10 must-have tools for website owners
At Hungersoft, we always strive to empower and train our clients and partners. We believe that the more you understand about your sites, the better they will perform.
Last week we wrote about some must-have modules for Magento webshop owners. We listed down 10 modules that can help Magento webshop owners manage their webshops efficiently and easily. You can read that blog post here: 10 must-have modules for your Magento webshop.
This week we thought we will cover a wider audience and browse over a topic that concerns all our clients and partners alike. We created a list of some basic tools that every website owner should have and learn to use efficiently. These tools can be immensely useful when it comes to monitoring and maintaining your websites and webshops.
So here are top 10 tools that you just cannot miss:
1. Google Analytics
GA is a great website traffic tracking and analysis tool by Google. It is the most widely used web analytics platform today. You just cannot afford to not use its free features to your advantage. Once GA is connected to your site, you can see the traffic on your site in real-time, you can see where the visitors come from, which pages they visit, how much time they spend on the site, which devices they are using, their country and their language and much more. All this information can give you great insight into what your visitors are looking for and what more you should do to cater to your target audience. Moreover, it is also integrated with Google's AdWords platform, so you can monitor your AdWords campaigns. The best part is that you just need a Google account to use it. There are paid and enterprise versions available, but the free features are more than enough for regular users.
2. Page speed tools
You can have all the fancy features and great content/products but if your site is not optimised and does not loads fast enough then it will not do well. It is very important that you analyse your site using various Page speed test tools and have your developers fix all the issues pointed out by these tools and also follow recommendations made by them.
Suggestions from these 3 top tools will cover everything that you need to optimize in your website:
3. Page load timers
You might have optimised your pages and may even have great scores on those page speed tools but all that does not matters if your pages are loading slowly for the visitors. You should check that by actually measuring the page load timings in your browser, as a visitor. In an ideal scenario, all your pages should load under 2 seconds at all times. There are many browser extensions available that you can use to measure actual page load timings of your website. We suggest you try the following Google Chrome extension: Page load time.
4. Site Monitors
It is bad for any website to be down
for long. You not only loose visitors and orders during the down-time but it can also hurt your brand and image immediately. A website that is down conveys a message that the company isn't run professionally or the owners do not care enough. It
feels even worse when a customer or a competitor tells you that your site is down. It is strongly advised that you do everything to avoid a situation like that. You cannot always control the unforeseen technical issues with the network, server or the
code, but you can take timely action if you are informed about a down-time.
There are many reliable and free/paid website monitoring services available today. These services visit your site every few seconds and inform you immediately (via email or sms) if there is something wrong with your website.
We find these services very useful:
5. Live Chat widgets
It is very important that your visitors can reach out to you at any time, easily. Yes we know that you have contact forms on your website and your contact details like telephone number and email id are available in public domain. But nothing is easier and quicker than the ability to live chat with the customer-care-executive/owner while browsing a site. Most visitors prefer a live chat option over usual contact forms or telephone calls. A nice and easy-to-use chat widget on your site can be a great tool to convert your visitors into loyal customers. It is also a very efficient tool to provide support and information to your customers. Not only that, you too can actively reach out to your visitors and initiate a conversation while they are browsing through your site. We use Zopim live chat on Hungersoft.com to interact with our customers. It is easy to implement and very simple to use.
6. Broken link checker
Broken links can not only irritate your visitors but can also hurt your SEO efforts. You should always make sure that all links are always working in your website. This is not a difficult task though. There are many free online services available which you can use to check your entire site for broken links. There are also many good browser extensions that you can install in your browser and they can test your pages for broken links quickly.
Following are a few Google Chrome extensions you can try:
7. FTP client
Most websites are hosted on a remote server and websites are nothing but a bunch of files connected to a database. Being able to reach and upload/download those files is very important for any website owner. You can do that via a FTP client. You just have to connect to your server and you can start downloading and uploading files. There are many free and paid options available in the market. Filezilla is the first one you should try, it is not very pretty to look at but is free and a reliable FTP client. You can read more about it here: Using FileZilla.
8. Text editor
If you are an involved and dedicated website owner, there will always be times when you will need to edit some files quickly. A text editor comes handy in those situations. Developers use their favourite IDEs to do any kind of file editing, but as a non-technical person, you should be comfortable with using a simple text editor to make minor adjustments. You can also use the native text editor that came with your OS, as long as it does what you want to do with it. We like Notepad++ for our basic file editing. It is simple to use and is loaded with features. Highly recommended!
9. Browser tools
Browsers are the stages on which your websites and webshops perform. It is very important that you understand how browsers work and know some of their basic features.
- You should know how to clear your browser cache and cookies: How to clear cache and cookies.
- You should know how to use incognito/private mode on your browsers: How to activate incognito mode.
- You should also know how to use your browser devtools a bit. Browser devtools are created keeping developers in mind so they are not really easy to use. But just learning to read the error sections can save you a lot of heartache while you wait for your developers. There are error tabs that show what all is going wrong when a page is loading and network tabs can also tell you more about how different components of your pages load. You can also easily get CSS information like the block dimensions, color codes, font info (type, size, weight), image urls etc. of your pages. Have your web-developers train you a bit with these browser devtools or learn to use them yourself.
10. Server monitor
This is more of a tool for your development-party/server-admin but make sure that you have a server monitor tool implemented on your server(s). An overloaded or faulty server means your website will not run well and that can
make you loose visitors and orders. It is also important to know in time if your server is under any kind of attack. All modern server monitors can inform you via email if your server crashes for any reason, or if it is under any kind of
additional/un-expected load or if some component is not running as it should be.
That completes our list of basic tools that all website owners should learn and use. We hope you are already using most of these tools, if not then give them a try today itself.
Feel free to contact us if you need any assistance or advice about your websites or webshops. We are always here to help!