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Brian Cuda: A few useful tools for your website

It's All Geek to Us

Posted: March 31, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 31, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Since the advent of the Internet, we are now experts at everything. (Thanks Al Gore.) Information on almost any topic is just a search button away.  Just think of all the middlemen the Internet has eliminated.

With an array of convenient online tools, for better or worse, we often find ourselves acting as DIY stock brokers, publishers, doctors, lawyers, mechanics, meteorologists, authors, auctioneers, auto dealers and career consultants. Webmaster is no exception.

While an online video will not give you the knowledge needed to perform open-heart surgery, you may find out how to stop a skin irritation from itching or discover a remedy for headaches that you hadn’t considered. 

Similarly, you will not likely gain enough information on how to build the next Facebook from an online how-to page, but you will definitely find some good tools to help you build a small site or tips on maintaining and marketing and online presence.

Here is a list on some of the tools that provide knowledge about websites that will help you make better decisions about the design, marketing and security for your website.

Page Speed Online

https://developers.google.com/pagespeed/

Provided by Google, this tool measures a site’s performance and gives you a score from 0 to 100. A higher score means your site is performing better. Google then provides suggestions for improving page speed.

Faster page speeds mean site visitors will likely have a better experience when they visit your page. Speed is also a factor in search-engine rankings.

PageRank Checker

www.prchecker.info

PageRank is a value between 0 and 10 that Google assigns a page based on its importance. It is calculated with a formula that measures related links to and from the page.

Sites are considered average with a rank of 3 to 5 with numbers closer to 10 being ideal. Although this number doesn’t influence search engine rankings directly, the factors that increase a PageRank are generally the same factors that increase search engine rankings.

Reading Level

www.google.com/advanced_search

Another metric related to Google is a ranking assigned to Web pages to determine readability. Pages are graded as basic, intermediate or advanced.

 The influence this may have on search-engine rankings is not clear to me, but it can help determine if the site’s content is appropriate for the intended audience. As a benchmark, the readability of The-Signal.com home page is 64 percent Intermediate.

Alexa Ranking

www.alexa.com/siteinfo

Alexa is owned by Amazon.com and provides several metrics for sites.  Alexa Global Traffic Rank numbers are calculated using average daily visitors and pageviews.

A lower number is better for this metric. For example, Google.com is 1, Facebook.com is 2, and The-Signal.com is a respectable 195,584.

Spend some time surfing this site, because it offers other useful metrics for managing your site.

Safe Browsing

www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=www.yourdomain.com

Also provided by Google, this tool checks for malicious scripts or malware. To use the link to this site, replace the phrase “yourdomain.com” with the site name you wish to investigate. 

BuiltWith

builtwith.com/

This tool provides a report detailing information about a site’s server, features, widgets and framework. The results may look like a foreign language to non-techies, but they will help answer questions about the site should you need to find a new webmaster.  For more ways to be prepared if you have to changed webmasters, see the column “How to protect yourself if your geek goes missing” at www.the-signal.com/archives/45699/.

Just as a doctor shouldn’t skip med school because he or she will have access to webmd.com, this short list of tools is not a substitute for engaging an experienced webmaster. However, it may help you gain an understanding of how a site is performing. Perhaps more importantly, it will help you to ask the right questions of your webmaster and make informed decisions.

Readers, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/bcuda. Readers can submit questions to: brian@geek2us.com.

Brian Cuda is co-founder of Conceptinet, a website design, development, hosting, social media and marketing firm located in Santa Clarita and can be reached at 661-338-0830  www.conceptinet.com. Mr. Cuda’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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