How to Do a UX Audit of Your WordPress Site (2022 Guide)

After 15 years of building and auditing hundreds of WordPress sites, I can tell you that user experience is key to online success.

This comprehensive guide will teach you, a fellow WordPress user, how to perform a full UX audit of your site.

Follow these steps, and you‘ll identify issues hurting conversions and engagement. More importantly, you‘ll learn exactly how to fix them.

Let‘s get started!

What Is UX and Why Should You Care?

User experience (UX) refers to how visitors interact with and feel about your website. It includes:

  • Ease of finding information: Can users quickly locate what they need in your navigation menus, content, and page layouts?
  • Simplicity of using features: How intuitive are your forms, shopping carts, menus, and other interactive elements?
  • Ability to achieve goals: Can visitors easily complete desired actions like purchases, downloads, signups, etc.?
  • Overall sentiment: Is the experience satisfying and positive, or confusing and annoying?

According to surveys by Segment, up to 37% of users will stop engaging with a website if they have a poor experience. That means almost 4 in 10 visitors that you worked hard to attract are leaving unhappy.

Even more alarming is that only 23% would consider returning after a bad UX according to PwC research.

On the other hand, optimized user experience has tremendous business impact:

  • Increased conversions: Illinois Institute of Technology found that for every 1 second delay in page load time, conversion rates dropped 7%. Fast, usable sites get more sales.
  • Lower bounce rates: SoftwareAdvice discovered that bailout rates can be cut in half simply by improving web usability.
  • Higher revenue: A Baymard Institute study showed that sites with excellent UX generate up to 400% more revenue per visitor compared to sites with poor UX.

Clearly, creating a smooth, painless experience for your site visitors pays huge dividends. Auditing and enhancing UX needs to be a top priority.

Step-By-Step Guide to Auditing UX on Your WordPress Site

User experience depends on many elements working together seamlessly.

Let‘s go through each one so you can diagnose flaws and make improvements.

1. Define User Goals and Create Personas

Put yourself in the shoes of your target visitors. What do they want or expect when coming to your site?

For an eCommerce site, their goals may include:

  • Browsing products
  • Adding items to the cart
  • Checking out securely
  • Tracking order delivery

If running a blog, readers probably aim to:

  • Find posts about certain topics
  • Absorb information quickly
  • Share content
  • Comment on articles

On a services website, common goals are:

  • Learning about what you offer
  • Understanding pricing
  • Booking appointments or contacting you

Document 1-3 typical user personas – make them fictional visitors like "Jake the Marketer" or "Sarah the Busy Mom".

For each persona, specify details like:

  • Name, age, location
  • Needs and pain points
  • Technical proficiency
  • Goals on your website

Refer back to these personas when evaluating elements of your site. For example, "Does this form make sense to Jake the marketer?"

2. Identify Any Usability Issues

Usability refers to how easily and intuitively visitors can use your site.

Common usability problems include:

  • Hard-to-use features – Forms, shopping carts, popups or other tools don‘t work as expected. They confuse and frustrate visitors.
  • Small text – Menu links, buttons, and body text are too small to read comfortably on both desktop and mobile.
  • Unclear navigation – Poorly labeled menus, hidden pages, and site architecture make it hard to find information.
  • Slow performance – Initial load times over 3 seconds caused by non-optimized images, scripts, videos or weak hosting turn off users.

Thankfully, there are tools that can automatically detect many usability problems:

  • Google Search Console – Google‘s free site health tool flags crawling, mobile usability, and performance issues.
  • PageSpeed Insights – Tests site speed on desktop and mobile while providing optimization tips. Aim for scores above 90.
  • Gallop – Browser extension identifying 37 different web vitals showing opportunities.
  • WAVE Tool – Finds issues with color contrast, ARIA attributes, keyboard access, and more.

However, I always recommend clicking around your site yourself pretending to be a new visitor. Try to complete key tasks like:

  • Finding a specific page or blog post
  • Using a contact form
  • Adding products to a cart and checking out
  • Searching for information

As you manually interact with important elements, look for anything confusing, broken, or annoying. Your users will encounter the same frustrations!

