Everybody should check on the health of websites regularly, and a lot can be done with free tools. Here is the list of the tools I use for my website and the websites of my clients. Most of the tools on the list don’t require you to register before you can use them, so that’s always a big plus.
- Google Chrome Dev Tools
Chrome browser has some excellent development tools. The console will help you track down errors in scripts. But the new lighthouse tool will let you know about improvements for every aspect of your site. The performance section tests various devices and network conditions for real-world scenarios.
To find Lighthouse, open dev tools in chrome (from “View/Develop/Developer Tools” and select “audits” and then “Perform an audit”.
Once the audit completes, it will let you know how well your site scores in different areas.
Speed and general health tool
Check how fast your webpage loads and which elements take the longest with this tool. Speed is very important for your users and SEO as studies have shown that some sites have seen an increase in sales increased by up to 13% when cutting the load time in half.
- Pingdom speed test
- Google PageSpeed insights
Skilled has compiled a nice infographic to show the effects of page speed on users.
Sitemap testing tool
You should test your sitemap from time to time to see that it’s readable by search engines without errors.
Broken links can influence your SEO and indicate content issues so checking that you don’t direct your user to broken links is very useful.
Google webmaster tools
This is more a tool that you’ll use over time, and you will need a google account for this one, and then you’ll need to verify your site. This should be easy enough even for none technical users. Once everything is set up, it will let you know about problems with your sitemap, pages that can’t be found etc.
Search Engine Optimisation tools
Here are a couple of tools that can give you some SEO tips. Usually, those services will let you test your website and then offer additional paid services, but the free tips will already give you some insights into what should be improved.
Get notified over email or text message when your website goes down for any reason whatsoever. There are a couple of paid services, but this one is free and reliable.
I usually check my websites every month with the tools above, and if I plan big changes I check them before and after to see if my improvements are going in the right direction and if they have some unexpected side effects.
Let me know if there are other free tools that you use and like!