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July, 2023

Drupal Website Audit: A Checklist

Ki H. Kim
Ki H. Kim
Director, Engineering

Your website is a critical component of your business. This makes it essential to properly care for your website. A Drupal website audit is an essential step to ensure your website is secure, functioning properly, and meeting your visitors' needs. This article provides information about what a website audit entails and addresses.

Drupal Website Audit

Do I Need a Drupal Website Audit?

The simple answer: whether or not you need a Drupal1 website audit depends on multiple factors.

When an audit is right for you, it will help you review your website from a technical perspective. You can use the audit to assess the security of your website, identify performance issues, and identify any other problems that could be impacting the usability and functionality of your website.

After the audit is completed, you can use the findings to implement any necessary changes or improvements to ensure your website is secure, running optimally, and delivering a great user experience.

Read on to find out if a Drupal website audit is right for you.

What Are the Benefits of a Drupal Website Audit?

A Drupal site audit report provides numerous benefits and provides you with an opportunity to assess the following:

  • Security vulnerabilities
  • Performance issues
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts
  • Content quality
  • User experience (UX)
  • Accessibility

With this information, you can make the necessary adjustments to improve your website's overall performance, security, and user experience. A Drupal website audit should be conducted regularly to ensure that your website is up-to-date with the latest security patches and best practices.

Read more about The Value of a Drupal Performance Audit.

Drupal Website Audit

How Long Should A Website Audit Take?

The length of a website audit depends on the following factors:

  • the size of the website
  • the complexity of the codebase
  • the breadth of the content
  •  number of images and modules (or plugins if you are using WordPress)
  • the number of additional elements that need to be checked

Generally, an audit of a small website can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. For larger websites or web applications, the audit can take several weeks or even months.

How Often Should a Website Be Audited?

Conducting a website audit regularly is important. It ensures that your website is performing optimally and is secure from any potential threats. Ideally, a website should be audited every 6 to 12 months.

During the audit, all website elements should be reviewed, including those mentioned in the previous section of this article.

In addition, because malware can be installed at any time on your website, periodic security scans are necessary.

An audit should be conducted to evaluate how changes in technology, content, or the market might influence website performance. All relevant factors should be taken into consideration. This is particularly important for Drupal versions which cyclically reach end-of-life and, therefore, must be periodically updated.

Drupal Website Audit

How Much Does a Website Audit Cost?

Much like the duration of a website audit, the cost of a website audit can vary depending on the complexity and size of the website.

Factors such as the number of pages, the number of modules, and the level of technical expertise required can all affect the cost. Generally, a website audit will start at a few thousand dollars and go up from there depending on the complexity.

It is important to ensure that you are getting a quality audit for a fair price. To ensure a quality audit, look for a website development agency that has experience and knowledge in the areas that are relevant to your website. Additionally, make sure the audit is comprehensive and includes all the elements mentioned in this article.

How Do I Prepare for a Website Performance Audit?

Before you schedule a Drupal website performance audit, there are a few steps you should take to prepare.

  • Make a list of all the issues you have noticed on your website, such as slow loading times or broken links. This will give the website development agency a starting point and help them prioritize their analysis.
  • Gather any relevant data, such as website traffic analytics or conversion rates. This information will provide insight into how your website is performing and can help the agency identify areas for improvement.
  • Gather together your website's login credentials. This includes the content management system (CMS) or hosting platform. This will allow the agency to analyze technical factors that may be impacting your website's performance.

Be prepared to work with the website development agency to implement any recommended changes. A website performance audit is only valuable if the identified issues are addressed and improvements are made. By working collaboratively with the audit company, you can ensure that your website is optimized for maximum performance.

Drupal Website Audit

Focus Areas and Best Practices: A Checklist

A highly recommended comprehensive Drupal site audit includes a review of the following ten categories. At Urban Insight, we carefully address each of these, informed by over 20 years of experience. 

1) Site architecture and quality

In step one, we review the site’s overall content architecture with content types, taxonomy terms, users, and menus. This assessment ensures that the website's architecture is well-structured, optimized for content management, and offers a seamless user experience.

2) Performance

A performance audit of a Drupal website involves assessing website speed, load time, server response time, caching mechanisms, code optimization, and database optimization. Tools used include, but are not limited to Google PageSpeed Insights. 

3) Security and maintenance

A Drupal security and maintenance review includes checking that the web server, database, and programming language are up to date with security patches. Here, we check Drupal core and module update status, user permissions, use of SSL certificates, and the database backup process.

