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Five Tools We Recommend to Test your Site

Here are 5 tools to test the health of your website and leave your competitors in the dust.
By 
Paul Chastain
July 23, 2021

Let's go back to when having a website was a luxury. Businesses would hire web designers and graphic designers to create beautiful websites only to serve as a validation tool. With little to no competition, businesses had to do the bare minimum to rank on search results.

But along the web design time travel, Google was born, content management systems launched, and internet speeds increased. Bloggers created WordPress sites to take advantage of the easy drag and drop editor. They didn't have to depend on the IT department to blog or share the content anymore.

Then we entered the mobile revolution and social media, and the focus went from web creation to web customization. In the following years, maintaining an online presence & digital marketing became only a part of a huge puzzle.

Businesses now have to outshine the competition and also capture the attention of easily distracted users. Businesses with online stores face unique challenges like making changes in real-time. Discussions about open source resources complicate things further and there's also a constant threat of cyber-attacks and so on.

With the new challenges companies face at the digital frontier, testing has become an important part of a successful website. Testing your website:

  • Minimizes the errors and bugs on the site
  • Makes your business more user friendly
  • Ensures compatibility with different platforms and devices
  • Improves search engine rankings
  • Removes conversion barriers
  • Sets you apart in the market
  • Negates the need to redesign website continuously
  • Boosts website security with a vulnerability scanner
Redbear Films SEMRush tools

Here are five tools we recommend to test your site

SEMrush

Your site will go through many different changes throughout its life cycle. These changes will alter some technical, off-page, and on-page SEO aspects. Periodic website audits can help ensure your site is in good operational standing – and that's where tools like SEMrush come in handy.

The SEMrush site audit tool can scan your site for 130+ technical and SEO issues. It provides in-depth information that helps you make changes and improvements that can improve your site's performance. With SEMrush, you'll:

  • Be able to perform deep technical SEO audit of your site to identify and fix issues that affect your rankings in search engines. Once you perform a site audit, you'll get a summary report of your site health score, crawled pages, along with critical warnings, errors and notices.
  • Get thematic reports that provide insights into technical aspects of your site's performance. These include the HTTP stats, crawlability, internal linking structure, and site performance metrics. In a nutshell;
    • Crawlability score shows how accessible your site is for search engines.
    • Site performance score tests page load speeds.
    • Internal linking report points out any linking issues.
    • HTTP stats track you're your application security.
  • Identify things you can do to boost the ranking of pages on your site.
    • The Total Ideas Section highlights pages that need optimization and ideas to get you started. It provides on-page improvement ideas, secondary keywords, readability factors, content length, and backlink opportunities. These ideas include strategy, content, SERP features, backlinks, UX, technical issues improvements, and content semantics.
Redbear Films Page speed

GTMetrix

GTMetrix is a web performance analytics tool that analyzes site performance and page load times and provides a list of actionable recommendations to improve it. The tool can help you develop a faster, more efficient, and all-around improved site experience for your users. With GTMetrix, you can:

  • Perform GTMetrics allows you to track periodic updates of your site's performance and view them on interactive graphs. It groups the results into three parts:
    • Page Speed & YSlow Scores
    • Page sizes and request counts
    • Page timings
  • Track competitor's sites for a SWOT analysis.
  • Analyze:
    • Site's Fully Loaded Time to know how long it takes your site to load in seconds.
    • Total Page Size in MB and the total number of assets that your site uses at any given time.
    • Page Speed score – and a breakdown of 25 metrics that affect page speed. You can see the images on your pages and suggestions to reduce the size. Not only that. It also pinpoints the compression details and creates new and compressed images to use on your site.

It does the same job as Google's Page Speed Insights (PSI). However, GTMetrix has seven regional test servers while PSI is geolocated. PSI uses emulated browsers that are complex and outdated. It also uses a real browser for browser testing, providing a better indication of your site's performance.

Google Search Console

Search Console is designed to ensure your site's search engines are unharmed and that you do not have errors that hurt your rankings. With Google Search Console, you can easily track and resolve site load issues, server errors, and security issues like malware and hacking. You can also streamline any site adjustments and maintenance with regard to Google search results.

Google provides website reports that can help you ensure your site is not penalized for violating rules and that it's error-free, fast, and optimized for mobile devices. With Search Console, you can:

  • See how well covered your site is in the Google index. This shows you how much of your website has index coverage to ensure they are as visible for search optimization as they need to be.
  • Identify new sitemaps to submit to Google, and check how often they get crawled. You can also check for errors that Google experienced when crawling your submitted sitemaps.
  • Check the status and function of individual URLs on your site using the URL inspection tool.
  • See if your site is hit with a manual function.
  • Get information about how your site is performing in key areas of user experience.
  • Spot and remove any malicious code.
  • Identify pages that don't have a responsive design.

Google PageSpeed

As mentioned earlier, Google PageSpeed Insights (PSI) does the same work as GTMetrix save for subtle differences. These are two very powerful tools that let you measure your web pages' performance and get suggestions on how to enhance the page's accessibility, performance, and SEO.

PSI helps you fix issues that slow down your web applications. It collects and returns data from an open-source tool called Lighthouse and real-world data from Chrome User Experience Report. The result is a score that summarizes the performance and a series of suggestions. Google PageSpeed lets you audit:

  • First Contentful Paint (FCP) – or the first point in time when the user sees any page content on the screen.
  • Speed Index (SI) – or how quickly the contents of a page are visibly displayed.
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – or the time a site takes to display the largest content on the screen.
Redbear Website testing tools

Google Structured Data Testing Tool

Sites with structured data get higher click-through rates and conversions. Tools like Google's Structured Data Testing Tool offer an effective way to test your structured data and whether or not your code is correctly implemented. You can use the tool to validate Microdata, RDFa, and JSON-LD formats and implement schema on your site. The tool will also detect any errors present in the code.

Although Google is shutting down this tool, you could still access it for an undefined period. Google recommends users to run their tests through the Rich Results Test tool. With this tool, you'll be able to:

  • Inspect live URLs or specific structured data code snippets.
  • Review warnings or errors in the code
  • Rectify inline and check to see if the code validates
  • Preview how a rich snippet will show in search results

The Rich Results Test tool offers even better features that:

  • Approves that structured data is "right" for rich results
  • Render both desktop and mobile versions of how rich results would look like in search results.
  • Ensure dynamically created structured data is handled more effectively.

Some of these tools may seem daunting, but any decent web admin should be using some if not all of these tools when examing the health of your website.

About the author:

Paul (JP) Chastain has worked with many Fortune 500 companies including Apple, HP, Wells Fargo, and Google in the technology sector focusing on online psychology & marketing - forming campaigns for digital & traditional use over every possible medium.
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