Top 8 Free Website Audit Tools For SMEs
June 08, 2022
8 Online Tools to Help Audit Your Website for Free
SINGAPORE – It’s not enough to be present, you also need to have presence. By now, you already know that any business is not complete without a content-rich and responsive website. It’s not only beneficial for brand building, but also serves as a store that gathers customers and feedback 24/7. If you’re reading this article, you probably already have a website of your own. If you don’t have a website, then check out how to create your own business website in Singapore.
Introduction: Handling a Website
Websites are created with a certain goal in mind. There are different types of websites you can opt to use that align with your business objectives. Sometimes, however, rather than being an asset, a website could hinder a business’s growth if left to stagnate and become outdated. This is why owners and agencies should be equipped with tools to help them improve their website on a regular basis.
In this article, you will…
- Identify website management problems;
- Understand what a Website Audit is;
- Know the free online tools to audit your website;
- Know why a small business should run a website audit regularly;
- Understand the value of having a responsive and updated website;
- Main takeaways of website auditing for small businesses.
Scenarios of website management problems
If you’re reading this right now, you may be a business owner or an agency experiencing one of the following scenarios:
- Your website doesn’t show up in the first page of the search results;
- You have a website, but you have little to no traffic;
- You keep paying for website ads, but there are little to no substantial engagement;
- Your website takes too long to load and take you to your desired page.
When it comes to website improvement, you may have already encountered the term: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which will help you boost your rankings and increase conversion rates for your business. While that is true, there is something that needs to be done prior to SEO — and that is conducting a Website Audit.
What is a Website Audit?
A Website Audit is a thorough examination of every page in your website. Think of it as a digital health checkup. With every result you can see how you are faring against your competitors, and how you can further improve your strategy and tactics for your business.
Search engines have crawlers which are used to gather data from every corner of the internet. Using website audit tools can measure a website’s crawlability – the rate of how well a search engine can access through every page and content of your website without running into broken links, dead ends, or redirects. Small businesses can really benefit from this type of examination as it can help provide a quick in-depth look at your website.
Goals of a Website Audit
The main goal for improving your website should be to improve its user experience. Remember, in website optimisation: users come first. This is why a website’s design, content and usability are supposed to satisfy an individual’s search intent. Running your website URL through website audit tools which are readily available online will help your business to accomplish the following website audit goals:
Identify Technical Errors
Learning, understanding, navigating, and fixing code takes up a huge amount of time and effort. Even a seasoned developer would find it difficult to go through each webpage just to identify potential issues. Running a website audit can provide detailed information regarding the technicalities of your website’s health.
Common Areas for Technical Errors
- Pages Markup
This is how a software can organise and label the parts of the page. It can control how the images and texts are displayed on a monitor or mobile screen. Not having markups makes it harder to manage the pages.
- Crawl Depth
This measures how many clicks it takes to arrive at a certain page or content. The lower the number, the better crawl depth results. If a certain content takes more than four clicks from the landing page, then crawlers may not even reach that content – resulting in a lower website score.
- Internal Links
As crawlability weighs heavily on your website score, internal linking is important to provide structure and smoother flow within the whole website. Depending on your content length and type, you would need to strike a balance on the number of internal links, since too many can overwhelm the user.
- Sitemap vs. Crawled Pages
As mentioned above, a crawl depth shows how easily your content can be accessed based on the number of clicks. This section compares the number of pages the crawlers are able to crawl, versus the number of the overall pages of the website. If the gap is significantly wide, then you may want to fix your linking.
- HTTP Status Codes
Have you ever encountered an empty or broken link that leads to an “Error 404” landing page? This is just one of the many technical errors under HTTP Status Codes. It refers to requests made to the web server, and too many errors and empty HTTP status codes negatively affects your website traffic.
When a specific page or URL has a tag “rel=canonical” then it is the preferred or master copy of the page. Having this tag helps search engines show that specific page instead of its duplicates, or other pages with similar content — preventing crawlers from becoming confused.
Analyse SEO Issues
SEO trends and algorithms are constantly updating to provide the most authoritative and relevant source for its users. There are times when website content provided today still follows outdated keyword tactics and now hurts the site’s SEO score. Conducting website audits with relevant tools can seek and guide you to remedy poorly executed SEO tactics.
Evaluate for Conversion Rate Optimization
One of the main pitfalls of a website is a high bounce rate. This occurs when users immediately close the site after arriving on the landing page. This in turn results in poor conversion rates and implies that your website is not gathering new leads and profit.
User Interface and User Experience issues
Another measure of a good website is its responsiveness and intuitive user experience. This is aligned with how websites should satisfy the search query of a user. A simple and intuitive user interface, such as easy navigation from one page to another, and faster loading pages, images or videos, all affect the overall performance of the website.
Provide Competitive Analysis with Competitors
Some online tools can provide competitive analysis to attain results which could help compete with search competitors as well as business competitors. This is often shown with keyword analysis, and site and page rankings.
Free online tools for website auditing
“Hands-on” or manual website auditing involves a tremendous amount of research and effort. That’s why larger companies often choose to pay for subscriptions to be able to perform automated website auditing. Luckily, there are several free website audit tools available online:
Pagespeed Insights is a free website audit tool that can score the loading speed of your website, and identify issues that may be hindering its responsiveness. It measures the webpage speed on both desktop and mobile when you simply enter your website’s URL and run a test. Its results show bottlenecks with the webpages, recommendations to improve your score, and improve the overall page load speed.
SEMrush Site Audit
SEMrush is a well-known name in the field of SEO. SEMrush Site Audit tool checks with more than a hundred high-speed crawlers, and provides you with in-depth information about the health of your website and how to fix issues with on-page SEO errors. Besides its technical analysis, it can also provide a comparison between crawls so you can easily identify if you’ve improved on a certain issue yet or not.
