Check Your Website Performance

Your website may look fine but how good is it really? There are a number of test you can perform yourself to see how well your site rates for speed, SEO, responsive, and accessibility.

Speed

Results of checking the TLAP site on GTMetrix. A score of F for PageSpeed and a Score of E

Nobody likes a slow website. You will loose 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.

Results of testing TLAP website on PageSpeed showing poor results for both desktop and mobile.

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

Responsive

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.

Port Pirie regional council web site is not responsive at the 800px size

Unless your site is specifically designed for horizontal scrolling, you do not want a horizontal scroll bar. 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.

Result of a website that failed the mobile friendly test
Results of mobile friendly test on a site that isn’t mobile friendly

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

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.

Test checked from the TLAP site and result is a D

Key to results mainly based on length of sentences and words.

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.

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 screen shot showing results of a site that has many broken links.

A total of 76 broken links on Phoenix Web website

Broken links will annoy your visitors, check your site and fix them.

Accessibility

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.

The Contact form from the TLAP site with 11 Errors and 27 alerts including 6 missing form labels

On the above page there are 6 missing form labels which means that this form would be impossible 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.

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 optimising 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.

Results of SEO check of the TLAP site with 11 failed checks and 3 warnings

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

Conclusion

After your site is created, it is worth while testing it to see how it performs. All sites will need some adjustments and it is difficult to get all the problems sorted, especially if your site is on a content management system. Every plugin used on a WordPress site will add its own css and javascript file leading to more calls to the server and slowing your site down. Your site may look great but if it is too slow and is not optimised for search engines nobody will see it. If your site isn’t accessible, you are limiting the number of satisfied visitors to you pages. The use of mobile phones to browse the web is growing so you site should function well on the smallest smart phones. Good web design is aimed at giving your visitors a good user experience.

Do you need a Professional Web Designer?

Please contact me with any questions. I am passionate about good web design.

Share your thoughts