How to effectively audit an underperforming web page

auditing web page
If you’ve ever worked hard putting together a page on a website and then found out it isn’t performing well, it can be a frustrating experience.

Maybe the web page isn’t driving the number of leads that you expected. Maybe the web page isn’t getting any traffic at all. Whatever the results (or lack thereof), it might be time to take a step back and take a closer look at what’s impeding your success by doing an audit of your web page.

Completing web page audit is a great way to start troubleshooting and identify any underperforming web page’s underlying issues so that you can put together a plan for improvement. Determine your next steps by using the following checklist as a guide through the process.

How to audit an underperforming web page

  1. Look for obvious errors
  2. Revisit goals
  3. Investigate analytics
  4. Review design
  5. Assess content
  6. Evaluate promotion efforts
  7. Execute changes and measure results

Step 1: Look for obvious errors

If you’re lucky, there might be a quick fix. Check for any obvious issues and rule out any simple errors as a first step before diving too deep.

For example, maybe your web page has broken links. Perhaps there’s a form that isn’t functioning. Double-check to ensure everything is loading properly and test any custom functionality for errors. If you find any problems, fix them, and see if that improves results before moving on.

Step 2: Revisit goals

It’s worth revisiting the goal(s) for your web page to see if the issue is with your expectations rather than with the page itself.

Is what you’re aiming to achieve realistic? What research did you base your desired outcome on, if any? Consider HubSpot’s SMART goal criteriaSpecific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

If you’re confident in the set goals, then the next step is to look more closely at the page itself.

Step 3: Investigate analytics

Review your web page’s analytics as a way to narrow down the source of the problem and highlight key areas for improvement. Look to find out which data points stand out as less than ideal. If possible, compare your underperforming web page with a similar high-performing page on your website to get a better idea of what might be causing it to fail.

While the ideal data points depend on the purpose of your web page, when you audit your web page, here are some examples of common issues to look out for:
  • Low traffic: If your web page isn’t getting much traffic, it may indicate that it isn’t easy enough for users to find, you need to work on SEO, or you aren’t adequately promoting your content.
  • Wrong traffic: If your target audience isn’t visiting your web page, it may mean that you need to work on SEO.
  • Low bounce rate: If your web page has a low bounce rate, it could indicate that there it needs a clearer or more relevant call-to-action to guide users onto next steps.
  • Short amount of time spent on page: If customers aren’t spending much time on your page, it may mean that its content is not successfully engaging users.
Determine what the analytics are saying about your page, and use that information to brainstorm potential solutions.

Learn more about how to review your website analytics and gain actionable insights:

Step 4: Review design

It’s possible that the design of your page isn’t organized in a way to help achieve your goals. Review your design for anything that might be negatively impacting the user experience.

Is the navigation clear? Is the primary call-to-action placed prominently? Are the sections of the page easy to scan to find what you need?

Furthermore, don’t forget to make sure the web page is optimized for viewing from mobile devices. Is it usable on a smartphone? On a tablet? To maximize success, your web page should be accessible and easy to use for all visitors.

Even small design changes can have a large impact on the usability of a web page. Don’t make the design of your web page an afterthought.

Learn more about how to effectively review your web page’s design:

Step 5: Assess content

Take a closer look at the wording (e.g., headlines, subheadings, copy blocks, call-outs, etc.), imagery (e.g., illustrations, infographics, photography, etc.), and other elements (call-to-action, sub-navigation, forms, etc.) used on the web page itself and whether or not they support your goals for the page.

Here are some questions to ask when reviewing the quality and effectiveness of your web content:
  • Is the purpose of the page clear?
  • How quickly can users find answers to questions?
  • Is the text written with your target audience’s needs in mind?
  • Are you using the right keywords?
  • Is the call-to-action relevant to the purpose of the page?
  • Are there too many call-to-actions?
  • Is the copy errors-free? Is it easy to understand? Does it sound professional?
Getting all of your content right is crucial to creating a successful web page, so spend the time necessary to optimize it properly.

Learn more about crafting effective website content:

Step 6: Evaluate promotion efforts

Promotion is important to get your content out in front of the right audience. If you aren’t efficiently promoting your content, you probably aren’t seeing results.

To start, make sure your page is easy to find on your website itself. Can users easily navigate to your page? Are you linking to it from all relevant places on other pages of your website? These are both easy ways to increase traffic to your page.

Then, assess any external promotion you are doing. If you are running ads or posting to social networks, make sure you are posting to the social networks that are actually used by your target audience. Review your posts to make sure you’re using the right wording and images to appeal to your target audience. If not, figure out the problems and make improvements accordingly. If you’re using email marketing to promote content, check that you are sending to relevant, engaged subscribers.

Take advantage of information from tracking and analytics to evaluate the level of success across promotion efforts and identify any weak points.

Learn more about improving your marketing strategy:

Step 7: Execute changes and measure results

After you’ve worked your way through these steps, you should have a good idea of the action items needed to improve your page. Prioritize your list and start making updates one at a time. It’s best not to make more than a single major update to a web page at a time. Otherwise, it will be difficult to determine the impact of each individual change.

Once you have a sufficient amount of data for comparison, analyze the results from before and after you made each update to determine if the change is making any positive or negative impact on your web page performance.

Remember, it might take some trial and error to find the right solution, and significant improvements don’t typically happen immediately. Stick with the refinement process and keep making changes until you start seeing results that help you meet your goals.

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Kayleigh

About the author | Kayleigh Circle

Kayleigh is a web developer at TBH Creative, specializing in front-end development and responsive design. She likes to blog about a variety of web design topics, including design tips, the latest trends in the industry, and how to make your website more successful.

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