Ahrefs Site Audit Tool
Ahrefs is another free website audit tool that provides an exhaustive website analysis on SEO health, issues, and recommendations. The scope of Ahrefs site audit tool‘s crawl can check issues on HTML tags, Social tags, Content quality, Localization, and more. Its key data are automatically visualised in charts, and they also have a video tutorial in YouTube for more clarification.
GTMetrix is also a popular online web audit tool that can monitor website performance, and designed to monitor page performance as well. Even in the free version, it can keep the data of its results up to three months. It’s a beginner friendly tool that utilises data from Google PageSpeed Insights and YSlow.
Unlike other tools that let you run a test by pasting the URL, Website Grader requires you to provide your website URL along with your email address. After that, you will receive an easily understandable overview of the issues and performance results of your website. It covers four important parameters: Website Performance, SEO, Mobile Optimisation, and Security.
SEO Analyzer (by Neil Patel)
If there’s a name recognized by most people when it comes to Digital Marketing and SEO, it’s Neil Patel. He owns what is now widely regarded as one of the top 3 tools in website management — SEO Analyzer. It’s easy to use and operates quickly. It crawls through the pages for factors such as Site Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Headline tags, and Internal Linking.
With its simple and intuitive interface, WooRank provides in-depth analysis on your website, and even your competitors’ websites. It has a powerful keyword tracking tool that can also provide insights to improve your SEO campaigns. Plus, it allows you to sync your account with Google Analytics and pulls website ranking information from Alexa and SEMRush. You can use this tool for free during its 14-day free trial.
Screaming Frog is one of the leading website crawlers, and trusted by agencies for technical SEO audits. In the free version of this website audit tool, it can crawl up to 500 URLs to find broken links, errors, and redirects. It can also discover exact duplicate pages, analyse page titles and metadata.
Free website audit tools vs Paid website audit tools
As you can see from the list, there are plenty of free online website audit tools with a lot of benefits on offer. However, you may feel pressured into subscribing to a paid version immediately to ensure a well-rounded report on your website’s health. While this is true, you may want to weigh your options first.
Additional benefits of paid website audit tools
Depending on the tool, paid site audit tools can provide a more in-depth reporting with the crawl results. Some may also offer monitoring on a number of pages, as well as scheduled crawls to help you automate and keep track of site auditing. Additionally, free site audit tools are often limited to a few crawls (up to 50), but paid versions can offer much more, some without limitations.
Average cost of paid website audit tools
Since websites are essentially necessities in a business’s branding, the time and effort put into optimising it matches the value. Paid auditing tools can range from US$10 to US$1000 (around S$136 to S$1360) monthly. Consider the size of your website when looking at subscription costs, as more expensive options tend to be catered to large companies or enterprises rather than small business websites.
Are free versions enough for a small business?
For small businesses that perform website audits weekly or monthly, free tools are more than enough. Their crawl results can aid your SEO strategy planning and tactics. If you have full control over your website, you can immediately detect which pages and images need modification for SEO. If you have an agency to assist you, the results from free site audit crawls can be enough for them to fix codes and errors.
When should you consider subscribing to a paid version?
Website audit tools are very specialised at what they do. Subscribing to one usually means committing recurring costs to just website auditing alone. Usually, large companies and enterprises which handle more than one website benefit the most from the unlimited features that paid tools offer. As a small business that has already explored the free tools available, and determined which tool best suits your business needs, you may consider subscribing to one specific tool.
Why should a small business regularly conduct a website audit?
Investing time and effort in improving your website can help you build your brand and reach a wider scope of people — compared to relying solely on social media presence. With the rapid changes of demands, along with emerging competitors, you need to stay credible and relevant to your audience.
There isn’t a quick way or an easy formula to rank better in search results. Search engines like Google make tweaks in its algorithm constantly, to ensure that everyone has a fair chance of ranking, and that the audience can choose the most relevant answer to their search query. The best way to achieve this state is to conduct a website audit regularly to ensure everything is in great condition, and to spot room for improvement.
How important is a responsive website?
Besides better user experience, there is a huge chance of missed opportunities if a business’s website is not a top priority.
Billions of active users
Based on the 2022 report of Datareportal, the world’s global population stands at 7.91 billion, with around 4.95 billion making up the total number of internet users. This represents a 4% growth from 2021 to around 62.5% today. Globally, each internet user spends a daily average of 6 hours and 58 minutes, while users in Singapore spend a daily average of 7 hours and 29 minutes.
From these statistics, you can already see how a large portion of the market is on the internet now. As for brand discovery and interaction, research shows that 31.7% of the discovery of brands, products, and services are via search engines. And each month, 44.2% of users visit a brand’s website the most compared to other brand-audience interaction.
People are more willing to buy online
The reports have also shown that people are more willing to spend their money through online purchases in 2021. There was an increase in weekly online purchases, with 58.4% of the worldwide population and 62.8% of Singaporeans making purchases online. This behaviour may have also been influenced by the trend of online grocery shopping, with roughly 28.3% of people worldwide and 30.5% of Singaporeans doing so.
These figures represent just some of the data reported which shows how crucial it is to build and maintain a good digital presence.
When you run a website, you don’t just create one without proper upkeep and hope to gain traffic and conversions. A website is your store – your story – on the internet. When optimised, it’s an asset in building a strong brand and increasing profits. But when left outdated, it will be your business’s downfall.
There are many other free website audit tools online that you can access for free, but we’ve narrowed down the best ones that are most often mentioned and praised by web agencies and SEO analysts. By using some of these free website audit platforms, you’ll be equipped with the right tools to examine your website performance and overcome any site management issues.