In the auto repair business, there is a saying: at some point you have more duct tape and bondo than car. It’s meant as a joke, and describes many “winter beaters” that are on the road here in Maine. What it means in the Internet age is that some websites need to be given such a complete make-over that it really doesn’t make sense to keep adding onto what is already there. The fact of the matter is, that if your website is over five years old, it is obsolete. There are many ways to tell, including the responsive design issues I mentioned in my last blog, but to be sure, it really requires a professional to do a website audit.
What’s in an audit?
Everyone has a different set of criteria they look for, but some elements of an audit are universal. The length of time it takes for your pages to load, the proper formatting of script, whether images are customized to be efficient at multiple screen sizes, and what a website might have for referring pages, otherwise known as “backlinks”. The bigger issue however becomes “how easy is this site to manage?” If the site requires 25 edits to change one thing that spans across all pages, then it is definitely too much of an antique to be considered “easy to manage”. Does the page show up correctly in different browsers? Do your letters overlap in places you don’t want them to? Can you find what you need to on your site or is it an Easter egg hunt?
Results of an Audit
By getting an audit of your existing website you are taking a look at whether your website is performing correctly for you, or whether it needs a tune-up. To extend the car metaphor one more level, you are looking to see if you have enough tread on your tires to weather another season, or if you might experience some kind of a blow-out. The kinds of blow-out that might happen may have to do with whether you need to update content on your website and it turns into a nightmare because no one has properly maintained the site. It may be that the person who is in charge of website monitoring has left the company and no one has taken time to handle the issue because it is too complicated or the information has been lost. I have had clients who tell me they do not know where their website is hosted. Do you know?
Making an emergency plan
Sometimes the best thing you can do today, is plan for the problem that might crop up tomorrow. Do you have a backup of your website? Do you have someone who is the designated alternate for handling issues that come up with social media and your website? Can you incorporate cross-training that might handle this eventuality? At Finestkind Web Design, we help you accomplish that kind of plan in whatever fashion you might choose. If you want us to keep a copy of credentials and website backup, we can do that for you. All of my hosting clients have a website that includes a regular backup. Does yours?
Is your website showing signs that it might be time to overhaul? Please let us know. We are here to help.
Henry Lyons is the owner of Finestkind Web Design in Dresden, Maine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through his website www.fineskindwebdesign.com.