3. Check Google Analytics Behavior Reports

While automated tools are handy for catching surface-level issues, your analytics reveal how real humans use your site.

Focus on user behavior reports showing:

  • Bounce rate – Pages with high exit percentages likely have UX issues.
  • Pages per session – Low numbers indicate visitors aren‘t digging in to other pages.
  • Average session duration – Very short times often signal problems.
  • Goal conversions – Any goals like email signups happening infrequently may need UX fixes.

For example, analytics may reveal your contact page has a 60% bounce rate and 15-second average session duration. Something is clearly turning off visitors immediately when they land there.

Popup forms and overly-promotional content are common culprits. Review the page and rewrite content or simplify the layout to reduce exits.

4. Gather Direct Feedback from Visitors

As WordPress users ourselves, we often get blinded to UX issues on our own sites that are glaring to an average visitor.

The best way to avoid this bias is asking your audience directly about their experience. Some easy ways to gather feedback:

  • Embedded surveys – Quick 1-3 question surveys on specific pages using a plugin like User Feedback.
  • On-site polls – Insert simple polls like "Was this article helpful?" at key points.
  • Live chat – Chat tools like Tidio let visitors provide instant feedback.
  • Support tickets – Monitor trends in issues reported to your help desk.
  • Reviews – Review apps like Birdeye make gathering any positive or negative reviews easy.

Visitor feedback gives priceless unfiltered insights into the biggest UX pains needing attention on your site.

5. Measure Your Site Speed Performance

Here‘s an astonishing user experience statistic for you:

53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

That‘s according to based on aggregated data from billions of Google searches.

It illustrates the direct relationship between site speed and user experience. Performance issues like slow page loads lead to extremely high abandonment.

Tools like GTMetrix, WebPageTest, and PageSpeed Insights measure how quickly your site loads and identifies fixes.

Test using a mobile 3G connection to mimic real world visitor experiences. Target load times under 2 seconds and PageSpeed scores above 90.

If your current site is slow, a few proven ways to optimize performance include:

  • Caching with a plugin like WP Rocket
  • Image compression through EWWW or Smush
  • Minifying CSS, JavaScript, and HTML
  • Using a CDN like Cloudflare
  • Upgrading web hosting plan if on a low-resource shared server

For more speedup tips, see our complete WordPress load time guide. Faster sites equal happier visitors.

6. Review Your Navigation and On-Site Search

Your website‘s navigation menu is like a roadmap guiding users to where they need to go.

Check that your menu links have:

  • Clear labels – Use real words like "Contact" vs ambiguous terms like "Page 1".
  • Descriptive submenu text – Helps visitors zero in on more specific pages.
  • Links to all key pages – Ensure users can get to your most important content.
  • Usable mega menus on desktop – Easy to scan and vertically scrollable.
  • Properly functioning mobile menu – Toggles open and closed without issue.

Also examine your on-site search function. Most WordPress sites use the built-in search which leaves much to be desired.

Installing a dedicated search plugin like SearchWP improves relevancy. Make sure:

  • The search bar is easy to find in header or menu.
  • It intelligently suggests results as you type.
  • Showing no results pages when queries don‘t match.
  • Accuracy – Results match visitor intent.

When navigation is seamless, users reach desired content faster resulting in better UX.

7. Verify Your Forms and Conversion Paths Work

Calls-to-action (CTAs) urge visitors to convert by downloading, subscribing, booking, etc.

The conversion process needs to be quick and error-free.

For lead gen forms, check that:

  • Fields are clearly labeled.
  • Validation works correctly.
  • Submissions trigger success messages.
  • Confirmation emails are sent instantly.

For eCommerce sites:

  • Users can easily add products to cart.
  • Cart quantity updates and totals calculate properly.
  • Support for promo/discount codes exists.
  • Checkout process is simple with guest options.

