Why you need an online store audit: frequently asked questions

Published in SEO2022-05-019 min read
Doing an audit

A comprehensive audit of an online store shows the strengths and weaknesses of the business, opening up new opportunities for optimization and profit increase.

Sales is the main and unchanging goal of an online store, to which every owner constantly strives. But what to do so that sales not only remain at the same level, but also grow regularly? Of course, you should always look for opportunities to improve your business, which is facilitated by a properly conducted audit of an online store.

Immediately note that this is much more than just an audit of the site. Let's see why.

What is an online store audit?

In the case of an online store, the audit consists in comprehensive testing and analysis of the site and its competitive environment. An audit tries to find both the good and weak points of e-commerce, trying to answer the question: why is a store selling and what needs to be done to sell more?

A website audit isn't a cure for bad sales, but it can help you find solutions that will boost conversions and improve users' perception of your business.

What are the main questions that an online store audit can answer:

  1. Why sales are at one level or another.
  2. At what point do most users leave the site.
  3. Is the security of the store at the proper level.
  4. How quickly the site loads with competitors.

All these are individually small factors, but together they give a general idea of the effectiveness of your commercial project.

When to conduct an audit of an online store?

At the current level of technological development, our experts recommend conducting a detailed audit of the online store every 2-3 years or in the following situations:

  1. before launching a major advertising campaign on the Internet;
  2. immediately after the opening of a new trading platform;
  3. when it seems to you that the design of an online store is outdated;
  4. when the site has not been updated for a long time;
  5. when you want to carry out SEO-optimization;
  6. when the store has too high a bounce rate;
  7. when you want to increase financial results;
  8. when the site crashes frequently.

To make a decision on conducting an audit of an online store, it is worth considering from what angle to test current decisions. For this, several types of audit are available to the business.

What are types of audit?

Companies offer various options for auditing commercial sites - some are expensive, others have to wait longer. On the Internet, you can find automatic analyzers that "look" at the state of the online store in the most general terms.

Still, it is better to contact qualified specialists who will look at the site critically and will be able to offer optimal solutions - after all, not all advice should be followed.

Usually, the audit of an online store covers several items, and their list may differ depending on the company with which you will cooperate.

The following are the most popular types of online store audits:

  1. UX audit;
  2. SEO audit;
  3. Technical audit;
  4. Audit of marketing activities;
  5. Audit of the mobile version of the site;
  6. Audit of competing sites, etc.

Which one to hold? It all depends on the condition of the store, the problems and the specific reasons why you decided to hold this event. If the platform has frequent failures, you should think about a technical audit. If you have problems with the number of visitors and you are not satisfied with the current SEO agency, order an SEO audit of the online store.

Of course, one of the most promising and attractive for almost every area of business is a periodic UX audit, which will help improve the perception of the store by users, check their opinions and emotions regarding your design.

Sometimes it is worth deciding on several checks of the online store, ordering a comprehensive audit. As part of this service, our team will disassemble the site, as they say, by cogs, and provide a detailed list of measures to improve and optimize it.

What do I need to check when auditing an online store?

Audit of an online store consists of many stages. It is difficult to say that one of them is more important than the others. Everyone needs to be given the attention they deserve in order to succeed.

Technical audit

To begin with, you should take into account all sorts of technical problems that affect the success of the online store. What does this study consist of? For example, analysis of page load time. The longer the site loads, the more likely it is that users will not wait for the store's offer and leave the site earlier.

A technical audit also includes a search engine test – how does it work for certain phrases? How convenient is it? Do the results match the queries?

SEO audit of the site

Search engine optimization is another element that cannot be avoided by conducting an online store audit. Especially since SEO can be tested and optimized in a variety of ways. Of course, the basis is the verification of individual meta tags.

Next, the product descriptions or individual URLs are checked. Then internal and external links. Finally, an analysis of published articles and product descriptions. There's a lot to do in terms of an online store SEO audit if you want to rank the highest in organic search results.

