For the majority of businesses in operation today, a solid web presence is imperative to ongoing success. However, many business owners hand over responsibility for their websites to a single digital agency, often without ever seeking a second opinion on the work that is carried out on their behalf.
Whilst there are many reputable agencies out there, doing a great job for their clients and delivering an excellent return on investment; there are also many more who will do the minimum amount of work possible for the maximum fee. This can often lead to a chasm between the client and supplier, where the client becomes suspicious that their agency is not paying them much attention but is afraid of “switching off the SEO” or changing supplier, for fear of dropping out of Google’s rankings. Of course, the reality is that you can’t just switch on or off SEO, and an over-reliance on just one supplier is not very healthy to your website audits.
It’s fine to seek a second or third opinion on your website
Your website may well be your most important marketing asset and possibly your biggest driver of revenue. Trusting one supplier to oversee the management of your website, and all the digital channels that feed into it, therefore poses a significant risk. To use an investment analogy, this is the equivalent of placing all your capital into one business rather than setting out a diversification strategy to minimise the risk. As such, it’s absolutely fine to seek regular appraisals of your website by other suppliers in the field. You don’t have to cut ties with your current supplier and a forward-thinking agency partner ought to be open to the input of other stakeholders.
Tips on implementing regular website audits
If you are a small business or start-up with limited funds, yourself or a member of your marketing team might be tempted to have a go at auditing your website in-house. If so, there are many resources out there that can help you to do this effectively. James Hubbard’s list of SEO and website audit tools is a good starting place, offering a near comprehensive overview of the checks that should be carried out as part of a high quality audit. Some of the tools mentioned within this post, such as ahrefs.com and Screaming Frog, are like self-contained audit studios that are worth the investment if you are determined to bring the auditing function in-house. Hubspot’s ‘How to Audit Your Website’ guide is also a highly recommended read.
However, there are numerous benefits to bringing on board a third party to overlook the work that has been carried out recently on your website. This includes the following:
- A fresh perspective from a new set of eyes – it’s easy for “website fatigue” to set-in both on the part of your in-house team and your agency. Many months or years spent looking at a website can mean that obvious issues are completely overlooked. A third-party auditor may be able to help you highlight quick wins that will have a direct impact on your bottom line.
- Gain insight from a contractor immersed in the subject – your internal marketing staff might know the basics of SEO but are they experts in their field? For many SMEs, employing a full-time SEO genius isn’t an option but hiring one occasionally to look over your site makes a lot of sense.
- Create a productive collaboration between your agency and your other contractors – employing freelancers to appraise different facets of your online proposition, be it SEO, Google Ads, Social Media or Conversion Rate Optimisation, is a healthy endeavour. This shouldn’t be threatening to your main digital agency partner and, if pitched to them correctly, ought to be the basis for healthy collaboration where problem solving becomes a joint effort between the parties.
Many owners of smaller businesses understandably form an overreliance on one supplier to carry out activity around their website, such as SEO. Often it is a fear of offending the supplier or a fear of losing traffic, rankings and/or revenue that compels owners to implicitly trust their provider of digital services. However, forward thinking suppliers ought to be open to collaboration and input from other experts in their field. Regular website audits by another third party, perhaps every six months or so, will help you to identify any new or recurring flaws or issues with your web property, which could mean the difference between a website which breaks even or one that is highly profitable.