I don’t have an app usage tracker installed on my phone, but if I do, I’m almost certain that both Feedly and Pocket would be ranked in the top 5 of my most used app. I read a lot is what I’m trying to say, partly because my professional obligation as a writer requires me to and partly because I simply like to read. It’s no surprise then that any changes made to either of these two apps, no matter how small, could wreak havoc to my daily lives, as recently happened with Feedly late in 2018.
Okay, perhaps wreak havoc is a tad too melodramatic but I remember sitting on the bus, opening Feedly only to find myself befuddled by this alien thing that’s staring at me from my phone screen. Change is always uncomfortable but as I tinkered with the updated app more and more, it dawned on me that these changes were for the better, even if it takes some getting used to. Technology in web development is ever-changing, which is why performance audits are essentially necessary for websites to retain their competitiveness overtime.
Audits from a technological perspective
The term audit is something we usually hear from a financial perspective. I remember when I used to work for this ISP where audits can be such a nightmare that I, still working for the project division at the time, was gently asked to not come into the office that day and simply head out to one of my project sites. A performance audit, in which the performance of a company’s program or a function is evaluated might not carry the same amount of repercussion but is still necessary nonetheless.
In this piece, we’re talking specifically about a website audit where a website’s performances in 4 different key metrics – usability, measurability, security and searchability – are measured. As with financial audits that are performed before the end of each financial year, website audits should also be performed regularly, accounting for the shifts in consumer trends and progress in technology which would necessitate a moving goalpost.
Websites should never be looked at as a once and done deal but on the other hand changing for change’s sake is also something to be frowned upon. The Feedly case I mentioned at the beginning for example was so controversial that the Feedly team opted to add an alternative option – the appropriately named Feedly classic – to satisfy those uncomfortable with the changes. What you need is something to let you know whether changes necessary are not and what part needs changing and a website audit can help you with that.
On the technical side, they can help you optimize performance
In 2013, the Porsche 918 Spyder managed to lap the 20-km ‘Green Hell’ that is the Nürburgring Nordschleife just a hair under 7 minutes, 6 minutes and 57 seconds to be exact, which at the time was the fastest lap ever clocked by a production car. Just last year, Lamborghini smashed that record with their Aventador SVJ with a laptime of 6 minutes and 44 seconds. Back in 2013, a car that manages to lap the Nordschleife in less than 7 minutes was something to be celebrated. In 2018, I simply reacted with a shrug.
The bar for performance standards are always raised higher as time passes. What was cutting-edge 12 months ago might only be acceptable now and what was acceptable then is now outdated. Proper website audits don’t just tell you if you’re simply lacking, they would also tell you exactly where you are lacking. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and anything that could help you maintain competitiveness should always be considered.
They’re like regular health check-ups for your website
You typically don’t want to go more than three years without a visit to the hospital for a medical check-up, possibly shorter for those with a condition. This same line of thinking is also why website audits should be performed periodically, especially considering all of the contents you’ve uploaded in the intervening year. Obesity isn’t just a problem for the population; it’s also a problem the internet needs to deal with. If you’re wondering why Google’s AMP project exist, this is one of the reasons why.
To keep you abreast of the latest developments on security and privacy
It has been a long time coming and while it took a legitimate threat to democracy to shine a spotlight in this issue, people all across the world are now aware of the issue with internet privacy. With GDPR in effect and the rise of alternative search engines such as DuckDuckGo, it’s quite obvious that the issue of users’ data and privacy is just going to be more prominent in the future. As governments around the world confront internet privacy issues, expect rapid developments on this frontier and having regular website audits could keep you in the loop of all the latest developments in the field.
To regularly evaluate how you are doing with your SEO efforts
SEO is part science, part art and part snake oil and Google’s lack of transparency when it comes to their search algorithms aren’t making things any better. On top of that, the search engine giant constantly updates and refines their algorithms as they continually strive to make these algorithms more human and come up with a more appropriate response to our queries. Long story short, SEO can be tough and knowing whether you’re heading in the right direction can be confusing if you don’t know which direction is right in the first place.
Website audits alleviate this particular issue by evaluating your website with industry-accepted best practices and help you identify areas you’re falling short in. Additionally, there are a number of free, regularly updated audit tools available that keeps up with Google’s regular updates so you don’t have to. Despite popular beliefs, it is possible for you to have your cake and eat it too, in terms of website at the very least.