It is not a revelation, but as with most technologies the internet is always evolving. We are always finding ways of improving on the old and with it come a host of enhancements we as internet users have to command and conquer. The same applies to websites: the hip and cool of today becomes a dinosaur tomorrow and before you know it there are new trends you have to adopt to stay in the race with the rest of your competition.
A good web designer and developer will design and build a website with scalability in mind and would strive to future proof as much of it as can possibly be foreseen. The reality though is that, from time to time, your website will need revisions to ensure that it stays current and still meet your target audience’s needs and expectations. With so many businesses relying heavily on good search engine rankings and online visibility, it is also worth considering how your website is faring in the competitive space and identify issues or areas for improvement for when your budget allow for it again.
So, has your website become dated? Is it still useable and accessible? Do your visitors visit the content you want them to visit? Are they looking in the right places of your web page? Does the website keep the users’ attention, or do they find it uninformative and leave quickly?
You can make this assessment yourself by using some of the tools below to get a free and impartial picture of just how imminent scheduling that meeting with your web developer really is …
Online Tools to help with website analysisClickheat – http://www.labsmedia.com/clickheat/index.html
This tool allows you to see which website spots users click on most and which spots are being ignored. It will give you a good overview of whether or not visitors are looking at the information you want them to and can indicate if important information should be moved to spots identified as “hot” zones. Crazy Egg and Clickdensity are alternative tools which will show similar results.
Check my Colours – http://www.checkmycolours.com/
This web-based tool can be used for checking your website’s foreground and background colors. It is based on the W3C’s WCAG recommended luminosity contrast ratio and color brightness and it will check all stacked web page elements based on these recommendations. AccessColour can be used as an alternative to establish if the colors you use on the website are viewable by persons with vision deficiencies such as color blindness.
Readability Test – http://juicystudio.com/services/readability.php
This tool can be used to determine if the website content reads easily or not. Depending on your audience you may need to revise the website copy and adjust its level to ensure the content is clear, simple and easy to understand. See Guideline 14 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for more direction.
SEO toolbox – http://www.seomoz.org/toolbox
In todays competitive market most businesses make it a priority to appear as high as possible in search engine rankings. Users searching on keywords seldom browse to Google’s or Bing’s second pages and the race is on to be ranked in the top 5 spots on the first results pages of any search. How high is your site ranking? Use this tool to determine the strongest pages on your site; check backlinks; see your page rank and check how many pages are indexed at Google and Bing.
Web Page Analyser – http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/
In today’s day and age nobody wants to sit around and wait for a webpage to load. Long download times often result in users browsing away from your website and it is therefore important to ensure that this time is limited to the absolute minimum. This tool will calculate page size, composition and download time and will offer advice on how to improve page load time. It is based on the latest best practices from Website Optimization Secrets, web page size guidelines and trends, and web site optimization techniques.
Website Grader – http://websitegrader.com/
This tool will give you an overview of how well your website is doing. It will help identify SEO problems and help you determine how popular your website is in social media. The tool provides
- A blog analysis
- the approximate number of pages on your website that have been stored in the Google index
- the approximate level of education necessary to read and understand the web page content
- state of on-page SEO elements (i.e. use of headings, image tags etc)
- an overview of directory and social bookmarking listings and
- Alexa traffic rank to name but a few.
Google Analytics – http://www.google.com/intl/en/analytics/index.html
This very popular analytics and stats pack (available from Google) offers a comprehensive report to assist you in your analysis of your websites performance. It requires the insertion of some tracking code on your web pages but is easy to install and invaluable in ascertaining how visitors interact with your website.