Being a Minnesota Web Designer I’ve built quite a collection of tools that I use to test, optimize, and improve websites and I thought I’d share some of my favorites here.
Free Tools to Test and Optimize your Website
We’re talking free (as in beer) tools that you can use to improve your website, what more could you want?
1. Google (Webmaster Tools, Analytics, Adwords, Adsense, Etc.)
Google has an amazing assortment of tools to improve and monetize your site, and best of all they are completely free (you just need a Google Account).
First are the Google Webmaster Tools, it takes a little work to add and verify your site (upload a file to your server or add a meta tag to your homepage), but it’s completely worth it. The Google Webmaster Tools give you comprehensive statistics on your site, including: diagnostics, top search queries, what googlebot sees, internal and external links, and plenty of other useful tools to analyze your site.
Now it’s Google Adwords turn to advertise your site and bring in the traffic (and business)! Setup multiple Adwords campaigns and use the Keyword Tool to target specific keywords, to promote your website and your business. You can also use the Website Optimizer to track A/B scenarios to improve your website and generate more business! Now the advertising part of Google Adwords may not be free (well $50 of free advertising with a new Adwords Account), but all of the great tools that come with Adwords ARE free (Keyword Tool, Website Optimizer, etc.).
Don’t forget about Google Adsense! You can use Adsense to provide targeted advertising on your blog or website. Now you have the option of Adsense for Content (text and/or image ads in many different sizes), Adsense for Search (offer your users site search and get paid for relevant ads at the same time), Adsense for feeds (releveant ads in your RSS feeds from Google), Video Units (show youtube partner videos and get paid), or Adsense for Mobile Content (make money from your mobile website). So, as you can see the options are endless, and with the right ads you can make money from your website!
There are many other Google Tools that I have not listed here, but that offer some really great features and functions. To learn more about all that Google has to offer, check out the Google Products Page.
Site Explorer allows you to explore all the web pages indexed by Yahoo! Search. View the most popular pages from any site, dive into a comprehensive site map, and find pages that link to a site or even a specific page. Overall the Yahoo Site Explorer is a great tool for analyzing your own site (for pages indexed in Yahoo, as well as backlinks to your site), but it’s also a great tool to analyze your competitors sites (see their most popular pages AND the backlinks to their site).
3. Website Grader by Hubspot
Website Grader is a free tool from Hubspot that you can use to analyze your website for traffic, SEO, and social popularity, as well as keyword ranking and competitor site analysis. Simply enter your site address, a few of your competitors sites, and your email, and Website Grader does the rest. You will get a report on your website with a final grade (out of 100) on how well your website is optimized, and how well your site does compared to other websites.
Paid Tools to Test and Optimize your Website
Alright, so that was a decent list of free tools, but how about the sea of paid tools that you can use to optimize your website?
1. Web CEO
Web CEO is the motherload in the case of Website Quality Testing, Search Engine Optimization, and a whole lot more! Start off by finding your Niche through Keyword Research, Optimizing your Site, and Editing your Web Pages. Then you can move on to Promoting your Site with Search Engine Submissions, Link Partners, and Paid Search Campaigns. Finish off with Analyzing and Maintaining your Site by Checking your Search Engine Rankings, Analyzing your Inbound Links, Track and Analyze Visitors, Find and Fix Broken Links and Errors on your Site, and Monitor your Website in case it goes down. Like I said before, Web CEO is the motherload of paid website tools.
With a WordTracker Subscription you can optimize your website for popular keywords, generate relevant keywords to improve your search campaigns and build traffic, and research online markets to find the right niche for your site. There’s also the WordTracker Academy where you can learn all about keywords, niches and how to research and take advantage of online markets.
Compete’s slogan says it all, “Track your rivals. Then eat their lunch.” With Compete you can get comprehensive analytics and compare your site with up to 4 of your competitors. Find out how much traffic your competitors sites are getting, their most popular keywords, and more.
Well that should just about wrap up this post. If you have a really great tool for improving your website that you’d like to share, please feel free to post a comment here or contact me. And, if you’re looking to Analyze or Optimize your Website (or you’re looking for Minnesota Web Design), don’t forget to check out JB Design and Photo.