Having a website is crucial to any modern business. It’s the hub of your entire business, allowing you to inform your customers and put forth whatever message is most important to you and your business. It’s where you host your blog, where you build landing pages to turn prospects into leads, and maybe even where you sell your product directly.
But running a website is a fickle, unpredictable game. You can do everything right when you build the site, but then a new Google algorithm or a new Facebook tracking system or a new competitor can come out and throw a wrench in the works. You can’t just sit back on your laurels — you need to know on a daily basis how your website is performing, and that means you need the right tracking tools to do it. Here are a few of our favorites.
Let’s be honest: the web is Google’s world. Everyone else is just living in it. Google has hovered between 80 and 90 percent search market share for the better part of a decade, which means if you want your website to succeed, you need it to show up in Google search results.
Google Analytics is how you do that. The web app requires you to add a block of invisible code to your website — usually in the footer, so it’ll show up on every page — that allows Google to see everything about the way that people that interact with your site.
And we do mean everything. How people found you, campaign tracking, channel grouping, custom metrics and alerts, enhanced ecommerce features, demographic segmentation … the list goes on and on. And the best part is that you can look at the big picture or dig down to the finest details to make the tool as complex as you want it to be.
HubSpot’s Website Grader
The Website Grader from HubSpot is the quick and easy way to get a sense of what’s working about your website and what isn’t. All you have to do is plug in your URL and email address, and HubSpot will generate a report that checks several key aspects of your site:
- Performance: page size, requests, speed, and other SEO metrics
- Mobile readiness: the web has gone mobile, and your site needs to be able to keep up
- SEO: the tool checks metadata, page titles, header tags, and the language you use to make sure your website is easy to find
- Security: Google punishes sites that don’t take security seriously, so HubSpot’s tools will make sure that your site is authentic and safe.
HubSpot will give you a grade from 0 to 100, in addition to linking you to their comprehensive suite of tools and resources to help you fix what’s wrong.
There are a lot of people on the internet, and they’re using hundreds of different combinations of devices and browsers to do it. You know your website looks good when you load it on your own computer, but what about someone using an iPad 2 with the Opera browser? What about someone using Chrome on an iPhone 11? How will it look on Firefox on the new Samsung Galaxy Fold? Web design can result in some weird bugs in different use cases, so it’s good to test them first.
BrowserStack tests on more than 2000 devices and browsers — not emulators, the real thing. They also incorporate your tools and frameworks so you can report and reproduce bugs and get started on fixing them.
There are a lot of tools you can use to try to determine how your customers are interacting with your website, but why not just ask them? 4Q by iperceptions is an embeddable questionnaire that’s designed to quickly get to the heart of your customers’ experience and intent when they visit your website. The four questions are:
- Who’s visiting?
- Why are they here?
- How is your website doing?
- What do you need to fix?
It’s easy to set up, comes in 35 languages, has no limit on respondents, and offers detailed analytics as responses roll in so you can start to make real, tangible improvements.
Crazy Egg works like Hubspot’s Website Grader — just plug in a URL — but instead of generating a snapshot of your SEO, it’s an ongoing analysis tool that lets you generate heatmaps and recordings to help you understand the customer journey, run A/B testing to try out different visual or layout changes, and modify content quickly and easily. It integrates with popular tools like Shopify and Wordpress and can be used with teams of any size.
There’s a Tool For That
The truth is that no matter what you’re trying to find out or fix about your website, there’s almost certainly a tool out there that will help you do it. The important thing is that you’re looking for those tools. Websites aren’t static — they need to evolve to fit their customers’ needs, the changing environment of the web, and the shifting priorities of the company. When those changes need to be made, there’s plenty of help to be found.