Tools like Hotjar recordings help you visually trace user journeys. Look for sticking points leading to abandoned carts or incomplete conversions.

Split testing different form and call-to-action variants with a tool like Thrive Optimizer also optimizes conversions.

8. Analyze Your Site Content

Well-written and engaging content keeps visitors interested. It enhances overall user experience.

Assess whether your content is:

Easy to scan and digest

  • Short paragraphs and sentences
  • Generous whitespace
  • Bold key text
  • Numbered/bulleted lists
  • Relevant imagery


  • No typos or grammatical errors
  • Accurate information

Useful and engaging

  • Solves reader‘s problem or question
  • Provides unique value
  • Appropriate length
  • Active voice
  • Scannable headers and subheads

Refer back to your defined user personas. Is the content suited to their needs?

Also inspect content freshness. Outdated posts send signals you‘re not actively maintaining your site.

Tools like Grammarly help catch writing errors if you produce lots of content.

9. Check Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile friendliness is crucial for user experience today:

Run your URL through Google‘s Mobile-Friendly Test to catch any configuration issues.

Tap around on mobile yourself to verify:

  • Elements feel appropriately sized without zooming
  • Site can be scrolled vertically without horizontal scrolling
  • Links and buttons have enough spacing to tap easily
  • Menus and dropdowns function correctly
  • Site speed is not drastically slower than desktop

If your theme isn‘t mobile-ready, plugins like Swift Performance can help. But upgrading to a responsive theme is best.

10. Check User Flows in Analytics Reports

User flow refers to the journey visitors take across your site converting or reaching goals.

Analytics provides insight into typical paths and content consumed leading up to conversions. It also shows drop-off points where visitors leave.

Some key reports to analyze flows:

  • Behavior flow – Visualizes the pages users click through and typical sequences.
  • Landing/exit pages – The entry and exit points in sessions.
  • Site content drill down – Frequency and sequences of content consumption.
  • Scroll depth – How far down pages users scroll before leaving.
  • Forms analysis – Funnels leading up to submissions.

Look for patterns showing excessive fallout at certain pages. Use landing pages, internal links, or content upgrades to better guide users through your site.

11. Check Accessibility for All Users

About 20% of the population has some form of disability. Your site should be accessible to everyone regardless of abilities.

Run your site through an automated checker like SiteImprove or WAVE which identify issues to address like:

  • Alt text – Descriptive text alternatives for images.
  • Headings hierarchy – Proper heading structure used.
  • Color contrast – Text/background colors have enough contrast.
  • Keyboard access – Site can be navigated with only a keyboard.
  • Accessible forms – Labels associated correctly.
  • Landmark roles – Uses HTML5 tags like main, nav, etc.

Also click around your site using only your keyboard, screen reader, or zoomed in. See if you encounter any difficulties accessing content.

Building an accessible site improves conversion rates for millions of users.

Tips for Continually Optimizing UX

Conducting a UX audit identifies areas needing improvement. But you should optimize user experience continually.

Here are some tips:

  • Do regular mini-audits – Quickly check a few pages weekly instead of doing one giant annual audit.

  • Review analytics frequently – Check for changes that may reflect new UX issues. Set up email alerts.

  • Gather feedback – Use surveys, live chats, or support tickets to get fresh user perspectives.

  • Learn from competitors – Occasionally compare UX on competitor sites to get ideas.

  • Retest fixes – Verify changes and redesigns actually improve user experience.

  • Listen to support staff – Frontline teams often hear about UX pains directly.

  • Solicit expert audits – Hire a user experience consultant annually for an unbiased evaluation.

  • Conduct quarterly full audits – Do a thorough top-to-bottom audit every 3-4 months to spot anything you missed.

By continually finding and eliminating pain points, you create happy, loyal users that keep engaging with your site.

Now you‘re armed with a complete process for auditing and enhancing user experience on your WordPress site!

As you work through each step, keep asking yourself "Would this easy and enjoyable for my users?" That simple perspective drives all effective UX optimization.

Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.