Web Developers know that the process of finalizing a developed website is a puzzle of many pieces. Each one of those pieces is essential by the modern development standards, but not necessarily known to a regular user. Good development is not taking shortcuts in the development process and delivering a quality product every time. I put together a few tips on how you – a business owner, a non-technical person – can check some hidden aspects of your website’s overall health by using these simple methods and free online tools.
Is your website responsive?
How to check: View your website in different browsers and on different devices.
What to look for: While there could be some variations of how the content is presented on different screen sizes, the overall message should remain the same. We recommend trying a couple of different browsers installed on your computer, a smartphone, and a tablet. The experience should be consistent throughout all versions of the website.
If you don’t have access to multiple devices, try using Am I Responsive, an online tool. Just enter your website URL in the search bar and click “GO!”
Does your website have proper social media tags?
How to check: Type in your website address into the online tools below to check what it would look like when shared on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
What to look for: When sharing a link on social media, your website should have a title, description, and an optional image. The image to the right shows a preview Twitter card using the Twitter Validator Tool.
Does your website have proper SEO tags?
How to check: Run a Google search for your URL address and check how your website is displayed in search engines.
What to look for: Title and Description. It is crucial that every page of your website is equipped with at least these 2 pieces of SEO. They will help search engines properly index your website and provide information to users. The image to the right shows a preview of SEO tags using a simple Google search.
Do all images on your website have text equivalents?
How to check: View your pages with images disabled.
What to look for: In place of all images, there should be a descriptive text.
In the era of high-speed internet connection, people no longer disable images to save on bandwidth, but there are 2 reasons why it is still very important to provide alternative text tags for all images:
- There is still a chance someone with an extremely poor connection would view your page or the images would simply not load. It is important for those users to have an idea of what kind of image is on the page so they can experience as full of a browsing experience as possible.
- People with certain disabilities simply aren’t able to see the images, so they need to be provided with a different way of perceiving this information.
Exception: Alternative text is not required for images that are only used for decorative purposes and don’t carry any significance.
Does your website have a favicon?
How to check: Open your website in a browser
What to look for: The small graphic that appears to the left of your website’s name in the browser tab. If you see a gray icon that looks like a globe, your website does not have a favicon (Ex. The image to the right is AG Marketing Solutions’ Favicon).
Favicon is important because it helps users remember your brand, and it also helps with managing bookmarks.
Do you have a sitemap with all the pages?
How to check: Type in your website address in the browser and add ‘/sitemap.xml’ after. Click here for an example.
What to look for: Depending on your browser’s setting, you will either see an organized list of pages or a long string of words jumbled up together. In either case, as long as this page exists, it’s a good sign. Of course, it’s important to know that the sitemap needs to be updated when any pages are added or removed from the website.
A sitemap is a powerful tool for making your website easier to index and rank for search engines.
Can your website be accessed from outdated browsers?
How to check: Do you have an older computer with Internet Explorer 9 still installed? Go ahead and pull up your website to see how it looks.
What to look for: Chances are your website won’t be functioning as you might have expected due to the severely outdated technologies of the older browsers (see example below). In this case, there should be a prominent message displayed that lets the users know they are using an outdated browser (and they should probably update).
Is your website ADA compliant?
ADA compliance is a huge topic in web development right now, and it entails a lot. You can learn more about this topic by reading our blog post on ADA compliance.
How to check: Providing accessibility is a complex process which requires testing with online tools as well as manual testing. You can gather an idea of how accessible your website is by running checks via Wave, a free online tool.
What to look for: Pay attention to the top line of the summary analysis displayed on the left side.
As a business owner, it is important to take advantage of these tools to make sure you have a healthy website. For some, this may be simple and for some, it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give us a call or send us an email. We are here to assist you with the health of your website!