If you’ve seen any of our website review articles, you know that we enjoy testing sites. While there is a lot that goes into our reviews, here are a few tests you can do on your own, to make sure your site is running smoothly!
1. User Experience (UX)
This one doesn’t require any outside sources—besides a friend. Have someone else go through your site. Check every link can be quite painstaking, but there is a purpose to it. Going through every inch of your site—even the dusty little corners—puts you in the shoes of your users. The best way to do this is to have a few goals in mind.
Have your helper pretend to be a couple different users with different situations. When they are exploring the site, is it easy to find what they’re looking for? Are any links dead or faulty? Does anything look out of place? Is anything hard to use or understand? Think of a list of questions such as these and keep those in mind while exploring your site.
Have them look for things you can improve, but also things that your site does well! It is important to remember that critiques and reviews aren’t entirely negative. Give yourself a pat on the back for everything that works well on your site, and just make an effort to fix any problems you find without beating yourself up about it. Technology is a tricky thing, and there’s always room for improvement in everything in life.
2. Google Developers
You can run your site through Google Developers PageSpeed Insights. This test is simple and efficient. Just copy and paste your site’s URL into the search box and Google runs the test!
WebPageTest tests the loading time of your site. What’s great about it is that it shows results in a waterfall chart, including when your “first byte” loads.
Talk about detailed!
WebPageTest even creates a video to show you how the site loads on the page with a timer on the bottom. As far as loading speed and quality goes, this is a go-to test!
One of our favorite tests is GTmetrix. This test does it all! It checks for loading time, the weight of your site, and more. GTmetrix compares your scores to the average so you know comparatively if your site is slow or fast … or just right.
Varvy is offers a great combination of the benefits of Google Developers PageSpeed Insight test and the GTmetrix test.
Varvy tells you where your site does well, where your website needs some work, and what needs maintenance (all in a color-coordinated chart from green to yellow to red). In seconds, you can check how well your site handles things like security, accessibility, and incoming/outbound links.
W3C Markup Validation Service and CSS Validation Service are extremely useful because not only do they tell you how many errors are in your HTML and CSS, it shows you what the errors are! Instead of just telling you there is a problem, it shows you the exact code and how to correct it. This way you don’t have to spend hours pouring over your code, wondering where on earth the errors are. It’s all right in front of you, and easy as pie!
7. WAVE Test and Accessibility
As you may have noticed from our recent article on accessibility, we are big fans of the WAVE test, which evaluates the accessibility of a site. Like the W3C tests, the WAVE test clearly points out where the errors are, tells you why they are problematic, and tells you how to fix them. And once you do, your site will be much more open to any user who visits your site!
So there you are folks—a few easy and exceptionally useful ways to assess your site! Make sure to give each a go and you’ll have a flawless site in no time at all.