BIG POND DIGITAL

The Health Checks You Should Do On Your Website

Dylan Welsh

If you’re responsible for running a website, or paying someone to do so, there are some key checks that should be done periodically to monitor the health status of your site. Just as you’d visit your doctor for an MOT every so often, it’s important to pay attention to some vital elements of your website, to get an actionable prescription for how to aid and improve it. In the spirit of this being the ‘Health’ edition of AM, our digital marketing specialists at Big Pond thought we should outline some critical health checks that will set your website up to thrive.

Website Usability: Adapting to Mobile Supremacy
First things first, is your website mobile friendly? Google actually judges your site’s user-friendliness primarily through its mobile version – via ‘Mobile First Indexing’ to be jargony. The overall amount of mobile visits versus those on desktops continues to rise and dominates online conversions. If your site is badly designed and hard to navigate, these are massive red flags for the vast majority of users who will quickly go elsewhere to shop if they’re having a bad experience.

Imagine your website as a chameleon, seamlessly adapting to any screen size. A mobile-responsive design ensures that whether your visitors are on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop, they’ll have a smooth and engaging experience. Mobile-friendliness is non-negotiable, so here’s what to do: use a tool, like browserstack.com/responsive, make a free account and paste in your site’s URL. This will show you what it looks like across different mobile devices.

Page Speed Tests: Racing Against Time
There’s nothing more irritating than clicking on a website and the page takes ages to load. Each millisecond is an infinity in that moment and frustration builds – we’ve all been there. In fact, you quite literally have three seconds max before 40% of users, and counting, start to bounce off and go elsewhere and this is clearly not positive for Google to observe when it’s deciding how highly to rank you online.

There’s a whole host of reasons why your website and its individual pages may be extremely slow to load. Pop your URL into this free tool (pagespeed.web.dev) and see how it judges your site. It will help identify any performance bottlenecks and advise you how to speed up your loading times through things like image optimisation; browser caching; and minifying clunky CSS and JavaScript code.

Security Scans: Safeguarding Your Site & Its Users
Now, let’s talk security. Just like you lock your doors at night, your website needs protection against digital prowlers and malware troublemakers. A security breach can take a massive blow to your reputation and trust in both your visitors’ and Google’s eyes. Invest in up-to-date SSL certificates, implement strong passwords, and regularly update your website’s software to keep security threats at bay.

Use a free checker like Sucuri’s (sitecheck.sucuri.net) to see if you have any of the following: malware; viruses; blacklisting statuses; website errors; outdated software; or malicious code. If anything shows up in this triage process, take action on the most severe issues and prioritise the rest.

Content Quality Check: Maintaining Your Relevance
From compelling copywriting to captivating visuals, your content is the proverbial heartstring that resonates with your audience. Just as an instrument needs fine-tuned every so often, so does your content. Perform a wee content audit to weed out any stale, outdated information and ensure your messaging aligns with your brand’s voice and values. Remember, quality outshines quantity – prioritise relevance, authenticity, and engagement to keep your audience coming back for more of what you’re serving.

A tool like answerthepublic.com gives you some free daily searches and maps out countless ideas for you to write content on, based on what people are actually searching for in your niche.

Also, if you have the monthly budget for a subscription, the likes of SurferSEO (surferseo.com) lets you focus on one page at a time on your site and scores how well your existing content on it will allow you to rank on Google for specific keywords. Importantly, it’ll advise you how to improve the score.

SEO Checkup
Last but not least, let’s talk SEO, what we specialise in at Big Pond. All of the previous checks we’ve mentioned encompass SEO. Without intentional and careful optimisation, your website risks getting lost in the vast expanse of the internet.

To make sure your website is robust for fighting through the competition on page 1 of Google, there are fundamental SEO things to consider. One of which is your meta-tags (title and description) which form the wee snippet of your webpage that shows in Google’s results. This is your chance to win the user amongst your competitors, so they must be compelling and click-inducing, and each page on your site should target a set of keywords that you’ve identified from keyword research. A platform like SERanking (seranking.com) is great for this research and auditing your SEO against that of your competitors.

So, to round things up, maintaining your website’s health is essential for sustained online success. We hope we’ve given you lots of food for thought here.