Don't forget about keyword analysis. Which keywords bring the most traffic to your online store? Which ones have the most impact on conversions? Such an analysis can completely change the entire SEO strategy, as well as affect the settings of the Google Ads or Facebook Ads advertising campaign.

Audit of competitor sites

It's not just SEO that's important. An integral element of the audit of a commercial site is the study of competing sites. How are they different? What testifies in their favor? What do people who buy there rather than our store like more?

Studying the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors can give some tips for improving and optimizing your own online store for the coming months.

During this analysis, you will learn about your strengths that need to be emphasized in communicating with customers. For example, it can be free delivery of goods or delivery within a maximum of two working days.

A comprehensive audit of an online store allows you to identify a distinctive feature of a particular business, which can become a powerful weapon in the hands of a skillful and intelligent owner. Highlighting a unique feature can have a significant impact on sales.

Content Audit

For many stores, content strategy is the basis of marketing activities, so it should also be included in the audit. How often do you read the texts posted on the store's blog? Does the blog translate into positioning? Do guides affect the sale of recommended products?

Audit is also a thorough analysis of all kinds of texts on the site, starting with blog publications and ending with the uniqueness of product cards.

How to prepare an online store for audit?

Do not particularly prepare for the audit. Everything should be as usual. It is best to check the performance of the online store in its "natural" conditions. Of course, you can conduct an audit yourself, but it is better that the store is checked by a person who has special knowledge, knows market trends and customer expectations.

Business preparation is more related to the changes that will occur after the audit of the online store. It all depends on what results the platform will get, and what measures your company decides to take. Effective implementation of the list of recommendations compiled on the basis of the results of the audit is what this is started for.

How much does an audit of an online store cost?

This is one of the most pressing issues in e-commerce. However, it is impossible to determine a fixed price for an online store audit. It all depends on the scope of the specific project and how comprehensive the audit should be. Will it focus on just one aspect, such as an SEO audit of an online store, or should it include an analysis of technical settings, design, UX, and everything else?

The cost of auditing an online store varies depending on the company whose services we will use. There are agencies that conduct an audit for 650$, and there are those that charge 20000$ for a comprehensive audit.

Of course, it's possible to self-test your platform using free SEO, UX, and website speed testing tools. However, in order to draw appropriate conclusions from this, you must have sufficient knowledge in the areas studied. Otherwise, the result will be close to zero or even negative!

For this reason, you should not save on the audit of the online store - it serves as a comprehensive assessment of your activities and gives direction for the further development of the entire business.

How to make an online store audit effective?

You have to remember that every store is different, so an individual approach is crucial. It's not just about a different engine, but about the differences in the target group or the principles of the store. Some expectations and requirements are imposed on the tycoon of the garment industry and others for a small stationery store.

When auditing an online store, you need to keep this in mind and select the amount of analysis individually, based on the criteria presented above. Only an optimized and thoughtful audit will bring good results and allow you to look at the store more broadly.

It should be remembered that the audit of a commercial site, although necessary, in itself will not lead to an increase in sales. Only the actions that a store owner takes based on an audit can directly affect the number of conversions. The audit gives advice and recommendations, but it is up to you to decide which one to implement and with what result.

What to do after the audit?

Usually, the waiting time for an online store audit is about 1-2 weeks.

Companies offering audits tend to suggest changes that need to be made. They have a number of specialists capable of raising the position of your site in Google, improving UX or creatively reworking the design.

Business needs to analyze the problems of the platform, consider the proposed solutions and set priorities. A lot depends on the budget. Some changes are costly but necessary, while others, although seem cosmetic, can lead to a significant increase in profits. It will not be superfluous to compare the comments of a third-party agency with the opinion of its responsible employees.

Sometimes an audit brings a completely new design and image of the firm. Of course, changing the appearance of the site is an important decision, and it should be carefully considered. Unfortunately, owners often get attached to the appearance of refusing to accept the redesign.

Audit results can be difficult to accept, take time to analyze, but they are also open to change and discussion. The main thing is to find out in what state your online store is, and be aware of its real shortcomings.