Audits are useful to businesses in various ways. There’s financial audits, operational audits, stock audits etc. All of them have one thing in common: they help a business run smoother, be more confident, reduce costs and maximise profits.
An online audit is the same – it’s geared to check that you are getting the best results from the objectives you decided upon when going online.
You do have objectives behind your online presence don’t you?
Don’t worry, if you’ve gotten as far as having a website; hell, even if you just have an email address, you already have decided upon an objective – namely, that you (and your business) needs to have some presence online.
Here’s some other things that you might like your online presence to achieve:
- Sell your products / services
- Promote your events
- Generate brand awareness
- Dispense information / news
- Build a social network
The list could go on and it will be different for everyone. However, once you establish what your objectives are, then there’s ways of achieving them, and, even better, measuring that achievement.
What an online audit does is clarify your online objectives, compare them to what is currently in place and then make recommendations for how to improve.
The areas in which an online audit focuses, can include:
Is your site easy to use? Is the content clearly visible and the structure transparent? Are your users comfortable using the site?
Making sure that your site, and the content in it, is easily found
Search Engine Optimization & Marketing
A review of how your site performs in search engines like Google, Yahoo, Ask etc. Also covers linking strategies
Ensuring your Pay Per Click advertising campaigns are returning their investment or setting up new ones.
Ensure that your site is viewable over a variety of devices and caters to various disabilities. If you’re site isn’t accessible, you’re turning away a possible 10% of people right at the door
Good copy writing can make or break a sale. For a quick taster – use ‘Book here’ rather than ‘Book now’ and watch the responses increase
One of the most efficient and effective means to promote your business.
Making sure your website has the tools needed to achieve it’s objectives. It’s all very well having an awesome promotion but it’s not much use if the site then doesn’t include a method for people to follow it up
Recommendations offered are dependent on your business needs, and will be focused on achieving your businesses objectives.
Here’s a case in point :
We recently performed an online audit for one of our clients, a well-known independent restaurant. One of our recommendations was to implement an online table reservation system, which we did.
Two days after the online booking engine went live, we got a call from them to turn it off – they’d received so many bookings through it, that they couldn’t physically handle any more. So we put in a system to limit how many tables could be booked online for a particular day.
But isn’t that nice for a restaurant, especially in these times, to have to turn people away?
Another result of the audit was that we decided to expand upon the customer database with a view to send these people targeted email campaigns.
This resulted in a joint online and offline campaign, which drove their database from 500 to nearly 3000. The resulting email marketing campaigns have returned high results and have played a major part in increasing their bookings up by 17% compared to last year. Not bad for a recession eh?
Now, that’s a pretty simple example but hopefully it illustrates the power of an online audit.
I hope I’ve peeked your interest in giving your online presence a check over, and also given you some food for thought. One of the key roles of an audit will be to inform you exactly what options are available to you, and the potential value they can bring to your business. An audit is the foundation stone that your future online (and offline) campaigns can integrate with and build upon.
There’s a lot more information that I would have liked to cover in this article, particularly on the various aspects and functions of a website but as I was writing it I realised that to do these topics justice, they really need to be given their own space! So I’ll be covering them seperately at a later date – you’ll be able to catch them as they come out by signing up to the Brightbox.