Need a digital audit? Your plan to improve starts with a review of where you are now. And, when it comes to your digital assets, you may find you are over your head.
This happens easily enough because, throughout the year, you work to improve your website and purchase tools, bells, and whistles.
You may be like me and find you completely lose track while furiously working on your site, developing your blog/content hub, and experimenting and testing tools to offer exciting mixed media to delight your audience and enhance engagement. You thought you needed every single purchase, then realize how you never touch some of this stuff.
So, start your digital audit with a review of the software, tools, and services you DON’T need. You may surprise yourself and save a little budget, too.
Your Digital Audit and Your Website
WordPress is continually changing, and plugins for your site always evolve. For example, I created a Spreadsheet to help keep track of site plugins but feel sure it already needs an update. This documentation is a valuable tool and allows you to have site information easily at your fingertips.
You may want to note:
- Plugin name
- Date Implemented
- Where Used on Site
- Developer (plus contact URL)
- Last Update
- .php Compatibility
- Renew Date (premium plugins)
It’s possible you aren’t even aware of how much you are spending on premium plugins. And, have you checked lately to see if some are outdated? Outdated plugins make sites vulnerable, so it’s a good idea to deactivate and delete them. Declutter, just like in your closet.
Getting organized for your digital marketing endeavors starts with a review of website assets before you jump in to evaluate the valuable content you publish. We’re looking at the skeletal features first, starting with things like web hosting service, associated passwords, costs, and renewal details, etc.
Make sure to know the answer to key questions impacting your important website.
For instance, know what .php level your site runs on and if your hosting service or you are responsible for updating it. Make sure your SSL is in place on your site (https) for all pages to indicate site security and trust to visitors and Google.
You want to test and correct for better site speed to kick off the year while reviewing hosting details. Enlist help from your hosting service if necessary. Use a tool like GTmetrix, Pingdom, or PageSpeed Insights by Google to get an idea of how your site speed delivers or where it needs improvement.
Speed testing tools for your website:
Once you feel you are happy with your site tools, hosting service, and loading speeds, take a look at your Google Analytics Dashboard to find and compare other treasures.
One of the first things I want to revisit is the demographics of site visitors. I want to know if guests to my site are the same as before; who is the person I am serving throughout the past year. Is there a shift of any kind? How can I hone in on reaching my audience in a way that’s most appealing to them and do I correctly understand who they (currently) are?
As I analyze other significant information my Google Analytics reveals, am I able to see a relationship between best performing content and my unique audience, for example?
The most important metrics to me are time on page and pages per session. I want to know if people are staying long enough to read, not just stop, and if they are moving to more than one post or page while here.
I also regularly check referrers, which breaks down where site traffic is coming from including precisely which social networks and websites are sending traffic. Which guest or contributor blog posts are sending me the most traffic from their sites? What are the best performing social media platforms?
I want to know the most viewed pages and posts for the year. Also, I want to optimize pages for even better results and upgrade or add content on the best post topics. I want to push in areas that are resonating with people and work to improve key web pages. I may even want to upgrade underperformers, so they don’t draw the site down.
I used to pay attention to new visitors mostly. But in truth, return visitors to your website are probably even more significant.
You need faithful visits from people who return for the value your website provides.
These visitors are part of relationship-building for your blog and more likely to become your customers. Additionally, visitors who are supporters of your blog (even if they are never a customer) are vital, as well. They are sharers and commenters, and people who will refer you one day. Or, they will collaborate in another significant way, whether money for pay, or not. Visitors and supporters help build your reputation.
Reputation Building Does Wonders
Building my writing reputation over the past five years and sharing, curating, and connecting with people reflects on me when super awesome surprises happen. Here are a few examples of what building relationships over time and earning return visitors who believe in your work brings:
Ryan Biddulph from Blogging from Paradise mentioning you in a video.
And then, inviting you to contribute to his blog, to talk about blogging with passion. This post feels very “thought leadership” to me, and it seems folks are enjoying it!
It was especially thrilling to have Henneke of Enchanting Marketing mention me in her newsletter with an appreciation for my contribution to spreading the news about her new writing mugs featuring Henrietta, her blog’s hand-drawn alter-ego and brand mascot. Many folks tuned into my MIX/SIZZLE&SHAKE Your Business Podcast to hear my rap poem about these encouraging enchanting mugs.
I met Santanu Debnath from bloggingjoy.com via mutual friends I’m pretty sure connect back to Ryan. But, Santanu doesn’t just connect on social, he makes a friend of you, first. Since then, we have helped each other more than once and I had the privilege of being included in his first (and highly successful) Expert Roundup post.
I always love getting a mix of viewpoints to cultivate for ideas!
Friends in High Places
Acting as a mentor for Sharon Hurley Hall’s Biz of Writing experience is not only a significant honor for me, it’s also a fun shared learning experience!
And Sharon knows her stuff as a world-class freelance writing business expert. Sharon also knows the secret to simple tech so you can start with confidence while building your website and business.
Come to think of it; there aren’t many digital topics where Sharon isn’t up-to-date. Check out some of Sharon Hurley Hall’s work; you may be shocked at the intensity, and I’m sure there’s more than one topic to help you.
NOTE: See why I’m so excited to be on Sharon’s Team?
Audit by Ear
Ultimately, the feedback you get about your site from actual clients is pure gold. It reinforces what you are doing right.
