The Best Tools for Keeping Your Site in Shape

Posted / 15 June, 2016

Author / Enginess

Tools that will help you improve your site. Improves your site’s speed, accessibility, usability, and make maintenance a breeze.

A few weeks ago, we touched on iterative design and the importance of treating your website as an ongoing, constantly improving project. In that spirit, we’ve gathered some of our favourite apps and tools for keeping your website in killer shape. The list includes tools for monitoring (and improving!) everything from speed, to usability, to accessibility, to help you painlessly maintain your site’s fitness. Let’s dive in.  

Best Tools for Monitoring Speed

Google PageSpeed Insights

google page speed insights Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a great tool for gauging the speed performance of your site. PageSpeed rates your site’s speed on a scale from 1 to 100 by measuring above-the-fold and full page load times. If your score isn’t quite up to snuff, PageSpeed offers recommendations for improving site speed, as well as a number of modules that can make tweaks to your site (for example optimizing caching or prioritizing visual content) to boost its speed.  

Pingdom

pingdom Pingdom is one of the most popular speed testing tools around, and for good reason. Pingdom provides detailed speed reports that include a page analysis, a site history, a grade for site speed performance, and a waterfall breakdown of your site. The basic speed test is free and fast, and it allows you to test your site’s speed from any location in the world. Pingdom also has a great feature that alerts you when your website is down, and it can monitor site performance almost constantly – but you’ll have to pay a modest fee to access these features.  

GTmetrix

gtmetrix If a detailed speed report is what you’re after, GTmetrix is a good option. GTmetrix grades site speeds by combining PageSpeed and YSlow scores from different browsers and connection types. The GTmetrix speed report includes a waterfall breakdown, video, report history, and page load details (e.g. time, size, and number of requests). Based on the report, GTmetrix also provides detailed, actionable recommendations for speeding things up.  

Best Tools for Usability Testing

[caption id="attachment_5165" align="aligncenter" width="600"]dilbert usability A reminder from Dilbert on the importance of usability testing[/caption]

IntuitionHQ

Available as a mobile app and as a web-based tool, Intuition HQ bills itself as a website usability testing tool for designers. You can use it to see how users are interacting with your site, how long it takes users to complete tasks, and it lets you view user feedback easily.  

Five Second Tests

As the name implies, Five Second Tests let you quickly and easily test your site’s home page designs, logos, and landing pages (among other things) by measuring users’ first impressions. You can use Five Second Tests to measure the usability of your site in various ways, including how intuitive or learnable tasks on the site are.  

Loop11

Loop11 is an online user testing tool that’s easy for beginners with no coding knowledge to use. With this in mind, Loop11 makes it incredibly quick to set up usability tests yourself (from anywhere in the world), and its test reports and task analyses are useful and easy to interpret.

Best Tools for Accessibility

web accessibility

Juicy Studio’s Local Tools

Juicy Studio offers a range of accessibility testing tools, including a readability test, which measures how readable your site is,  a luminosity colour contrast analyser, which tests whether there is sufficient contrast between your site’s background and foreground, and an image analyser, which tests your site to ensure that images are specified correctly. Juicy studio also has a useful Accessibility Toolbar, but it’s only available as an extension for Firefox.  

Vischeck

Vischeck is a tool that simulates colorblindness and allows you to view your website as a colorblind user would. You can use Vischeck to make sure that your site is accessible and usable for colorblind users, and to identify any tweaks that need to be made to the content or design of your site to make it more user-friendly.  

WebAnywhere

WebAnywhere lets you see how your site looks to users who require assistive software. Technically designed as a web-based screen reader to assist blind people in accessing the internet, WebAnywhere is a useful accessibility testing tool as well. Using it to view your own website will give you a better idea of how your site renders for visually impaired users, and can help you identify any changes you should be making to optimize accessibility.  

Best Tools for Keeping Tabs on Your Stats

SumAll

sumall SumAll is a cross-platform tool that lets you monitor statistics from your website, social media accounts, and even e-commerce sales, all at-a-glance in one intuitive dashboard. It also comes complete with mobile apps, giving you the ability to keep an eye on all of your KPIs when you’re out of the office. The service also provides regular email updates, so if you’re too busy to log in every day you can stay up to speed with a daily digest of your site’s performance compared against recent benchmarks.  

Google Analytics App

google anlaytics mobile app Everyone knows Google Analytics as the desktop platform you use to monitor your site’s traffic and statistics, but Google recently released iOS and Android companion mobile apps so that mobile users can have easy access to the same data. Needless to say, the Analytics mobile app is a must-haves for any regular GA user.  

Best Tools for Site Maintenance

FTP Manager

ftp manager FTP Manager is a business app that lets you perform website and file maintenance from your phone, wherever you are. The app lets you securely log into your site server from your phone to fix your broken site, upload images, and fit text using a text editor. FTP is ideal if you’re on the move a lot and need to be able to perform site maintenance at the drop of a hat.  

Wrap Up

Keeping your website at the top of its game can be a tricky task, especially if you’re not looking to conduct in-depth user testing or a big site overhaul. That’s where these tools come in. They’re fast, easy to use, and can help you maintain and improve your site’s speed, accessibility, usability, and make maintenance a breeze, even if you’re not in the office. Most of all, they can help you keep your site in good shape – just in time for summer.

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