Auditing an organisation or client’s online presence is essential. Not only does it allow the practitioner to gain a detailed overview of the client but it highlights any errors and areas for improvement which will only enhance the client’s overall online presence. In a previous post I noted some of the useful tools that are available to assist in conducting the online audit. This post will outline how I would go about  the auditing process with or without the online software/tools.

1. Track down any domain names – occupied or not. Find out which domains are owned by the client are which aren’t. Also note if similar domain names are available to buy and consider buying these for the client.

2. Sticking with the websites, check the content. A website will be one of the first places a consumer will look for information so the website needs to function appropriately. This is the stage where I would make notes on things that could be improved.

3. Analyse the client’s social media presence. This is where I would look at the messaging to make sure it is consistent across all social networking channels and matches up with the website. Another thing to think about is whether the client is just using social media to push messages or using it to create conversation and discussion. At this stage I would make recommendations on how to make the most of social media (if the client isn’t already doing so).

4. Consistent branding is crucial. Now I have a list of domain names and social networks – checking the logo, slogans and style is consistent across all channels is my next step. An organisation’s online presence needs to be complimentary and an online visitor should be able to identify if a Facebook or Twitter account belongs to the organisation – this is the client’s online identity.

5. The organisation’s tone also needs to be consistent across the social media channels. Social networking is a more relaxed environment so the conversation can be less corporate here. That said, the tone on the website may be slightly different as the website is often the information hub. The client’s website and social media presence should compliment each other and not appear too separate.

6. Links. Not matter how big or small the online presence is, there should always be suitable links and directions to the website or a particular landing page. Where a client has several domain names it is important, that if they are not in full use, that they are branded accordingly and also provide clear links to the main website.

7. Who is saying what? Finally conducting an audit of what others are saying is a great way to gauge stakeholder opinion and influence. Using tools like Radian6, Sysomos and Vocus will help to identify whether the conversation is negative or positive and who are the key opinion leaders.

Once I have worked through these stages I am then in a position to make suggestions in order to maximise the client’s online presence and ensure they get the most out of it.

Although this is how I would start an online audit I am sure there are plenty of other factors worth considering and with social media rocketing it may be beneficial to conduct two separate audits. The first covering the website and domain presence including visitor numbers, web states and details on SEO. The second audit would be purely social media including an analysis of where the client is being mentioned.