There are numerous occasions where you may need to analyse various aspects of a website and there are numerous paid tools that you can use for the purpose. But there’s nothing better than using a free tool for something! So I’ve listed those 4 that I’ve used most frequently and included a brief description of what I use them for. If you know of any more please feel free to share by adding a comment below.
Nibbler is the free version of Silktide’s SiteBeam tool. It analyses five pages of a chosen website and reports on accessibility, untitled pages, social media integration and so on. Although the small sample of pages means that Nibbler only scratches the surface of a site, it gives an indication of the site’s structure and functionality.
The variety and scope if the reports available in Google Analytics always amazes me. True, there is a paid version that offers even more but the free tool is more than enough for most purposes.
Be careful not to get too bogged down in some of the minor, obscure reports, the key ones that offer most value in my opinion are those that show the pages and keywords that prompt the most conversions.
This tool from W3C tests your chosen site’s pages against the doctype you select e.g. XHTML 1.0 Strict. Its aim is to improve semantic web standards by reporting any invalid code and the page it is on.
An accessibility testing tool. Wave has filled the gap formerly filled by tools such as Warchfire’s Bobby. Like Bobby it tests a site’s pages and reports on their content and structure in terms of compliance to accessibility standards.
The UK and other countries have legal requirements for websites to be accessible to all users. In the UK this us covered by the DDA which stares that all services including those offered by websites must be available to disabled users.
This list is by no means exhaustive and there are plenty of other tools both free and paid for that you can use when analysing a current website. Like I said above, feel free to add a comment if you have a favourite tool or site.