I’m paying attention to what I hear, and the feedback I get. Then I can work to improve and fit better with what the businesses I can help, need.
Just know, building traffic to your website is a long-term game and requires time and work to start getting notice. But, traffic means people are coming to your
Of course, you can always learn some Boomerang content techniques to help. Here’s a useful series from Inspire to Thrive if you want to increase your content reach and find new traffic to invite your way:
- Content Boomerang for Website Traffic Growth
- Skyrocket Your Traffic with Boomerang Content
You’re likely discovering that Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing are best buddies. At first, I didn’t truly understand the intensity of the connection until I became immersed, however accidentally, in testing social platforms for myself.
Seeing social media efforts translate to website traffic is rewarding and significant for growing in the digital space. Businesses of every shape, type, and size, are reaping benefits from using Social Media Marketing (SMM) in their marketing mix. For a digital footprint, it’s a game-changer.
The two things that initially moved the needle for me with a digital-only prescription for my writing business at the outset:
- getting my site up on a WordPress.org self-hosted plan, and,
Lately, and for the first time, Facebook is gaining traction and bringing guests to my site.
I’ve been on Facebook for two years, with Ana Hoffman’s nudging. Ideally, you want to bring audiences from a variety of sources and SMM piles up a few for impactful results.
Sweet Tweeting for Business
Twitter is still my favorite.
My colleague, Saurabh Tiwari, enthuses in his use of Twitter for business, lately, disclosing he is averaging 1k site visitors a day to his website directly from Twitter. Wow!! Inspiring.
And, although I’m new to Pinterest, I notice traffic coming from there. Both Pinterest and Flipboard are social platforms and search engine-like as well. So, these are platforms I want to expand on this year. Instagram is utterly insanely out front with big expectations but, I need to think it over a sec. I’m getting overdone, social-fried!
Like Mike Allton always suggests, concentrate on your absolute best social channel or channels and go all in! Make sure you target the channels you like best, but that also overlap with where your customers hang out. Get more for your SMM efforts by taking a purposeful approach.
I have the perfect strategic outline for you to align your Social Media Marketing Strategy with your business goals and content marketing agenda, perfectly.
GRAB it here ⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇ and you’ll hear from me sometimes, too!CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR SMM Checklist NOW!
Evaluate Additional Assets
Beyond a year-to-year comparison of social media metrics, taking a proactive approach for an intentional SMM Strategy makes all the difference in how effective social media is for your business. Now is the time to change or upgrade social profiles so you are fresh and current. Improving over time is the goal.
Many top businesses and bloggers do a series of visuals for additional content on each social channel. This work is on top of sharing their usual blog content, plus curating top quality industry posts and news.
Creating unique channel content allows you another opportunity to add personality and interest, drawing people to your business. Which brings me to the next toolkit sets to review and carefully consider for your digital work moving forward. These include:
- Marketing Tools like Email Auto-Responders
- Content Creation Software like Vimeo or Canva
- Social Media Automation like Buffer
- Workflow or Collaboration Programs like Trello
Make sure to document costs, renewal procedures/dates, passwords, knowledge base or help information, and team members with access to various tools.
If you find you are underutilizing any tools, make a plan to block time to improve using them. Or, schedule extra learning time for anything in the toolkit you need help with so you use it more often, and with more skill. Otherwise, tools lose value for your business.
Streamline tools and expenses by discovering what you truly need and use. Make a point of getting your money out of your digital (website) power “stack.” Make every presentation for your business this year both professional and powerful, flaunting your digital acumen.
Don’t be afraid to find some creativity, once your tool audits are in place.
Once your toolkit audit and administrative framework checkups are complete, the fun stuff starts. But, all the tool components need to work as smooth as silk for this part to take center stage. This part, of course, is your site star, content.
While your blog is the center of content activity on your site or your content hub, the initial annual review needs to include your main pages, starting with the most visited, your homepage.
Not only are you looking to upgrade and improve each main page on your site for better results, but you also want to make sure you’re not looking stale or so last year!
Every single detail on your website, your blog, or your social media streams reflects your business, your brand, and you. Stay fresh. Keep leveling up. Remember branding at each step. It all reflects on you.
I don’t know if I’m satisfied with any one of my main pages, or if I ever have been, but I do know I’m working to improve them continuously. I have big plans in the works right this minute. Are your pages constantly evolving or just one and done?
If re-working all your main pages feels daunting, start with the one your analytics shows gets the most traffic, or least traffic, and work with one at a time from there.
Analyze for Insights
Use Google Analytics again to show you the most popular posts on your blog. Determine what kind of content is doing best. Notice content that stinks, too. Build on the best performers and improve or dump the not-so-good pieces.
Maybe for you, it’s audio, video, or written. Perhaps it’s something else, depending on your business or subject matter and topics. Think about adding a content type to attract new audiences with content you already have and, you know resonates with your guests.
Whatever the case, hone in on the kind of content, the topic, the feedback, the post popularity, and whatever else gives you useful insights.
I’ve shared this look at how to do a content audit from Andy Crestodina a few times before but, there’s a reason. I know it will help you out with your site and content formula. Here’s a content audit guide from Moz to check out too.
Once you investigate what’s doing best on your site, take a more in-depth look. When you review your best posts, figure out what you can talk more about, so you can expand with new work, closely related. Build in the
You can’t go wrong with a user-centric approach. For your business. Your toolkit. And most certainly, for your website and content.