Tools for effective website reviews
Website reviews require a good amount of thought and work, but also the right tools for the job. In this blog, I cover some of the tools I use to assess websites.
Website reviews can feel like a mammoth task. Where to start? What to look for? How to prioritise? What to ignore?
I have previously written about how to assess your website, looking at factors such as the purpose of your website, how visible it is in search, the quality of your content, and of course page speed.
In this blog post, I would like to share with you a quick rundown of a few super useful tools for website reviews, as well as some pointers so you know what to look out for.
If you have analytics set up on your site, you have access to a huge dataset that paints a picture of how people use your site.
Whichever software you use, the important thing is that you have visibility on the numbers, that the numbers are reliable, and that you know what to look for (especially on Google Analytics, where there are so many graphs and options that it can be hard to pick out what is really useful).
These are the key bits of data that you should check when you do a website review:
- Pages with the highest pageviews. This will tell you what content is the most popular. You can then dig a little deeper to work out both why that is (so that you can do more of that either on that page or elsewhere on your site).
- Pages with low views. This will highlight to you pages that need a bit of attention. Do you need to tweak the headline or metadata to make it more interesting for searchers to click on?
- Acquisition. Knowing how people find your site content is really useful, as you can then see which marketing channels are the most effective.
Learn more: How to review your websites performance
Google Search console
Google Search console can give you a very helpful insight into the terms for which your site shows up in search results, and how well you rank for your preferred keywords. It’s very useful for spotting SEO opportunities.
If you rank in the top 10 for a certain term, you can improve your meta title and description to make it even more appealing to people so they click through to the content on your site.
If you’d like to improve your ranking for a certain term, you probably need to add more instances and variations of it to the relevant page.
Once you’ve made significant changes to your pages, you can then resubmit your sitemap on Search Console to let Google know that there is new information for it to look at. This gets your site re-indexed quicker.
Moz Domain Authority tracker
When you look at website reviews, it is important to measure what matters, and not just think something matters because it can be measured!
Number of followers on social media is often described as one such “vanity metric” – as some accounts have huge follower numbers but low engagement or low sales.
Moz’s Domain Authority tracker can be seen as a vanity metric as well, as improvements in this score do not have any significant impact on your search ranking.
That said, it does have some useful data, such as the top domains that link to you, and your top snippets (when Google pulls out a part of your page in the search results) so it’s possible to find some useful tidbits of information that might have missed when looking at Search Console.
PageSpeed / Google Lighthouse
Page speed is an important factor for website success, because people like fast-loading sites, and so search engines reward sites that deliver on that front.
You can press F12 if you use Chrome or a privacy-focused alternative browser such as Brave to open Developer tools. Click on the Lighthouse tab to generate a report on your site which reviews four important categories:
- Performance – how fast your site loads
- Best Practices – whether your site meets modern usability standards
- Accessibility – how well your website can be read by screen readers
- SEO – how likely your site is likely to be picked up by search engines
Want to speed up your site? Check out my website optimisation service.
Website carbon calculator
Businesses and buyers are increasingly paying more attention to the impact of all their activities on the environment, and that includes their digital footprint.
While it can be difficult to work out the impact of our online activities on the natural world, one tool does offer an estimation.
The Website Carbon Calculator by Wholegrain Digital uses information about your site to give an idea of the carbon footprint it generates over the course of the year, and puts it into context by saying how many trees it takes to absorb that carbon.
Learn more: How to make your site more eco friendly
Blacklight Website Privacy Inspector
Blacklight is a website privacy inspection tool to check what trackers and cookies feature on your website as well as other more intrusive technologies like session recording and key logging.
Not only this but it lets you know which companies this data gets sent to.
At a time when controlling your digital privacy has never been more important, using Blacklight can help you get a better idea of how you can protect your website visitors privacy. The less trackers your website has, the better (PJWD has none hurrah)!
My website review service assesses the search visibility, speed and usability of your website, and gives you a list of recommendations to implement and make your site better.