So I was at my parents’ house this weekend, and my dad asked a very simple question… “Could you take a look at my computer? I can’t run CCleaner.” I thought to myself… That’s great! He has been running CCleaner regularly! But when I sat down to take a look, things only got worse. Windows Update wouldn’t start, CCleaner wouldn’t start, Microsoft Security Essentials wouldn’t start properly or update, and AVG Free wouldn’t install. That is not good. Here is a list of tools I used to scrub his machine, and boy did i need them all, and for different reasons.
When you redesign or enhance your site, you make a lot of changes. You change the content, the design, the front end technology, the back end stack, the user flows, the information architecture, everything. It is tough to know what you have done right, and what needs help, particularly as it compares to other sites. These sites can help show you what you have done right, what needs help, and how you compare to other sites. I use them… and so should you.
- https://website.grader.com/ – the gold standard of online web site graders. Shows performance, SEO, mobile capability, and security.
- https://www.semrush.com/ – this site gathers a LOT of marketing information about your site… Monitor this information before and after your cutover.
- https://validator.w3.org/ – Are you W3C Compliant? Are you writing valid HTML? Using this throughout your development will ensure your site is as readable and indexable as possible.
- http://www.webpagetest.org – How long does the first view of my page take? How about the second view? This grader shows you both… just like the Developer Tools in Google Chrome.
- https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ – another technical site grader that can give you guidance where to increase performance. Be careful trying to get 100/100, though… not everything NEEDS to be done.
- http://nibbler.silktide.com/en_US – Evaluates your site down in four areas – Accessibility, Experience, Marketing, and Technology. Still useful to get another view of your site.
- https://www.woorank.com/ – “Run a review to see how your site can improve across 70+ metrics” – Marketing, SEO, Mobile, Usability, Technology, Crawl Errors, Backlinks, Social, Local, SERP Checker, Visitors.
- http://www.similarweb.com/ – Another great site for a large, corporate web site. But not a lot of information about performance. Good to monitor usage and marketing metrics.
- https://moz.com/researchtools/ose – Moz is known for its SEO tools, and this is an easy dashboard of information to monitor before and after your redesign. The free version is useful, but the Pro version is even better. Not a lot of tech help here, though.
- http://www.alexa.com/ – 7 days for free, the paid version is the only one really useful. Lots of marketing information is available, though.
- http://builtwith.com/ – Very technical. Shows you the infrastructure and software choices made by the development team. You will be surprised. Helpful for technology and information security teams.
- http://www.google.com/analytics – Free analytics tool. Tells you who uses your site, how much, where they are from, what browsers, what time of day… a plethora of information. Including Page Speed.
- https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools – Free tool that shows you what index errors Google has encountered, things to make your site more indexable, and what your pages look like to the Google Search Crawlers. Use this.
- http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster – Everything that Search Console is for Google, this site is for Bing.
So did I miss any tools that you use? Are any of these ones you have struck off your list? How do you measure results of your site before and after? Leave a comment and let me know!
EDIT: Two more sites were recommended to me that help redesign projects, so I am adding them here:
- http://www.browseo.net – this site helps you prioritize your on-page content for indexing and crawling, showing you in greater detail what the crawlers see. Kind of behaves like the old Lynx browser.
- https://varvy.com and https://varvy.com/mobile/ – Check your desktop and mobile versions of your site for SEO issues. Slick, simple, straightforward.