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A well designed and into-the-details planned website is definitely a good place to start off when building your website. But there’s another important aspect that at times seems to be left aside: the user experience. One of the main issues for example, is how fast your website loads. We won’t elaborate in this post further about the meaning of UX and its consequences when it’s a bad one as we’ve done it several times before. Instead, we wanted to share with you some of the tools we know and use to run tests on website’s performance and its UX.
Google offers a free tool to test your website in terms of loading time, user experience, mobile vs. desktop and more. The tool grades your website on a scale of 1-100 and granted that the higher the grade the better your website is performing. Given that you got a low grade (which is not so rare as it’s considered to be one of the most “strict” tests), Google will give you recommendations on how to improve your website on different aspects. The main thing you should remember is that Google also owns Google Analytics, which means it “knows” everything about millions of websites across the web, so as strict as it might be, you should run your website through it and see what it has to say…
GTmetrix is another popular tool to test your website’s performance, once you type a URL you’ll receive, similarly to PageSpeed insights, a percentage grade (1%-100%) for your overall website and also immediate-easy-to-read stats about your website such as its size, its load time and more. The report it retrieves contains a lot of parameters that are graded by GTmetrix and for each parameter that is below 100%, it offers ways to improve in the specific area. Another interesting feature is a comparison tool where you can insert a URL of 1 or more websites you’d like to compare your website’s performance with.
If you’re targeting overseas audiences GeoPeeker will be a very interesting tool for you. What it does is simply showing you how fast your website loads in different countries. Whether you knew it or not, the location of your hosting server makes a difference geographically. So an ideal situation will be to host your website in the nearest physical place possible. GeoPeeker was actually used by one of Google’s representatives while we were talking to them and this is how we were exposed to it.
We’re quite certain, without checking your website’s Google Analytics, that your website’s traffic consists of 50% mobile. We’re not know-it-all, we simply “listen to the news” And in a world that is going mobile, you should pay a lot of attention to how your online assets are experienced on the small screens. Google helps you, once again, with a free tool that simply tells you whether your website is mobile friendly or not. If not, it offers improvements. Do take into account that Google started a while back to not only penalize websites that are not mobile friendly but also tagging the ones that are in the search results.
Going back to speed tests, pingdom is a user friendly tool that you can use to test your website’s speed, share its results and automate the test to get it directly to your email! (well, a 14 days trial is given for free and credit card is not a must) Another nice feature is that you can easily choose a location among a few locations around the world that you’d like to test your website from. That’s (kind of) a nice combination of the speed tests we mentioned in #1/#2 and the GeoPeeker in #3 above.
Going back to different screen sizes – don’t forget that there’re not only many different mobile and desktop screens but also tablets. How do you monitor your website in this insane amount of screens? Well, it’s not easy, that’s for sure but Screenfly can help. It is a tool that simulates how your website looks on dozens of different devices. It’s easy to use and very user friendly. As much as Screenfly is great we suggest to not use only this simulator but also check your websites “manually” on the devices that you have access to around you.
Nibbler is an extremely helpful-user-friendly-beautifully-designed tool. On top of the grades that the previous tools provide, it grades your website’s marketing channel strength, its popularity compared to the rest of the world’s website, its meta-data, amount of content and so many other interesting aspects!
Its design is old fashioned but its technology and reliability is recommended among developers. WebPageTest does exactly what its name indicates The results are not so user friendly but if you have a data person, you can learn much about your website's performance
Bonus: Malware scanners.
If you want to check your website for any malware, website errors or out of date software here are two tools to do just that:
Sucuri – simply enter your website and in seconds receive information about your website – whether its blacklisted, if it has a firewall and more.
Virustotal – oriented more to the ones who can read a lot of data, Virustotal will provide free information about your website’s malware status, listing relevant aspects and providing their status.
And here're some tools that Google offers to run malware checks with (mainly for your windows computer).
Take it to a test drive
Your website is one of the most important assets you can own for your business. Checking it frequently, testing and refreshing are processes that should be a regular thing. After all, don’t forget that in 2016 (soon to be 2017) people live online, and that’s where YOU are being tested first and foremost.
Know other tools that are helpful for website’s performance and can enlighten others including us? Do share in the comments section below!
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