It’s helpful in life to know where you stand. Whether it is at your job, in your personal relationships, or your standing in fantasy sports pools. If you’re an online retailer, knowing how to do an ecommerce site audit will really help you understand challenges and identify opportunities.
Ecommerce site audits can cover a variety of areas; from content and SEO, to site performance, and conversion leakage. The example discussed here is an audit we did for a long-time client in which we focussed on UI (user interface) and UX (user experience).
Note: UI is what you look at, the visual appearance of the pages, where UX comprises issues like usability, navigation flow, content delivery and buy paths.
Audit Before Switching Ecommerce Platforms
The reason for this audit was to ensure continuity as the retailer switched ecommerce platforms. A long-time Yahoo! Store, it wanted to ensure user interface continuity to reproduce on its new Magento site all the Yahoo! platform functionality that FastPivot had developed over the years.
You can think of the results of our audit (summarized below) as a pre-migration blueprint or site spec for the new site. It helped us and the client understand what in the current site should be replicated on the new site, or simply cast into the garbage bin of ecommerce history. For example, one of the technologies/products the client was using was the Baynote Cross Sell offering. While it appeared on almost all of the site pages, it wasn’t retained in the new design.
Note: Site audits also have to consider the business operations of the retailer. In this case, our client was a Global 1000 company with multiple business units. As a result, site content was divided, products grouped and sales tracked by business unit.
If you want to know how to do an ecommerce site audit on a technical level, here is how we divided our analysis into categories. It made life easier for everyone; our FastPivot auditing team, our client contacts and the client’s technical staff with whom we closely collaborated while the new site took shape. The categories were:
- Global (site shell content/scripting)
- Content Details
- Top level Categories (super categories & aggregate pages)
- Section Level (non-super categories)
- Sub-Section Level (Family Pages ie: Pages with products as children)
- Item/Product Level
- Shopping Cart
- General notes/technologies used
- Main RTML Templates (for internal indexing)
- Note: There were 15 in total
- Note: Files that were stored in the Yahoo! library were primarily .js and .css
That’s it. In the next post, I’ll discuss the details of how to do an ecommerce site audit when you start digging deep into each category. One of the most interesting lists we compiled was all of technologies that had been integrated into this ecommerce site over the years. The breadth will surprise you.