Part two in our seven-part website audit series – we’re going deeper into how your website works for you and your audience.
Is your website secure?
Here are a few things to check to make sure your website stays as secure as possible!
1. Do you have a security certificate on your site? You can tell by the address bar at the top of your browser.
Most browsers will show a closed padlock beside the URL. Also, the URL will start with HTTPS rather than HTTP.
Most platforms offer them free or even automatically, but some require you to purchase them separately or install your own.
2. Do you use a strong password? Strong passwords are critical.
Two-factor authentication can be helpful too in the right circumstances.
3. Do you regularly update your software, themes, and plugins or apps?
Some platforms don’t need updates; for others, it is critical. For example, WordPress websites must be updated frequently. Likewise, Shopify, BigCommerce, and others need updates to themes.
4. Do you back up your website, content, and data?
Backups are the Plan B for your site if security measures don’t work.
5. WordPress has its own security measures, including using secure hosting or installing security plugins.
Is your website working for you?
To answer this question, make a list of everything your website should do for you and your business. Include business tasks like generating leads, building your email list, and showing your portfolio.
Also, add items like selling products, nurturing your customer, or representing your brand.
And finally, include business functions like inventory, help desk support, or something else.
Once you have a list of what your website should do – make a list of what your website does now.
Next, compare the two. Is your website doing all it could for you and your business? If so, that’s awesome!
If not, are there plugins, apps, or other software you could use (and maybe link to your website) to get the functionality you need?
Would another platform have more of what you want with fewer tradeoffs?
Is your website fast?
Does your website load within 3 seconds?
Waiting for a slow website is one of the most common reasons people leave. So it’s worth checking to see how your website stacks up.
You can check your website’s speed using free tools like to test your website’s speed.
Knowing how fast your website loads is only the first step, though. Next comes how to speed it up if it is a bit slow. Some classic ideas are to reduce image or graphic file sizes and make sure you only have the apps or plugins you need.
WordPress users have more advanced options, too.
The thing to remember is that page speed and image size are usually at odds. So chances are, you won’t have a website that loads in less than a second, and that’s ok.
And accepting the tradeoff of a slower-loading site may be best for YOUR business, especially if you have a business that focuses on superb graphics, like a photographer.
It’s probably not worth stressing about an extra second or two – but it is good to know your website speed so you can decide if it is worth the effort to improve it.
Pro tip: test the mobile and desktop versions of your site. Often, they test at very different speeds.
Is your website usable?
Do you have a website that is easy for as many people as possible to use? What about people who have particular challenges or need to use the website in a way that’s not “traditional”?
There’s a lot to the usability and accessibility of a website. There are website professionals who specialize in both areas, and they are both worthwhile investments.
In the meantime, you can get a head start by doing these few things.
- Use colors that have enough contrast for easy reading. Those of us with older eyes will thank you. You can check your color contrast (using hex code colors) at accessible-colors.com.
- Leave white space around your website elements so that the user has a clear path for their eyes to travel.
- Make sure buttons and links are easily clicked – or tapped on mobile, with enough space around them that you aren’t getting the wrong link.
- Be wary of motion on your site. It looks cool, but it can be triggering for people with motion sickness, seizures, and other issues. If you use motion, make sure people can stop it if they need to.
- Add alt-text to your images for screen readers.
- Use headings correctly (similar to the outlines we wrote for English class once upon a time) – again so that screen readers can accurately decipher your website.
This is nowhere near a complete list, but it will get you started in the right direction.
Is your website visually consistent with the rest of your brand?*
It’s important to use the same brand colors and fonts across all your platforms including your website and social media graphics.
An easy way to ensure you are using the correct brand elements is to create a brand guide with all of your color codes, fonts and logos. When you are updating your website you can reference your guide and easily select the right colors and fonts.
When selecting your brand colors be sure to choose colors that convey how you want your brand to feel – bright and cheery, calm and laid back, etc. You can even take an inspiration picture and use Canva to pull the color codes from the picture. When choosing fonts make sure they are easy to read.
Consistency across your platforms will help you build brand recognition.
*This tip is provided by Krystal Brewer, a Brand & Senior Photographer in Casper, WY – find her at https://www.krystalbrewer.com