If you don't know what's wrong, how can you fix it?
That is why it is so important to start with a simple website audit just to find out the exact state of a web page. With the many free online checkers available nowadays, you can easily get a very detailed technical analysis of your website in a matter of seconds. Before you do anything, we highly recommend you pop your website's address into the following free online tools:
- GTMetrix.com: The benchmark tool for checking page speeds. This site will tell you if your images are too big, or if you are using inline CSS, and a bunch of other really useful information.
- Google Pagespeed Insights: Very similar to GTMetrix, but gives you insight into what Google, the biggest search engine in the world, thinks of your page.
- Website Grader: An SEO tool with a bit of attitude. This tool will point out the basic SEO mistakes on your site and explain to you in laymen's terms how to fix them. Very useful!
- As many security scanners as possible! The more you can find, the better. Hackers get sneakier each day, but the tools to fight them become more readily available. All you need to do is use them! Check out all of these free options: Sucuri, TLS1.0 Checker, SSL Checker, Header Checker, Foregenix Webscan, Observatory by Mozilla. (and I'm sure there are loads more... leave a comment below if you know of any good ones!)
Each of these tools will return a detailed analysis which you can use to make improvements on your website. More importantly, however, is that you can use these sites as benchmarking tools. In other words, if you are scoring 50% now and you later score 80%, you know you have improved your website. Inversely, you can also tell if you have had a negative impact on a webpage.
PRO TIP: GTMetrix has an API which allows you to programatically find out page speed information on any URL. We used this API to write a simple monitoring app that would periodically scan various URLs and notify us if a page became too slow. This allows us to fix slow pages as they creep up.