When auditing a website to identify opportunities for improvement, Peep Laja of the CXL Institute recommends organizing the site review in the following order:
Does everything on the site work? (Nothing else will matter if the site is broken!)
Is the site viewable on all devices? Also, is the site accessible to people who need a screen reader, for example?
Separate from functionality, is the site usable? Just how hard is it for a user to find what their looking for or complete a transaction?
Does the site structure and purpose make sense to site visitors? Do people understand what their looking at and how to use it?
How compelling is the presentation? Is it motivating?
Think of it this way: if the site has usability issues, no matter how persuasive the messaging is, your conversion rate (and consequently your objective) is going to suffer. So, before recommending copy changes to make the message more compelling, make sure the site is easy to use.
Similarly, if the site has accessibility issues and doesn’t display correctly on a mobile phone, it doesn’t matter how easy it is to complete a transaction.
So, when doing a site audit, start with the basics and work your way down the list to make sure you are addressing everything in a methodical way.