Check Your Website Performance
Your website may look fine but how good is it really? There are a number of tests you can perform yourself to see how well your site rates for speed, SEO, responsive, and accessibility.
Nobody likes a slow website. You will lose visitors if your site does not download quickly. Check the speed of your site at GTMetrix.
Pictured above are poor results of page speed check on GTMetrix.
The page takes a whopping seven seconds to fully load. The page size is too big. The same site was tested at Google PageSpeed with the following results.
The site performs poorly on both mobile and desktop. If your site does not do well on speed tests, contact your web developer. There are several ways they can increase the speed of your site. The first step is to optimise your pictures. Go to How Fast is Your Website? for more information on download speed
What does your website look like on mobile devices? The first way to test your site is to open your browser and shrink the screen. Does it break at any point? Below is a picture of a website that breaks at the midsize range.
Unless your site is specifically designed for horizontal scrolling, you do not want a horizontal scrollbar. You should be able to see the whole width of the horizontal screen. In the example above the link to ‘Contact Us’ is obscured.
Check the site at the Google Mobile-Friendly Test site. Below is an example of a website that is a total responsive failure. If you get this result, contact your web developer and get it fixed.
This may seem obvious but check your website on your mobile phone and find someone with a different operating system to you, and ask them to check it. I once came across a website that looked fine on a Samsung phone but would not display on an iPhone.
Google punishes sites that are not mobile friendly and I have seen this in the rankings. One site that ranked 1 for a particular search term is now ranked sixth. It has taken a long time for Bing and Yahoo! to follow suit. Read more about Responsive Web Design.
Content is the most important part of your site, so make sure it is readable. The first test is to read your content and check for mistakes. Ask someone else to check it too, as we often don’t see our own mistakes. How readable is your site? Unless you are making a website for a very narrow range of experts avoid jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations that can lead to ambiguity. Use short words in preference to long words and keep your sentences short.
Next get the computer to read your content and see how it flows. This is a good way to test your spelling and grammar. It will also give you some inside on how your site reads on a screen reader used for people with visual impairments or reading difficulties.
Test the readability of your site at Readable.io. Below are the results of a piece of text from a website. This passage is difficult to read and understand. Since writing this blog Readable has changed their policy. You no longer can test one page a day, you need to sign up for a free trial. You can test readability at Hemingwayapp.com.
The test also reveals the balance of the writing style. The image below shows that the writing from the site is too formal. Interesting it also can calculate the gender of the writer.
Good, well-written content will improve your search engine rankings. Read more on Web Content.
Check Your Links
Make sure that all your links are working. If your site is small, you can check your links manually but if you have a larger site you can check links at Online Broken Link Checker. You need to check external links periodically as websites come and go.
Below is a screenshot showing results of a site that has many broken links.
Broken links will annoy your visitors, check your site and fix them.
Make sure that your site is accessible to everyone. A site that is not accessible to screen readers is not accessible to search engine spiders. Test your site for accessibility at WAVE, Below is a summary of the results of accessibility testing.
There are 6 missing form labels on the above page, meaning that this form would be difficult for a visually impaired person to use. Most of these problems are easy to fix and are often due to sloppy web development. Read Accessible contact forms for more information on creating accessible forms in WordPress. Check that all your images have meaningful alt tags. Fortunately, this website has made changes to their contact form to make it more accessible.
For more information read Accessible websites.
Search Engine Optimisation
I have left this section to last because once you have all the above problems fixed you are well on the way to optimise your pages for search engines.SEO Site Checkup is a good place to check your SEO. It gives you an overall graph as shown below.
Below the graph, the page has an extensive list of items that have been checked for and information on how you can correct the failures and warnings. You can check one page a day for free but if you want to check more sites you will need to sign up for a free trial. Read more about Search Engine Optimisation
Please contact me with any questions. I am passionate about good web design.