It’s an unfortunate reality that many individuals making websites never get good, critical, impartial feedback on their websites before launching them. It’s even more unfortunate that key user errors can create subtle issues in coding, layout, or functionality which can disastrously affect user experience of a site.
This guide will introduce several tools which can help evaluate and review your website critically.
Nibbler is a free website which tests your website on a variety of metrics, such as coding quality, marketing, user experience, technology, and more. It will rate your website on a numeric scale of 1 to 10, ordering your results by priority. Best of all, Nibbler tells you what to do to correct issues.
Nibbler is a great first-run evaluation tool to use on your website; it’s not particularly deep and runs entirely on algorithms, and testing generally takes less than a minute even for large or complex sites. It’s also worth noting that, the free version of its test only tests five pages, which are not manually selected.
Woorank rates your website’s usability, mobile, social, local, and other stats with a heavy focus on your potential marketability. This makes it a good companion piece to Nibbler, which focuses a little more on site functionality and technology. Unfortunately, Woorank allows for only one free use; subsequent uses will require a paid subscription (don’t worry- it’s pretty affordable).
It gives your website a total score between 1 and 100, but breaks that score down into comprehensive metrics. Like Nibbler,it suggests easy fixes to the issues it identifies. It also gives access to a keyword cloud, which not only shows you your largest keywords… but tells you whether or not those keywords are showing up in the ideal spots. It also politely advises you to hide email addresses where they appear in-text (and it will tell you where to find them) to avoid spam.
Woorank offers other tools and browser plugins to help monitor your site, as well as free website builder reviews.
This website allows you to vet, select, and actually watch beta testers to utilize your website like potential clients. Being able to see how users interact with your website in real-time can provide invaluable information that textual reports simply can’t offer: you can see what their eyes gravitate to, identify trouble spots, pages which have a poor hold time, and see how a real user would organically move through your site and behave.
Especially for websites which require a long amount of visitor time on-site to make conversions, this sort of testing and evaluation is absolutely critical. And if your website is experiencing trouble even well after being launched, utilizing a few Ethn.io reviewers can help you discover what’s wrong with your user experience in a more real and visceral way than trying to parse out problems with analytics.
Hubspot Marketing Grader
Hubspot’s tool has been around for a long time, and has analyzed millions of sites. Its goal is to help users to fix issues on their websites which might reduce traffic, and it’s utterly free to use. Their grader, revamped in 2014, ranks your website on Social Media, Blogging, Lead Generation, and SEO.
This is significant because it measures your effective ability to grow your website. More and more, Google is looking to social and local signals rather than backlink profile to rank your site. Your on-page SEO is still instrumental in measuring just how effectively your website appears in searches, and lead generation (especially for newer sites) is obviously the biggest metric which influences conversions.
Grading Your Own Website
It isn’t enough to just use Webmaster Tools and Analytics to review your website; doing so will blind you to potentially glaring usability, coding, social, or other issues which can cripple your website from the outset. And most of these tools are free- the only commitment you need is your own time.