An ex-coleague of mine showed me today the site of his new employer and asked me if I can give him my personal opinion about the site, being interested in a web developer's perspective.
When you have to give a quick look at a site there aren't that many things to be taken into account. Nothing fancy and mostly things any web developer already knows about. But let's say you're an entrepreneur who just managed to piece together a Wordpress blog or someone who hired a freelancer to make them a site and you would like to know just how good a job he did. For someone without a technical background, it's hard to know where to start. However, in the modern day, it's quite easy for almost anyone to verify some basic aspects about the quality of a website.
1. Check Google's PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights is an online tool developed by Google that analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster.
The test results give you a rating based on how fast your site loads as well as a range of tips and suggestions on how to improve it. The faster the better since a snappy website makes the users happier. Not everyone is willing to wait too much for the content to load and a great delay will most certainly ruin the browsing experience.
2. Check Google's Mobile-Friendly Test
Again with the Google tools, huh? This one, the Mobile-Friendly Test checks how well does your site adapt to a mobile device and, just like PageSpeed Insights, gives you suggestions on what you can improve.
Having a mobile friendly site is very, very important today. Not only because a larger and larger number of people are using their phones to browse the web, but because it's also a good SEO tactic. A site with a proper mobile version should have a better position in Google's search results. For those who want to learn more, this blog post explains everything in more detail: Helping users find mobile-friendly pages
3. Check your social meta Tags
The Open Graph Protocol was developed by Facebook and basically enhances the way your content is shared. It looks something like this:
<title>The Rock (1996)</title> <meta property="og:title" content="The Rock" /> <meta property="og:type" content="video.movie" /> <meta property="og:url" content="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117500/" /> <meta property="og:image" content="http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/rock.jpg" />
With proper meta tags placed inside a site's header, you have a better control of the title, text and image displayed on the user feeds when people share your page on social media sites.
Facebook, the most popular network, has an online debug tool that allows you to see how their crawler sees your content. You can enter any url you want to scrape and see how the page's markup appears to Facebook.
These three are only the most basic tools but they offer a good starting point. There are many, many other things you can do but all in due time.
What I can tell you for certain is that good results will these tools will get you halfway there. You'd be surprised how many sites fail in this department. Just make sure you're not one of them.