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THE Boutique Website Audit

Can you afford 15-30 minutes to check up on your website!?!? Or the question is, can you afford not to??

Running a successful online boutique takes many things:
  • Mindset, grit and pure hustle (especially during times like right now)!
  • Proper business goals
  • Legit marketing strategies
  • Ongoing optimization efforts across the board (on your website, and within all your marketing strategies)

That sounds like a lot of work, right!?!? And it is! But let's start with something simple! A website audit to make sure that website of yours is in tip top shape (to really boost the odds of conversion of those that are hitting your website).

Before I dive into the details/steps of your audit, I also have a fancy YouTube video up with a couple mini-website critiques I did for you ladies to check out - where I followed a similar process to the one I outline below!

One: Your 'Above the Fold'

If you haven't heard this term before, let me introduce you! Basically, on both the mobile and desktop version of your website, the 'above the fold' is what your visitor sees when they hit your homepage (or whatever page they land on first) before they scroll AT ALL. Because sometimes, that's ALL you get. That nano-second can help your visitor determine whether they are going to stay on your website any longer or just bounce (cuz they just ain't that into you).

So make it count! This should not be a large block of text (they don't give a hoot about you enough yet to want to read something, especially if it's at all stuffy or boring). This should not be a photo that they can't even see in it's entirety without scrolling (like seeing the top of someone's head is not likely to be enough to intrigue them to scroll. And there should be a call to action right there front and center too. Whatever you are highlighting in your main photo, where can your customer get that or see more items like that? Make sure the whole image is a clickable link.

Two: Getting Visitors to Follow You

You've probably heard this a million times before. But I'll tell it it to ya one more time. A new (cold, doesn't know you) visitor to your website, and heck even warm visitors most of the time, ain't gonna buy from you on the first click. Why do you think the industry standard for conversions (the percentage of visitors that actually purchase) is only 2%! You gotta court them a bit first, you know, really lay on the romance lol (did you know about my love for analogies yet)?

BUT - that means you have to figure out, very strategically, how to get them to agree to a second date. Do you have your Facebook pixel installed, tracking your data, so you can re-target them using Facebook Ads? Do you have strong, clear call to actions to get them to: subscribe to your e-mail, join your facebook group, download your app, sign up for your text messages?

Now - here's the other thing. Would it be great if they followed you ALL the ways? Um, yes. But it's not likely. At least not the first few times they hit your website anyway! So be strategic about exactly what you are trying to get them to do. Where is it the MOST beneficial for them to follow you (aka where do you put most of your efforts and see most of your results)? I'm not saying to not offer all the ways (cuz, yes some visitors may have their own preference). But just think about it this way, if they were only going to do ONE of these things - which one would you want them to do? Make sure that one is front and center then :)!

Three: Your Website's Product Organization

Imagine 3 particular products (very different products from each other) that you know you have in stock right now. Write them down!

Now, go to your homepage and find those products as quickly as you possibly can (not using the search feature), with as few clicks as possible! Maybe your website organization is amazing and this exercise doesn't bring anything to light for you. BUT if you had any trouble finding your item, or it took you several clicks to do, then how is your customer ever going to find that item?

Now, search for these items again with your search bar (make sure you have a search bar)! Only, forget your product titles. Put yourself in your visitors shoes. If they were looking for that item, what search terms might they try? Were your 3 items easy to find this way? If not, what can you improve about your product titles or tags to help? And - did you know that some paid themes have fancier search functionalities than others, example (this is on my favorite theme, Turbo, which I explain why it's my favorite in detail over on our YouTube channel)! You can check out that theme here.

As a bonus, do have a shop by size menu in place, like here? So that your customer can see only what's in stock in their size?

OR do you have size markers showing before your customers even click through to an item showing them? Like this:

On that note, unless you re-stock items often, do you have your product collections set to filter out items that are out of stock? While there is an argument for leaving them (this strategy would be about scarcity and urgency), I actually think it's better to filter them out, so your visitor doesn't get the impression that 'everything is always out of stock' or so they don't see something they love and are bummed they can't get it, so they leave without purchasing anything at all. NOW what works for your business, works for your business. Just something to keep in mind.

Four: Your Customers Purchase Journey

Check out your website (on both mobile and desktop) and analyze your customers journey! Like from landing on your homepage, through to order confirmation page! Notice anything particular that would be confusing for your grandma (cuz at all ages, some website visitors are just not tech savvy, if they get too confused - they will just bounce)? You want to make sure the whole process is as smooth and painless as possible.

Is anything obstructing or even partially obstructing key links/buttons throughout this process (particularly on mobile, but could be an issue on desktop too)?

Five: Trust Indicators

Within just 1-2 clicks on your homepage, can your customer find out:
  • How much you charge for shipping
  • How long you take to ship out
  • What your return policy is and how one would file for a return?
  • Information about you, and how to contact you (like a contact form)
  • Do you collect reviews? And if so, do you have them well highlighted (you can even add a Shopify app to show your Facebook Reviews right on your website).

Six: Your Product Pages

Had you considered whether your product pages were optimized? Think about:
  • Whether it's easy on mobile and desktop to see all options (colors, sizes, etc).
  • Whether your product description includes sizing, materials and other information that might help you customer make their decision on that item (if the item is USA made, or ethically made, you want to highlight that)!
  • Your visitor should not have to scroll much or click into anything to see these above items! So overall, I seldom recommend tabbed descriptions. Most aren't likely to click the tabs.
Did you know, again, with the turbo theme example, that you can setup a tri-panel product page like this to highlight important information (such as a sizing guide area that will show on all product pages)? Like so:

Seven: Link Checks

Whew. Ok this one is easy but just a bit tedious. A good thing to outsource to a trusted VA actually. Just click on every single menu link (in your main and footer menus). Click on every button/link/graphic on your homepage. And click on any links with your sub-pages. You just never know where a mistake was missed or something is pointing to something outdated!

On that note - have you customized your 404 error page? So that if someone does hit a dead link, it looks more like this here? Or what does yours say/look like. Do you give them any sort of reason to give you another chance?

OK. Whew. That's it. We're done. No big deal, right!

Good luck girl, get to auditing!

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