If you have a small start-up or no marketing or website development budget, you can use Hubspot’s Website Grader to do your own in-house technical audit for free. This simple audit, which generally precedes a business website content audit, tells you
- How well your website performs
- How well it has been search engine optimized (SEO)
- How it looks on a mobile device
- How it ranks, in terms of security
A Business Website Technical Audit for a Return on Investment (ROI)
You know, of course, that nothing’s free. A return on investment (ROI) on something that’s free requires an investment of some of your time and effort. However, it will get you started on one of your business’s most important assets.
By helping you clean up your business website, you can expect that a technical audit of your website can help you get more website traffic. It can also help you convert more visitors to leads and more leads to customers. If you have a small business website, it may be the only technical analysis that your site needs.
What Will You Invest in the Free Business Website Technical Audit?
If you already have a business website, you probably have all the tools you’ll need to conduct your own content audit. The Hubspot Webiste Grader takes only seconds to analyze your site, but you will need some time to…
- review the results online and
- correct any issues that the Website Grader finds on your website
If you’re tech savvy, you may be able to fix problems revealed by the online app. If not, or if your time costs significantly more than that of a professional webmaster, you might consider outsourcing the fix to ensure a quick return on your investment (ROI).
What Sort of ROI Should You Expect on an In-House Technical Audit?
Your in-house technical audit ROI should come to your business in terms of website traffic, conversions, and sales. To determine the ROI on a blog or a website, you’ll need to look at the average lifetime value of your customer and compare that to how much time, effort, and money you invest in obtaining that customer.
Is a Free In-House Technical Audit Enough for Your Business Website?
The free audit that I describe here may not pick up every problem on a large, complicated site with many pages and diverse media. However, it does a nice job on smaller websites, like those that many start-ups have.
Fixing Technical Problems: Your Webmaster
Even if you cannot fix all the technical problems yourself, the Hubspot Website Grader provides you with a concise, non-technical report. You can print it out or send it to your webmaster. He or she can either fix the problem for you or show you how to do so.
A Business Website Content Audit
Most likely, you will also need a business website content audit. If you have time but no budget, you can also do it in-house. Just as with the technical audit, you might want to compare the cost of your own staff’s time and effort against that of outsourcing a content audit.
In addition, by the time you finish, you will have all the information that you need to put together your editorial calendar together. Once you have your editorial calendar planned out, it becomes much easier to write up the content for your website or delegate it to a professional copywriter who can quickly and efficiently work with you to get it onto your website or blog.
A Simple, Free Website Audit Tool: Hubspot’s Website Grader
I had actually done my first website audit, on my own website, with Hubspot’s Website Grader before I began conducting more complex audits on business websites. It’s free, quick, efficient, and very easy to use.
Using the Technical Audit Tool: Hubspot’s Website Grader
To use the tool, just add your website’s home page (or whatever root URL you use), your email, and click on “Get Your Answer.” It’s that simple.
Hubspot puts it all into a colorful, easy-to-digest one-page report. It graded my new website at 74 points: “This Site is OK.” According to Hubspot, that’s not too shabby, but has some room for improvement. Here’s what my new web page grade looked like on the first try:
It took seconds to generate the report, and the colored bars indicate that the …
- website performance (red) needs some work (14/30 points)
- mobile performance (green) looks good (30/30 points)
- search engine optimization (SEO) (orange) needs some tweaking (20/30 points)
- security (also green) looks fine (10/10 points)
Hubspot Website Grader: Performance
Scrolling downward on Hubspot’s Website Grader report, I come to the details on performance, and the app reminds me that,
“optimizing … website performance is crucial to increasing traffic, improving conversion rates, generating more leads, and increasing revenue.”Hubspot’s Website Grader report
The detailed “Performance” section looks like this:
Here, the Website Grader told me that my pages seem relatively light but excessive HTTP requests make the site slow. I need to “combine files to minimize the number of requests made.”
If I click on “Read more,” Hubspot sends me to a blog post entitled, “How to Reduce Your Website’s HTTP Requests.” It explains HTTP requests and, of course, tells how to reduce them on your website. You won’t find a more closely knit process, without a price tag attached, on the internet.
The Grader also points out that some of my pages are slow. Because I did a more complete website audit earlier this week, using Screaming Frog’s SEO Tool, I know that it’s because I have some gigantic images on a few pages.
Sure enough, when I click on the Hubspot link to the blog post, “5 Easy Ways to Help Reduce Your Website’s Page Loading Speed,” the first one listed, “Optimize Images,” tells me how to fix the problem. Once again, that’s pretty good service for a free app.
Hubspot Website Grader: Mobile
Google has put its mobile-first indexing into action, and search engines give priority to mobile-ready websites. According to Hubspot’s grader, Jeffrey Bacon Writing Services’ website scored well on being mobile ready. The responsive theme, Shoreditch by Automattic, apparently performs well on mobile devices.
Hubspot Website Grader: SEO
The free auditing tools suggests that the first iteration of the website looks fair but lacks a sitemap.
The blog post, “The Plain English Guide to XML Sitemaps,” on Hubspot’s website tells me exactly how to fix the problem. It even lists a number of free XML sitemap generators that I can use to build my XML sitemap.
Hubspot Website Grader: Security
The draft website also scored well on Hubspot’s security section, with 10 of 10 points.
According to the grader, the website’s
“SLL certificates protect the website from attacks and give visitors confidence that [the] site is authentic and trustworthy.”Hubspot Website Grader
What Should I do Next?
The Website Grader, the first tool used for the basic free website content audit, provides a list of suggestions to get started on improving the website grade:
As mentioned above, Hubspot suggests …
- Combining files to minimize the number of HTTP requests the site makes
- speeding up the site by lightening up the site’s pages, compressing images and video
- publishing a site map and submitting it to Google so that it can more easily crawl the website
That’s not too bad, really. All of the tasks I could do myself, but, I could also take the list to a webmaster to have them done for me. Either way, it does not cost too much to boost my website grade.
If your business’s budget is too small for a professional website technical audit or, if you have a tiny website, the Hubspot Website Grader makes an excellent tool for locating problem points that can negatively affect your traffic and conversions. Ensure that your business website and blog have the technical nuts and bolts to make for an enjoyable and efficient customer experience. A check-up on your the technical aspects of your website’s performance, safety, SEO, and mobile-readiness gets you a step closer to the top of the SERP.