4) SEO

Website SEO auditing is a comprehensive evaluation and analysis of a website's SEO performance. A technical website SEO audit assesses various aspects of the website for best practices, including:

  • on-page optimization (keyword usage, meta tags, headings, URL structure, content quality, structured data, and XML sitemap)
  • technical factors (crawlability, site speed, and mobile-friendliness)
  • site architecture (navigation structure)

The purpose of an SEO audit is to identify strengths and weaknesses in the website's SEO strategy, uncover any issues or obstacles hindering its visibility in search engine results, and provide actionable recommendations for improvement.

Regular SEO audits leverage website owners to proactively address SEO issues, maintain or improve search rankings, and enhance organic traffic.

5) Content quality

In this step, we evaluate the quality of the site's content; content relevance and accuracy, duplicate content, broken links, and missing images.

6) Accessibility

Accessibility auditing includes a review of compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). For this step, we check for the use of image alt text and proper semantic markup, among other things.

7) User Experience (UX)

UX auditing entails reviewing the menu, navigation, usability, and user experience, as well as identification of areas that can degrade user experience.

8) Responsive design

To assess design responsiveness, we verify whether or not web pages are displaying adequately across different display sizes from mobile devices to large desktop monitors.

9) Analytics

We utilize Google Analytics to monitor and record user visits and interactions. If your site has recently undergone a design update or other major change, we will review traffic data to ensure it is having a positive impact on the user journey and conversions.

10) Custom modules

In the final step, we perform a code review of custom modules, themes, and configurations. We check for best practices, compliance with coding standards, security vulnerabilities, and deprecated code.

See Drupal in action here: National World War I Museum and Memorial.

Drupal Website Audit

Audit Tools

Also important for a successful Drupal website audit is the expert use of select audit tools. Below are some of our favorite tools we use at Urban Insight.

3 Best Tools to Run a Website Security Audit

Security audit tools are used to analyze and assess the security of a website. A typical audit includes vulnerability scanning, malware detection, password and authentication analysis, security patch and update checking, and vulnerability exploitation. Our top three Drupal website security audit tools are:

  • OpenVAS
  • Dupal modules
  • Security Review
  • Security Kit

3 Best Tools to Run a Drupal 9 or 10 Site Audit Focused on Its Performance

Certain audit tools are specifically designed to evaluate and assess website performance. These tools provide insights and recommendations for various aspects of performance testing and optimization. Our three favorite performance audit tools are:

  • Lighthouse
  • Google PageSpeed Insights
  • New Relic
  • Screaming Frog

4 Best Tools to Evaluate Your Website’s Stability

Website stability tools monitor the availability and uptime of websites, ensuring they are functioning properly and are accessible to users. Our preferred stability audit tools are:

  • Uptime monitoring tools (Pingdom, UptimeRobot)
  • Load testing tools (Apache JMeter)
  • Site monitoring tools (Google Analytics)
  • Performance monitoring tools (New Relic)

Other Favorite Tools To Conduct a Drupal Website Audit

  • Drupal modules (used for additional features beyond a security audit)
  • Accessibility Evaluation Tools like WAVE (used to audit accessibility and site performance)
  • Hotjar or Microsoft Clarity are great starting points for UX auditing
  • SEMrush (used for site performance and SEO auditing)

Key Takeaways

  • A Drupal website audit is necessary to properly assess, fix, maintain, and optimize your Drupal website.
  • An audit helps you identify issues with site architecture, security vulnerabilities, site performance, responsive design, analytics, SEO efforts, content quality, user experience (UX), and accessibility issues.
  • The length of an audit varies depending on the size of a website, ranging anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Some larger websites or web applications can take weeks or even months.
  • Ideally, a website should be audited every 6 to 12 months.
  • Much like the duration of a website audit, the cost of a website audit can vary depending on the complexity and size of the website.
  • Prepare for a website audit by making a list of all the issues you have noticed on your website, and gathering important data, including your website's login credentials.
  • Drupal experts prefer certain audit tools. Working with an experienced Drupal website development team ensures your audit will yield the most value.

Contact Urban Insight to learn more about our Drupal website audit services and how your organization can leverage an audit to support its growth.



Image attribution: Creative Commons (Illustration/graphic image); Creative Commons (Tablet and mobile phone); "Magnifying Glass on a Laptop" by pixelshot; Software Developer at Work" by wutzkoh; "Developing programmer Development Website design and coding technologies working in software company office" by SARINYAPINNGAM from Getty Images