Specialist Site Audit Skills

Specialist Site Audit Skills

Writer Evan Fees: $1,000 - $2,500 (plus 10% GST) to write up a report (usually 10 to 13 pages with screen shots)

Web Content Expert/Web Copywriter

  • I look at the messages on a site: especially how they appeal to visitors,
    how they flow, how they guide someone from page to page, how they
    focus on the visitor’s needs, how they drive an action as a purchase
  • Ideally, web content experts (like me) also look at how the SEO
    keywords are used smoothly within the messages, making sure
    persuasive sales copy comes first while keywords are woven for search

So what is Optimized Web Content?

A) Persuasive sales copywriting based on proven direct-response principles
(after all, you’re trying to get site visitors to respond by taking a specific
action, right?)

B) Keyword research and a strategic placement of key phrases woven
smoothly and ethically into customer-focused messages and code.

C) An understanding of web usability and other technical web aspects such
as clear navigation that helps guide visitors and convenient one-click
access to product pages

Most Websites do not work for the following reasons:

  • Someone who didn’t understand web copywriting best practices wrote
    the content
  • A web designer was in control of the page flow, and therefore made a
    lovely animated photo image the star of each page

How the Site Audit positions Writer Evan as an expert

A) As a professional web copywriter, he’s perceived as someone who
understands web copywriting that works

B) As someone focused on learning SEO, he automatically knows more
about the “mysterious world of SEO” than the client

C) He follows best practices to evaluate and demonstrate how the client
measures up

D) He offers sound recommendations based on industry standards and

E) He works at this every day to stay on top of trends and what works
online today

Opportunities for Improvement

  • Adding an optimized, benefit-oriented headline and other value
    messages to each page to quickly establish the client’s unique promise
    to visitors
  • Plus, reorganize the content brief, scannable sections so people with
    short attention spans will know what the client offers at a glance
  • Showing clients awesome demo video as a “paused screen” to give visitors the option to play it, so they’re not surprised by the initial load time delay/the sudden soundtrack blasting at them
  • Adding a page title with the client’s business name, keywords and an inviting sentence for each page to help attract people through the client’s search engine displays

What does a Specialist Site Audit include?

Cover Letter/Summary: Thank the client for this project and summarize your audit approach, objectives, overall findings and recommendations.

Messages: Review the Home page and sub-pages for:

On-page text, including clarity and customer-focus in headlines, subhead and body copy plus “scannabilty”, tone, active vs. passive language, readability, etc.

Behind-the-scenes text for SEO, including the use of keywords in the page title and meta descriptions.

Usability Checklist and Findings (content-related): Check for standard navigation style, expected button names, minimal number of clicks to arrive at an order page, etc.

Screen Shots: Provide snapshots of the current website plus its search engine results.

Notes: Add notes to the screen shots, pointing out findings and areas for improvement.

Definitions and Explanations: Help the client understand industry jargon you need to use.

Strengths and Areas for Improvement: Include a clear, bulleted list of content strengths (“what’s working”) and barriers to success (“what’s not” working, such as missing items, broken links, colours that make it hard to read the text, etc.)

Recommendations: Provide a clear list of specific recommendations. Be careful to list the “what’s needed” recommendations; not the “how to” fix the problems.

Initial Keyword Review: You may need to include recommended keywords if the website isn’t optimized for search engines. But you won’t be doing extensive keyword research at this point, just sampling for one or two pages.

Closing: Summarize the overall findings once more and offer a proposal for making the content improvements you recommend.

Source: Site Audits Made Simple: Consult Your Way to Lucrative Web Copywriting Projects by Pam Foster – for American Writers & Artists Inc. since 1997, pp. 11-12.
Published by:
American Writers & Artists Inc.
101 SE 6th Avenue, Suite A
Delray Beach, FL 33483
Phone: 561-278-5557
Fax: 561-278-5929
Website: www.awaionline.com