Nothing beats the insights you will get from a paid #seo service. If you are busy bootstrapping and you have time, you can test your website on your own.
Something to think about: If you know how to test your own website design you can just as easily test your oppositions website and get insight to what content you need to create.
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The idea of this post is to supply you with different tools you can use for free to test your website. The tests covers different aspects of your website and when you place all together you will have a good idea of how well your website really is.
NOTE: Not all the available tools give 100% accurate evaluations. There is many reasons like site age etc. Using various tests will give you a better overall insight.
We will be looking at the following sections and how to test them:
- SEO ratings
- Domain details
- Test programming
- Broken links
- Page speed
- Cross browser compatibility
Website Design Tests
Nibbler – http://nibbler.silktide.com/
Search engine optimization comes in many forms. A quick way to get a rating on your site are with free online website testing tools. Nibbler is an online app that checks various important criteria on your website and give you a rating out of 10. Nibbler takes it further and allows for a profile and awards “Badges”.
GTMetrix – http://gtmetrix.com/
GTmetrix is a free website analysis app that offers very detailed insights about what negative influences it finds on your website. This is one of my favorite online tools for many reasons. The results show up in comparison, page speed and YSlow. GTMetrix offers WordPress specific information.
Website Design Domain Details
For local .co.za domains you get all the information directly from UniForm that is in control of local domain registrations at http://co.za/ Use the Whois (Registration Details) link. Type in your .co.za domain name to get the details on your website. This is handy if you want to see if the domain name belongs to you or your webmaster and other technical information. The site whois.com supplies domain information on various extensions and offers hosting and registration services.
Website Design Responsiveness
What is a responsive design?
Because the term “responsive” is relatively new, at this time it is not always interpreted or applied correctly. Many examples of attempts to make websites responsive is visible on-line.
A website that consists of a single column that made to fit the smallest screen does not mean the website is responsive. A recent social media post indicated that Google is looking into displaying a warning in the search results if a website does not prove compatible on mobile devices.
At this time many people still not believe that responsiveness is important. This is a big mistake, mobile devices are slowly but surely growing to a major cut of the pie. Mobile devices are not going anywhere. In fact it will continue growing for a while and branch into places you never imagined.
Firefox Responsive Design View
Firefox browser comes with a handy responsive design view tool that allow you to scale pages, using a slider and seeing how responsive your page elements are. To use the tool you simply click: “Ctrl” + “Shift” + “M” and the page will shrink with handles on the right and bottom that you can drag to alter the size.
Website Design Programming Test
HTML Quality – http://validator.w3.org/
One of the many best practices pointed out by google is w3c compliance. W3c checks to see markup validity. Your website may have good scores on seo test sites and tools but still contain errors in the HTML (markup language), this often originate from plugins. Make sure to run and fix these validation errors as far as possible.
You can also test Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), links and feeds. It does not mean if your site is fast and looking nice that the code is valid according to w3c standards. you do get browser extensions for Firefox (Firebug) and others that test HTML validity as you browse.
Website Design Broken Links
HTML Quality – http://brokenlinkcheck.com/broken-links.php
It is easy to test for broken links. Broken links affect your website in a negative way, fixing this is very important. The chances for broken links grows with the content on your site. The more you trash and move posts around or manual edit navigational links, the better the chances of finding broken links.
Website Design Readability
Not only grammar – http://read-able.com/
This will be easier for a person with keen writing skills, but if you are not English or not a master at writing, how do you know if your posts at least sounds like English?
You may even think your writing is good until you run the test. A test quickly points out indexes and levels for testing and maybe things you never even though or heard of before. Some examples are:
- Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease
- Flesch Kincaid Grade Level
- Gunning Fog Score
- SMOG Index
- Coleman Liau Index
- Automated Readability Index
To name a few. You will see to the top of your results, your tested content will get an estimated age. Try and get this estimated age group as low as possible.
In addition to the indexes above and grammar etc. you need to keep in mind the ratio between normal text in to the character count of the programming on the tested page. In plain English this means that more text less code is better. Readability of your content plays an important part in ranking your pages.
Website Design Page Speed
Pingdom – http://tools.pingdom.com
I use Pingdom tools because it offers full-page test, DNS health and ping or traceroute tools. “No one likes a slow website” 2 Main factors influence your website design.
- On-site elements like images, scripts etc.
- Server or Hosting speed.
You can optimize your website as much as you like but if your host is slow your website are slow. And you guessed it, it is bad for ratings.
Website Design Cross Browser Compatibility
More compatible, more people sees your site – http://browsershots.org
Something not always made clear is how compatible your website are with the hundreds of different browsers. You can use one to view your site, but how does it show on the other browsers?
Text browsers are often not considered. If your website consists out of image links, formatted incorrectly, your website will get a negative rating.
Always make sure you understand what you will be paying for when signing up for website design with a website designer or website design company. This ties up to the price of your website. Cheaper websites receives less attention.