So you built a beautiful website, chock full of your favorite products and gloriously written copy.
Only, you are hearing crickets.
There is nothing so frustrating as putting a ton of time and effort into building a website, only to discover that it isn’t working. People either aren’t visiting your website in the first place or if they do come, they aren’t converting.
Here’s the good news: there are tools to help you diagnose what is going wrong, so you can fix it. And you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to use them.
So without further ado, we’re rolling out our favorite tools that help you do website analysis, free! From search engine optimization to engagement metrics, here are just a few ways you can use them to boost your online success.
Discover SEO keyword opportunities
Google Search Console is a free website analysis tool straight from the higher-ups at the big-G themselves. If you have never explored it, you are in for a treat. First, you will have to connect your account to your webpage if you haven’t already. Once you are logged in, check out the “Performance” tab and take a look at the top queries that are already being used to drive traffic to your website.
But how does this help you with keyword research, exactly? Well, knowing what is already working for you is of enormous value. But you can also look through the list for opportunity words, meaning, topics, and phrases that, with a bit of an effort, you might be able to rank for.
There are many, MANY ways Google Search Console can be of value to you. If you have a question, pop on over to our Facebook group and join the conversation!
Answer The Public is a free SEO tool that helps you understand the common questions people ask behind any given phrase or word and use those phrases to improve your search engine visibility (and your organic traffic). You just type in the topic you are curious about, and it pops up a visual graph of what people want to know about that topic. It divvies out answers to the who’s what’s and why’s as well as the how’s and more. Here’s an example of the results you get for the keyword search “chocolate.”
So you’ve found your dream keyword, the one that will send the customers soaring to your website and rank your page above all the others Google has to offer. Your SEO strategy? To pepper that word everyplace, like some sort of SEO graffiti beautifully strewn across your website to make sure GOOGLE GETS IT.
Google will seriously penalize you for this practice, also known as keyword stuffing. It is good to check your content to make sure you aren’t going overboard with any keyword. What is the exact threshold? That’s hard to say. But if you are going over 5% keyword density, you might want to take another look at your content. SEOScout is a free SEO tool to help you not only check keyword densities but to get an idea of your readability, tone, and word count. Extra awesome sauce!
It is funny the information you pick up, unintentionally, while surfing the web. Keywords Everywhere is a free Chrome extension that is not only fantastic for spying on your competitors but for telling you exactly how many other humans google “my cat wants to kill me.” Here are the results for that query, in case you are curious. I. seems the phrase was trending, for some mysterious reason, in May of 2021.
But besides using this SEO tool for fun, you can use it to see the monthly search volume for websites that rank on the first page and get a sense of keywords surrounding a specific query. This is super helpful for creating a wide variety of keyword lists to use for your strategy!
Discover industry-leading sites and competitors in your niche (and find out what people are saying about them)
Google Trends is a treasure trove of delightful insights. You can use it to discover what is trending in the news as we speak, not according to Facebook algorithms or the major news outlets but according to the people at large. For example, as I write this very blog, the trending topics RIGHT THIS SECOND are:
But you can discover trends around your competitors too. Simply type in the name of a competing brand (or your own brand, for that matter) and see what pops up! For example, if I type in Disneyland, here’s what pops up:
This is how you discover important information, like, people discussing Disneyland moving its entire park to Texas.
Gain audience insights
Google Analytics is the big mama of them all, the website analysis free tool you MUST have if you want to get fundamental insights into your traffic statistics. But to use this online tool requires a bit of a trek down a rabbit hole. How far you want to go is up to you. To get started, hook up your account and check out just a few basic metrics. Here’s a great guide on Google Analytics campaigns from our friends over at Digital Marketer on which ones matter most and how to use them!
Facebook Audience Insights is a favorite website analysis free tool because it lets you peek behind the curtains. It offers up information on two groups of people—people connected to your Page and people on Facebook. You can use the data to get laser-focused on what resonates with your target audience. The insights include age and gender breakdowns, education levels, job titles, hobbies, and even relationship status. Yup, it’s just a little bit creepy.
Improve your linking strategy
Duplicate content is an absolute SEO killer, but broken links are even worse! Make sure your website is guilty of neither offense with Siteliner. The free version gives you enough information to fix the most guilty offenders on your webpage.
It is no secret that backlinks to your website can help drive traffic because, hey, people are talking about you, and that is AWESOME! But if spammy websites or worse, what they call “toxic websites” are linking to you, that can mean bad news bears for your website. Find out who links to you and get rid of toxic backlinks. Ahrefs has the second most active web crawler after Google and can help you discover any yucky links connected with your website. This article from SocialMediaToday gives excellent advice on how to look at your backlink profile and identify the bad stuff, as well as giving great advice on what to do once you find them!
(Pssst… you can also use the tool to scope out your competitor backlinks strategy!)
Optimize your user experience
Have you ever stared at your website and found yourself asking questions like, “How long does it take people to find this product on my e-commerce site?” or “Is my ‘Buy’ button too big?”
You are in luck. UsabilityHub allows you to run all kinds of tests with real-life users. You can run campaigns to test everything from how a particular design makes them feel to whether or not visitors are noticing the headlines you THOUGHT were most important.
The paid versions offer seemingly limitless possibilities, but the free version isn’t anything to sneeze at. You can run what they call the “5-second test” to assess one of the most important things for any brand–the first impression of your landing page or other website design. Essentially, your landing page is shown to test users for 5 seconds, and then you can ask them questions about what they remembered.
This is POWERFUL stuff, people!
The free version of SmartLook packs a powerful punch, allowing you to set up 3 heatmaps to track how users are browsing a page on your website. You can even refine the results based on precision level, track historical data (or only track new visits) and even narrow down results to focus on returning visitors (e.g., those most likely to buy).
You can also set up one funnel in SmartLook to help you assess where visitors are dropping off during specific actions they take in a sequence of events. For example, are they abandoning your page once they encounter a particular button? Open a particular page? This kind of data can be absolute gold for making sure your potential customers convert and for improving your overall content strategy. Once you know where the system is broken, you can take steps to repair it!
Not everyone is a copywriter. If you are the type of person that loves selling but gets stumped by the difference between possessive and plural possessive, Grammarly is for you. The app helps you catch the kinds of mistakes your English teacher in high school might have slapped you on the wrist about.
If you would rather stab yourself in the eye with a pencil than reference an AP style guide, Grammarly can help you write content that will pass muster with grammar freaks, with half the effort. The paid version offers cool extras like re-phrasing tools and plagiarism checkers, but for the average bear, the free version will suffice just fine for improving your content strategy!
Overwhelmed by all of this? Need more help?
If all of this sounds exciting and scary at the same time, you are not alone. We know how difficult it can be to build a website, and honestly, it is an ongoing effort that takes time and constant adjustment.
These tools should get you off to a great start for doing a bit of website analysis, free. But if you need an extra boost, we are here to help! Our competitive analysis and website audit services might just be just what the website doctor ordered. We will take a look at the overall landscape for your company, including what your competitors are doing. We can see where your website is positioned in comparison to theirs and the moves you can make to increase your position in the marketplace.