Updated: Jul 30, 2020
Just like your personal health is important, your website health is important, too. Sometimes, we need to check in on our personal health, maybe take a trip to the doctor, and similarly, we should be checking in on our website health every so often too to make sure that it’s performing at its peak.
You may be wondering what the heck website health is and how you would even go about checking that? Good news, we’re going to walk you through how to check the health of your website and make sure that you’re getting the most out of its performance.
Conducting a check on your website’s health is one of the simplest ways for you to find out if your website is doing what it’s supposed to do. And if it’s not, to take the necessary steps towards remedying the weak areas.
Taking a few minutes to give your site the once over is well worth the investment of your time and energy!
Before we get into how to check the health of your website and what to look out for, we always recommend getting the right tools to help aid in the process and keep you up to date with your site and its performance.
We recommend downloading the FREE Chrome plugin, SEO Quake. This is a powerful and easy-to-use plugin that will help you stay on top of your SEO health. Download this now and then check out our SEO Quake tutorial for step by step instructions on how to use it.
Let’s get started going through the essential health and safety checks you should be paying attention to when it comes to a website health check:
1. Site Speed
Since 2010, Google has prioritized site speed as part of their organic search algorithm, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Aside from Google’s take on site speed, users who land on a slow site are very likely to click off and head to the next. Given this information, your site speed should be an absolute priority!
Your site should be loading in two seconds or less. Here are a couple of things to check for and optimize to ensure that your site is loading quickly:
If your images aren’t compressed, they can seriously slow down your site load. Check out this post on how to optimize images and use an image compressor like Tinypng to compress your images for free.
Is your hosting provider causing your site to be laggy? If so, you may want to consider switching. Hosting services have a direct effect on site performance. Have you ever gone to visit a site and it’s down? Or worse yet, revisited a site later and it’s still down? This can be due to bad hosting.
Poor hosting that causes slow load speeds and excessive downtime can create a real negative user experience. If your site is consistently slow to load and/or you experience frequent periods of downtime, these are red flags that tell you it’s time to reconsider your hosting company.
Are you fast enough?
You can use Google’s Page Speed tool to check on your site and receive instant suggestions as to what you can tweak to improve your load time. This is a free resource offered by Google and it provides tons of valuable insights, so take advantage!
2. Mobile Friendly
Today, over 60% of first visits occur on mobile devices. Knowing this information, you can’t afford for your site to not be mobile-friendly. In a perfect world, your site should work across all devices seamlessly. The days of having to pinch and zoom in on a mobile screen are long gone!
If you want to see how your site looks and performs on various devices you can use a tool like MobileTest which will load your site in a variety of different mockups. You can also use Google’s mobile speed test tool to see how fast your site is loading on mobile. A fast, efficient site will return a green bar after the test. Otherwise, Google will let you know if there are any issues and will make some recommendations for improving or correcting them.
3. Compelling, Relevant, and Readable Content
How’s the content on your site? Is it up to date? Relevant? Readable? These are all things that you need to pay attention to in order to ensure that your site is in good health standings.
Your website copy should be clean, and by clean we mean that it’s clear, easy to scan, conversational, error-free, and properly formatted. Mistakes can easily slip through the cracks, so take some time to go through and re-read your content or ask a friend to do so for you.
Google rewards websites that have clear, relevant content that’s easy for the user to read and understand. Here are some takeaways to keep in mind while scanning your content:
Make sure your paragraphs are small and broken up—no one wants to be met with a giant wall of text!
Include headers with your keywords and to help structure the site.
Insert calls to action periodically throughout your pages that grab the reader’s attention and entice them to take additional actions on your site.
Take out any technical jargon that your readers aren’t going to understand—keep it simple and easy to understand!
4. Broken Links
Are all of the links on your site working, both internal and external? Part of a good website health check is to make sure that all your links are working properly and that you’re not sending your readers to an error page. Dead links will send your readers packing and damage your SEO efforts, so be on the lookout for these!
We recommend using a link checker like this one. This is a free tool that will crawl your site and identify any dead links for you. It will even continue to check your site regularly and report back to you if you choose the Autocheck feature. If you have any dead links, be sure to fix them ASAP or remove them.
5. Easy Navigation
One of the main goals of your website should be to help your visitors get to where they want to be in the fewest clicks possible and with the least amount of effort. You can achieve this by making sure your site is structured properly and is easy to navigate.
It’s helpful to look at your site through the eyes of a first-time visitor. Go directly to one of your pages that isn’t the homepage and imagine that you’re intrigued to learn more. Will your users be able to easily navigate to the next page? Will they find what they’re looking for easily or will they have to dig around?
Here are some suggestions for making sure your site is easy to navigate so that you don’t lose any potential customers because they couldn’t quickly and easily find what they’re looking for:
Put your menu items in the order that you want your visitors to follow. Give them a simple path to take that doesn’t require any extra thought. (i.e. About – Services – Blog – Contact)
Use dropdown menus instead of separate landing pages for easier, more convenient navigation.
Place plenty of calls to action on all your pages, not just the sales pages. This makes it easier to guide your user’s navigation.
Is your website performing optimally? If not, we hope you use these tips and tricks to correct what’s wrong and give your visitors and Google the kind of experience they’re looking for. With a healthy, functional website, you’ll be rewarded with more traffic, more sales, and higher search engine rankings!