. Or in other words, you carry out a mini-audit on them – their content, keywords, search activity, backlinks and so on. Approached properly, it can be a real eye-opener to say the least.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Jenkinson is a UK based seo marketing consultant helping companies to increase their internet presence.