Is it time to do a healthcheck of your website?

Is it time to do a healthcheck of your website?

We’ve been working on a few web development projects for clients recently, either setting up new websites from scratch or reviewing ones that organisations already have. A professional looking website is more important than ever now. The pandemic has fundamentally changed people’s shopping habits and, more often than not now, potential clients will check out your website before deciding whether or not to do business with you.

It’s great to have the luxury to start completely from scratch but that’s not always possible, indeed it’s not always desirable. Often the website you already have is perfectly fine for your needs and may just need a bit of a refresh. It’s always worth taking the time to look at your website with fresh eyes once in a while and just make sure that it’s still fit for purpose. With that in mind, here’s a list of the sort of things we typically see as issues when we review clients’ sites.

 Is it GDPR compliant?

GDPR came into force in 2018 but four years later we’re still seeing websites that don’t comply with it. Obviously GDPR is a big topic, but at the very top level the things you should be thinking about here are to ensure that you have a privacy policy on your website and that you have a GDPR check box at the point at which you’re collecting people’s data. That means that if you have a contact form, a newsletter sign up box or any other place on your website where you’re collecting people’s personal data then you need to tell people how you’re going to use their data, give them a link to your privacy policy and ask them to proactively consent to having their data used in the way you’ve outlined. You also need to think about whether you’re storing people’s data in the backend of your website and, if so, how you manage that process to ensure their data is kept secure.

Does it comply with cookie regulations?

If you’re using any cookies on your website (for example if you’re running Google Analytics or a Facebook Pixel or there are any cookies used to run the functionality of your website itself such as shopping cart functionality) then you are required to tell visitors to your site that you’re using cookies and give them the chance to opt out at the point at which they arrive on your site. If your site is a few years old now then it’s possible that it won’t have been updated to include this requirement.

Check for broken links

Inevitably websites degrade over time. Broken links can creep in when pages are removed from the site without all the links to those pages being changed at the same time. You can link to third party sites or pages that have been moved or no longer exist. Broken links are a poor user experience and don’t give a very professional impression of your organisation so it really worth running a check every now to see how many you can find. Either you can do this manually if your site is small just by going through the pages and clicking on all the links or you can use an online link checking tool like this one.

Make sure all the forms work

If you have contact forms or sales checkout forms or any other forms on your site it’s really worth working through them as a user from time to time to make sure they’re working correctly. Do the field names all make sense? Does the form submit correctly? What notification does the user receive that their form has been submitted? Then take a look at the backend of the process. Where are those form submissions actually going? Who receives them at your end? Are they all being followed up? It’s not unusual to find forms going to the email address of someone who has long since left the organisation, or lots of form submissions sitting in the backend of the website that have never actually made it to you. Each one of those potentially represents lost business.

Is your website being backed up?

As your site becomes a more important resource for your business, so it’s more important than ever to make sure that you have a proper system of backups in place so that you’re able to get the site back up and running quickly and easily should you encounter a problem. If your site is hacked or you run into some other technical problem with it and you don’t have a proper backup available then you can find yourself with a very serious problem indeed. Talk to your hosting company and ask them what backups are in place and how you can access them if there’s a problem.

Is your website aligned with your social channels and the rest of your brand?

This can be just as simple as making sure that the contact details are the same on both your website and your social channels. It’s not unusual for a business to update its office address or telephone number or perhaps amend its logo and to make this change on the website but not on the social channels. You might also look at things like logos, contact details, company address and telephone numbers and check that they’re the same across all of your social channels and your website.

Does your website work well from Google’s point of view?

If you want your website to perform well in Google’s search listings then it’s worth trying to keep on top of what Google is looking for in terms of the kinds of sites that it rewards and those that it punishes. Obviously, SEO is a massive topic and can easily become a full time job but at the most basic level the kinds of things to think about are making sure that your site runs quickly and is mobile friendly. The older your site is, the more likely it is that these things will be issues for you. Google’s page speed insights tool and mobile friendliness checker will help you here.  

How we can help

We take on web development projects for our clients and can help you with any of the issues that I have raised in this blog, whether you’re building a new site from scratch or you want to optimise the one that you already have. Get in touch with us today to talk more about how we can help you.