Running an ecommerce business is a lot of work. And, it’s a never-ending project, as we are constantly looking for ways to improve our websites – for SEO ranking, customer retention and user satisfaction, and more.
There are hundreds of tools available that can give you insight into your website in order to make it better. Here are just some of my favorite free tools you can use to help you improve your website.
When you have your own website, sometimes you are too close to it and miss pain points that your customers might be feeling. Watching a random stranger use your website can be very eye-opening, and help you make improvements you hadn’t thought of. I use Peek User Testing once a month to get a review of my website – one review for my website as used on a desktop computer, and another review for my website as used on a mobile device. I have learned a lot from watching these review videos, and have made changes to my website as a result. You are allowed to have one free test each month – for your website and for your mobile website. I recommend signing up for each test and use the information to tweak your website. Here is a link to my latest mobile test – this will give you an idea of what to expect.
While this tool is free to use, you can also request a more in-depth review using their paid service.
Tool: Peek User Testing
Website Page Speed Test
Knowing how quickly your website pages load can help you improve your website, both for SEO and for customer satisfaction. When you run a page speed test with this tool, you will see how your website compares to others, and the tool will give you suggestions on how you can improve your page speed. Just enter your website URL and check your speed.
Another free speed test tool to use is GTmetrix. This tool analyzes how well your website loads and then gives you actionable recommendations on how you can optimize your website load speed. I really like the GTmetrix tool and use it on a regular basis, especially when I make changes to my website. This tool provides an in-depth report on your website, as well as a YSlow score.
Another free tool that is invaluable to ecommerce business owners is Google Analytics. This tool offers a ton of useful information for monitoring and improving your website. You’ll find out where your visitors are from, which device they are using, how visitors found your website, how visitors interact with your website, and so much more. I especially like using the Real Time and Behavior reporting tools. Google Analytics is a permanent tab open on my browser window, as I use it every day. TIP: When I post a new promotion or product on social media with a link to my website, I like to leave Real Time reporting open on a browser tab so I can see how quickly people respond to the link I just posted. When my social media followers respond immediately, this lets me know the information I posted was interesting, relevant, the timing was good, and what I posted caught their attention. If the post receives very little engagement, that information is helpful as well.
Tool: Google Analytics
Another free tool by Google that will help you monitor (and improve) your website is Google Search Console. With Search Console you will be able to see any crawl errors Google is having with your website, as well as how many pages of your website have been indexed by Google. There is also an area where you will find HTML Improvement recommendations, how to use Structured Data and Rich Cards, and to see what search terms visitors are using to find your website. This is another tool that is open permanently on a tab in my web browser, and a tool that I use every day.
Tool: Google Search Console
Search Engine Optimization Analysis
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a very important aspect of perfecting your website. When your website is optimized for search engines, your website will rank better and more customers will be able to find your website. A free tool to help you monitor your SEO is called SEO SiteCheckup. Just enter your website URL and this tool runs a quick test on your website, and reports back with it’s findings for improving your SEO.
Tool: SEO SiteCheckup
Hopefully this list of free tools will help get you started. Make sure to stay tuned to this “Just JayDee” series for even more free tools in upcoming articles!
ADDITIONAL FREE TOOLS TO CHECK OUT:
- Your Website on Various Devices – Websites might look and behave differently based on the device you are viewing it on. For example, if you’ve designed your website for desktop users, it might look different for mobile users. The free tool Responsinator allows you to see what your website looks like on a wide variety of different devices.
- Page Speed – In addition to the page speed tool mentioned above, PageSpeed Insights by Google is another tool you can use to measure your website. This tool looks at the content of your website and then offers suggestions on what you can do to make the website load faster.
- SEO Reports – Another free tool for testing your website SEO is Nibbler. You may spot additional errors using this tool, as compared to the other SEO tools mentioned above. It’s definitely worthwhile giving it a try.
- Link Explorer – MOZ Open Site Explorer is a free tool for website link analysis. It allows you to check backlinks, find link-building opportunities and discover potentially damaging links to your website. Just enter your website URL to get started. There is a paid version of this tool that will provide you with much more detail, but the free version does a pretty good job to get you started.
Do you have recommendations for other free website improvement tools that you use? Share in a comment below!
Also published on Medium.