How we give your website a ‘once-over’
We like to kick things off with a WOO.
Not in a hideous, shiny suited, over the top sales office kinda way, though, don’t worry.
WOO stands for Website Once Over. It’s an acronym that really writes itself and we think it would be worse not to use it. So there. Website Operational Audit doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Not to mention WOA is a noise that makes people uneasy. So WOO it is.
A WOO is exactly what you think it is. We dive into your website and carry out a series of checks and tests to make sure everything is working as it should be.
After we’ve done that we compile a report for you. This will include all our findings as well as a Custom Works section. This details the work we carried out there and then, as well as recommendations for you on what you could consider doing next to improve certain aspects of your site.
In an ideal world this is where you, the client, falls over themselves to sign up to our website care plan and tells us about your next amazing website project you’d like some help with.
But if you’d rather have someone else do the work for you, no problem! The report is yours to keep and details everything another business would need to know to carry out the recommendations.
I’m painfully aware that in the digital world there is nothing worse than being told some ‘tests’ and ‘scans’ say you have to pay someone lots of money, so here’s what we ACTUALLY do on your website.
The very first thing to look at as part of a WOO is the website design.
This does not mean you’ll have your colour palate or logo torn to shreds!
This is our opportunity to look at the website from a user’s perspective. In this section we’re interested in;
- Content – is your website displaying all it’s content correctly? Are there any broken links that need to be fixed? Rather than fix these immediately we will include these in the report as you may have other ideas about customer journey and links once you’ve gone through the whole report.
- UX – this is short for ‘User Experience’. UX takes into account what your users will need and want from your site. We’ll analyse the customer journey through your site and identify any potential barriers to action that may be in place. This is any element that may slow down, or inhibit in any other way, a preferred action such as a purchase or mail list sign-up. Your report will include advice on how to improve the UX of your entire website.
- Design & layout – are your images all showing correctly with the correct dimensions? Are all of your visual elements and assets clear, visible, and doing what they should be doing? Are they congruent with each other – for example, are they all the same colour or part of your branding palette? ….you’d be surprised how often they’re not.
From here we take an overall look at the website basics before focusing on the details.
This overview will include things like checking the dates of the last backup in place, if indeed there is a backup at all! This will show when the backup was done, what version of WordPress you’re currently using, how many active plugins you have running, your active theme, and a few other bits and pieces.
This information is important as it will inform us of what updates need to be done and perhaps in what order to avoid conflicts.
We also run a site speed and site performance test and include your results.
There will be an opportunity to further optimise the site whilst we carry out the WOO as part of the service. This includes a general clean up of your files as well as specific plugin analysis.
This works in the same way as a disk cleanup on your computer. Removing deadwood and unnecessary extra files allows your website to function smoothly.
This is done in a number of ways;
Explaining this in any great detail would get confusing so think of this as clearing your ‘temporary files’.
You may have noticed spam comments mounting up on your back end. Dealing with them can be a time consuming job and many people let it get out of hand. We’ll sort that out for you.
Every time you put something onto your WordPress website you create a post revision. That could be a product, article, or page. From that moment any time you make any revision at all, your website saves a copy. So, if you change a comma to a semi-colon in a blog post your website will retain a copy of the original post and the edited post.
As you can imagine, if your site has hundreds or even thousands of products and you’ve spent a lot of time editing all the listings over the last few months, that’s an enormous amount of post revision files that have been saved and stored. Clearing out these unnecessary posts will help your website’s performance.
A ‘plugin’ is a catch-all term used to describe a piece of software that has been written by a developer to carry out a specific task.
As you can imagine, there are thousands of plugins available. Some are written by companies or individual developers that know exactly what they’re doing,have a great reputation and provide brilliant support. Some will be written by aspiring developers or coders in their bedrooms and may not be as reliable. Knowing which is which is important and, unfortunately, only comes with time and experience.
We analyse the plugins you are currently using to establish a few things.
Are your plugins up to date?
Updating plugins is very important but can be a tricky business. Plugins that have happily coexisted for months on a site may cause one another functional problems after an update. Knowing how, and sometimes when, to update your plugins is important. We’ll make sure they’re all updated and working properly together. If, for whatever reason, this is not possible (it happens!) we’ll let you know and recommend a solution.
Are your plugins supported?
A supported plugin will be adapted in line with updates to WordPress as well as other plugins. The developers who make them will also provide ‘patches’ or ‘fixes’ to potential upcoming conflicts with WordPress if a major core update is due. We’ll make sure the plugins in use are supported and provide recommendations if not.
Are they the best plugin for the job?
There are many plugins available to do simple tasks but not all plugins are created equal. Using the information already gathered above we assess your collection of plugins as a whole and establish if you’re currently using the best set for the functionality you need. Your report will include our recommendations.
We will ensure you have a solid security plugin in place, which is configured correctly. If you don’t we will install a free, but top-of-the-line plugin immediately as security is so important.
If you become a website care plan client then we will install our premium security plugin of choice, and the cost of this plugin licence will be covered in your monthly subscription. This will allow us to provide even better security for your site.
We’ll also make sure your SSL certificate is working correctly and make recommendations if we find any errors.
Technical SEO is defined as;
“any sufficiently technical action undertaken with the intent to improve search results”Russ Jones, SEO consultant for MOZ & SEO specialist for System1
This can include how your website is designed to facilitate crawling & indexation by Google, through to site speed and structure. There’s a lot more involved in this element but that’s a blog post for another time.
We make all the changes we can to improve your SEO without impacting on your sites’ current functionality or appearance. Other recommended changes will be included in your report.
The final element of your report will consist of ‘Custom Work’, this lists all the recommendations we’ve made to optimise your existing website. It also includes our recommendations for elements not already present that will improve the functionality, speed, UX, or any other aspect of your website we believe to be beneficial to your business.
This entire report will be given to you as part of the process. From that point forward we can quote for any extra work you may want us to carry out, we can sign you up to our website care plan for continued maintenance and upkeep, or – if you prefer – you can take the report away with you and engage another business to carry out the work we recommend.
The next steps
Obviously in an ideal world we would love to continue working with you on your website, have you as a care plan client, and instigate your next big online project.
Most businesses that invest in a WOO follow this path and end up becoming long term clients – with or without the big digital projects on the horizon.
Don’t just take our word for it, though! Our lovely client Fleur from rocksnchains.com has been a client for 8 years and a care plan client for 2. She has very kindly recorded a video testimonial for us that you can watch below;
So if you’d like to end as we began, with a WOO, get in touch!