So your site is a bit of a dumpster fire? No worries. We’ve all been there before. Here’s a systemic check for evaluating that fire, dousing your flames, and getting back to a workable site.
Step 1: Make an Honest Evaluation
First, is your website redeemable? Probably. But if it’s buggy, on very old technology, slow, and outdated – it might be time to do a website refresh or a complete rebuild.
For purposes of this article, we will assume it’s redeemable. If that’s the case, go ahead and run a speed test.
Step 2: Go to gtmetrix.com and run a performance test.
Speed may be the single most important feature of a site. Gtmetrix.com is my favorite speed tester as it actually uses the same real computer-based in Vancouver to ping a site. Thus, it measures actual speed, rather than simulated speeds like other tools. Go to Gmetrix, type in your URL and face the music….for better or worse.
Gmetrix also provides immediate and actionable items. So reduce those image sizes! Turn on lazy loading! Do whatever is reasonable to ensure faster load times. Take a screenshot of these actions for later use if some of the proposed changes are beyond your area of expertise.
Step 3: Run a Google Lighthouse audit to get a fuller picture.
Google provides a browser tool by default in its developer suite – called Google Lighthouse. Google Lighthouse allows users to see the Performance, Accessibility, Best Practices, and SEO health of a site. Here’s how to use this free tool:
- Open your website in an incognito browser.
- Click View-> Developer ->View Source to pull up the Lighthouse test.
- Click “Generate Report” to see results.
You will see numeric scores in four categories.
The Performance score is a weighted average of several performance metrics. More heavily weighted metrics have a bigger effect on your overall Performance score. Sometimes, the Performance score is thought of as a speed score, but it’s more nuanced than that.
The Performance Score and its accompanying findings do provide good intel on how to improve the site. However, over the years, we’ve seen too many low and inconsistent scores from excellent sites. For speed readings, the Google Lighthouse Performance Score is less reliable than gtmetrix as it simulates speed solely from the on-page code.
All users should be able to access a website effectively. The Accessibility score and evaluation parameters ensure the site provides a robust experience to all users. This accounts for their context and any situational, temporary, or permanent disabilities. To ensure a good Accessibility score, meta-tags for all content should be in place as well as significant color contrast for color-blind folks.
This score and findings ensure that the site doesn’t use old technologies. It evalutes the page for speed, security, and a good user experience.
The SEO score provides a very basic health indicator of the site’s SEO quality. It ensures search engines can understand and crawl content the content. It also measures mobile friendliness.
However, it doesn’t give you any indication of whether your SEO optimization is good from a search engine standpoint – only that it is programmatically appropriate. For instance, if your site sells vintage radios, the page should target “vintage radios” or something similar from an SEO perspective. If your site targets “communication devices” you might achieve a great SEO score, but you will completely miss user intent.
Export Your Findings
While inside the site’s tool, click on “Print Expanded” or “Save to JSON”. With the GTMetrix and Lighthouse findings, you will have a good chunk of opportunities to make your site better.
Step 4: Fix the Site’s Structure
Depending on your level of familiarity with the technology, you may be able to make these fixes yourself. If not, tag a smart developer to make the changes. Its not just about one time fixes too. Often sites degrade over time as lack of updates, bad hosting, and users uploading giant images take their toll.
So whatever changes are made, make sure they stick!
Step 5: Get a 7 Day Ahrefs trial.
If you want to outpace your competitors in the industry space, spend $7 and use our extensive (and free) guide on how to spy on your competitors, clean up your website, and drive more traffic. The industrial space, more than any other industry, thrives on SEO.
By following these 5 steps, you will be ahead of 95% of your competition. So best wishes in your efforts, and please contact us should you need any additional help!