Part of what makes a great website is paying that little extra attention to detail when it comes to performance. A website that looks great but fails in other areas of usability can hinder your customer’s overall experience with your business online.
That means less traffic, higher bounce rates and inevitably poorer sales down the road. To avoid these obstacles it’s important to do a full analysis of your website and understand what areas of improvement you need to focus on most.
Fortunately there are some great free tools available online that will help you identify your website’s strengths and weaknesses from a performance standpoint. Using these on a regular basis will help you spot problems in advance and keep your audience (and search engines) happy.
Top Free Tools To Help Test Your Website’s Performance
Broken Link Checker – Fixing all the technical errors of your website is probably the first step you want to consider when evaluating your website’s performance. It’ s easy to forget about old pages you created earlier (especially in WordPress) that go nowhere and create a 404 error.
Search engines view website’s with many broken links as poor quality which may hurt your SEO rankings. Doing a quick search in www.brokenlinkcheck.com will find all of your website’s broken links with a single click. It’s free to use with no sign-up required.
Speed Test – Your website’s speed is considered a huge quality signal in the eyes of Google and other search engines. Websites with slower loading times will have a much higher bounce rate with customers. If your website takes more than a couple seconds to load you can bet a big chunk of your audience is leaving before they even get there.
Pingdom is a great free tool (where signup is optional) that allows you to test your website’s speed from various locations around the world. Better yet it will provide you a detailed report of what elements of your web pages are slowing it down the most.
Fixing even some of these can take seconds off your load times and retaining a healthier portion of your traffic.
SEO Performance – Want to know what areas of your website should be improved upon the most for better search engine results? Although attaining a top ranking in Google is a lot of work (even with proper SEO) having the right information makes your odds a whole lot better.
There are many free options available to choose from one of the most comprehensive SEO reports comes courtesy of WooRank. Woorank will evaluate your website on an impressive number of SEO related criteria such as page format, backlinks, social media, mobile performance and more.
There is a free 14 day trial available where you can get a full SEO analysis of your website with no further commitment.
Code Validator – The use of proper code in your website is a key quality indicator when being read by search engines. Cleaner code makes load times faster and your website’s overall performance lighter and more efficient.
Online Web Check is a great free tool that will identify all the errors on your page helping to create WC3 compliant code. If you’re not a coder yourself this will be one of the toughest areas to fix, but many of the simpler errors can be done with minimal effort.
This tool requires no signup and is always free to all website users.
Slow WordPress Plugins – WordPress has become the norm in modern web design making plugins a must to achieve the functionality you want. Unfortunately plugins are also one of the main culprits in slowing your website down and making load times longer. This can be the result of one plugin or several plugins when combined together.
Ironically there is a plugin designed to detect exactly that called P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler). Once activated this plugin will scan your entire website determining which installed plugins are working well and which ones are causing problems.
Letting go of certain plugins that make your website fancier can be tough but is necessary to keep load times down to a minimum.
Black List Checker – Security is still one the number one issue that plagues many websites, especially if your are a Wordpress user. Unfortunately even the best designed websites are susceptible to all kinds of security breaches that lead to spam, viruses or other technical issues.
A website that has been spammed heavily may also start sending spam (inadvertently) to other websites as well. This can not only slow down your website but in worst case scenarios can get your website blacklisted. There is a handy little tool called MX toolbox that will test if your site has been blacklisted in a 104 different sources.
Being blacklisted doesn’t happen often but when it does it can be a chore to fix. Make sure you are always changing your website’s login details and it’s always wise to invest a little money in the proper security features as well.
Using the above tools to keep and eye on your website will help save you some time and aggravation in the long run. It’s always a good idea to check in on your website for performance issues at least once a month if not more as time allows. Make decreasing load times a constant priority and you’ll have a happier audience that’s much more willing to do business with you.
Jeff is the owner of Advance Web Solutions a web development and internet marketing company based in Calgary, Canada. He has been featured in several high profile newspapers and online blogs. To contact Jeff regarding any of his services visit our website or call (403) 374-2727.
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