Without the expertise to analyse the code and efficiency of your website it can be difficult to tell how well the website is performing technically. Fortunately, there are a number of tools and online testing services that can reveal different things about how your website is performing.
I believe that these tools are useful to promote discussions and new ideas about optimising a website, covering the basic optimisations or help to identify larger underlying issues — but sometimes their recommendations can be at-odds with what is best for the end user. For example, Google PageSpeed will not offer a top score if you embed Google Analytics, Google Web Fonts or social widgets on the page. I would rarely recommend aiming for a perfect score on many of these tests, just a happy balance between a great, fast-loading and useful website for humans and an optimised, machine-readable source code.
That aside.. here are my go-to’s!
Google Mobile Friendly Test
This test will show how Google feels your website works on mobile devices. An increasing amount of traffic, the majority for many websites, now comes from mobile devices. Considerations for this test include Flash usage, viewport configurations, font sizes and the spacing of touch elements which can all be make or break a mobile experience.
This test will show how Google feels your website is optimised for speed. It’s scoring includes image optimisations, server response times, caching, compression, real-world load times, minification and number of requests. As you can see in the screenshot, Google scores itself at 95/100 for Desktop! It considers anything above 80 as ‘Good’.
Pingdom Tools is probably one of my favourite free online testing tools for your website, this is because not only will it show you it’s arbitrary ‘performance grade’, but also real world metrics such as load time, page speed and requests which are objective stats that you can work on improving. It also has a useful ‘waterfall’ feature which will show you exactly how your page is loading so you can prioritise the right requests to optimise your users experience.
StatusCake Uptime Monitor
StatusCake is an uptime monitor that will ping your website at a configured frequency, I use 5 minutes, and alert you if your website is down and track for how long if downtime does occur. It can also track things like load times and any other status codes your site can return. The free tier will let you check up to 10 websites at 5 minute intervals. I was very happy to see that the server I host our pay monthly websites on has been up for 4 months without a single minute of downtime!
SiteChecker Pro SEO Check
SiteChecker Pro will grade your SEO based on common ranking factors. It offers helpful recommendations of what you can optimise. Note that these are technical recommendations and a huge factor for SEO these days is useful, engaging content which can be harder to quantify (although Google seems to be managing!).
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools) will reveal insights about what Google is doing on your website, offer analytics such as clicks and impressions on your search listings and also allow you to tweak some settings such as crawl rate, sitemaps, excluded links and more.
Bing Webmaster Tools
Similar to Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools will show you analytics, recommendations and allow you to change settings for your Bing listings.
Serpfox Search Engine Ranking Tracker
Serpfox allows you to track your websites position in Google for given keywords. The free tier gives you 10 keywords to track. You can select individual locations as well which is great for local SEO tracking. Serpfox also shows historic graphs for how you have performed over time.
Qualys SSL Labs
Google’s Chrome browser will now explicitly warn visitors about pages that aren’t encrypted with a SSL/TLS certificate. According to a recent HubSpot Research survey, 82% of respondents would leave a site if they saw this “Not Secure” warning. Check your websites are properly SSL secured with the Qualys SSL report.
MXToolbox Domain Health Report
MXToolbox contains a HUGE suite of domain tools including A record search, MX records lookup, etc. and is my go-to for debugging domain issues. One of their features is a domain health report which analyses several hundred different items regarding your domain name and presents them to you in a clear, actionable format. Some of the domain issues you can come across include blacklists, mail server configurations, web server configurations, and dns issues.
I hope you find some of these tools useful for monitoring and optimising your website! If you would like any help implementing any of these recommendations, I am on standby to help. Say hello!