Free Tools to Troubleshoot Your Website Performance

StopwatchRemember when the Internet was young and innocent and everyone had counters at the bottom of their pages that revealed the total number of visitors?

That seems so long ago now. Judging the performance of your site today is much more complicated than checking an odometer-style counter in the footer. And if you aren’t getting the results you had hoped for, straightening things out can be a major project.

But here are some free tools that you should wield yourself before you cave in and take your site to an expensive website mechanic.


Does your web host provide excellent uptime? This can be difficult to judge. They all advertise 99.9 percent uptime and greater. The only sure way to monitor your site’s uptime is to have it monitored. However, Hyperspin has a ranking that includes many hosts. It’s basically a compilation of data the company has gathered for its clients.

Web host servers come in a variety of flavors, the most important of which are “shared” and “dedicated.” In other words, are there other sites on your server or does your site have the whole server to itself? Note these categories when you check Hyperspin.

Mashable has a list of 10 free services that will monitor your site. They alert you when they find the site down. You can have most of them hunt for certain words on pages which helps you isolate possible trouble spots such as plugins failing to load. If you love DIY projects and only need the most basic alert, check out this simple uptime checker that uses a Google docs spreadsheet.


The second basic attribute to monitor is your visibility on Google. Much of this is a reflection of your search engine optimization (SEO). Start by simply doing a search on Google for your domain name: The vast majority of results should be pages from your site.

A freelance writer friend of mine does a blog for a real estate company. He recently discovered that the company’s entire site was not being indexed by Google. No one at the company had any idea. He alerted them and it was quickly fixed. Copy and paste some complete sentences from various pages on your site and Google them. If they are unique, they should appear first in the search results. You’ll also discover if anyone is pirating your content.


Much is written everyday about SEO. Here I just want to cover a few basics. Sites such as SEO SiteCheckUp and WebSeo Analytics will scan your site and give you a free report. You should address any issues they discover with the understanding that SEO today depends on your increased “authority” in your field, not just fixing a few things on a one-shot basis.

The SEO SiteCheckup report gives you a keywords cloud. Look at it carefully and see if it reflects what you believe are your most important keywords. Also, perform Google and Bing searches for your keywords and see how well you rank versus your competitors. Use the two free SEO tools – and there are others on the Internet – to analyze your competitors’ websites. See where they may outperform you.

This is basic stuff, but it can’t be left to chance. Let me leave you with one more “self check” to help you judge the effectiveness of your site. Be sure it isn’t full of flashy “bells and whistles” that tend to turn off visitors. Don’t have music playing when people arrive at your site and all kinds of garish graphics. Keep it simple so it can clearly communicate your message.

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