In my daily activities, I examine thousands of websites looking for the latest trends and keeping up with current standards. On numerous occasions, I often get a frantic call from a potential client stressing that their website sucks! They contact me when their website fails to meet their requirements. While their websites may look good, it isn’t performing as they thought it would. Other times, they need additional functionality that they can’t get working. Most often however, entrepreneurs realize that they don’t have the knowledge and experience to take their website to the next level. The first thing I do is perform an audit of their website to check certain overlooked areas. When presented with my findings, the most frequent response from clients is “I didn’t know that!”. Here are several websites that you can use to check your website.
Validate your code
The first thing I do when looking at a website is to validate the HTML code (the plain text used to describe the web page. The W3C Markup Validator checks the HTML code of your web page to ensure that your page follows the rules for the HTML language. Web browsers are very liberal in their interpretation of markup and when they discover invalid code, they will guess at what you intended to display (sometimes they guess wrong).
The second step is to validate the CSS code (the plain text used to layout the web page). The W3C CSS Validator checks the CSS code for errors, typos, and incorrect uses of CSS.
Correct any problems found with the HTML and CSS of each web page of your website. These two areas are the most common cause of a website not looking the same across different browsers. Google recommends that all websites use valid code. It helps Google index your website. Also, placing your CSS styles in a separate file (instead of using inline styles) helps with the CSS validation process. If you are uncertain whether any HTML or CSS element works with a given web browser, check out the element at the Can I Use website.
Check your colours
The third step in determining if a website sucks is to check colours to ensure that there is sufficient contrast between the foreground and the background colours of each web element. The tool available at Check My Colours analyzes the luminosity contrast and colour brightness of all elements and provides a report of items which may be hard to read due to insufficient contrast between colours. Fix any colour contrast issues found to make your web pages easier to read.
Verify your page load speed
The fourth step is to check the page loading speed of each web page. A slow loading web page frustrates visitors and they will quickly leave your website if it is too slow. There are several tools that I use. My goto overall website speed tool is from GTMetrix. It provides a comprehensive report on the performance of a website and provides recommendations on how to fix issues. Next, I run the website through Pingdom Tools. Finally, I run the Google PageSpeed testing tool provides a report of any areas that require fixing. This tool checks the page for both the desktop and mobile loading speed. Aim for a score of at least 86 in this test. Follow the suggestions from all three tools to increase the page loading speed of your website.
Do a mobile-friendly test
The fifth step is to verify whether the website is mobile friendly. The Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool scans your website and provides a report highlighting any mobile errors found. The report also provides recommendations on how to fix these errors. Google penalizes non-mobile websites in their web page ranking and will not include non-mobile websites in their mobile-friendly index.
These are just a sampling of the tools I use every day to check out a website for clients. Discovering and fixing any errors found by these tools will help improve your website. If you don’t have the expertise or time to conduct a full website audit, ask a professional to help you. Your website will thank you. Your website users will thank you. And Google will thank you with a higher page ranking. If you discover that your website sucks, now you have several tools available to understand why and can fix it.
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