Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Tools For Keeping Your Own Website Or Blog “Healthy”

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If you’ve gone through the trouble of creating and maintaining a website or blog, you probably want to make sure that it’s working, and you might also want to monitor it to see if it’s reaching your intended audience.

I thought I’d put together a “The Best…” list that would provide some tools that do just that.

Of course, one key task you want to do is to back it up in case something goes wrong. You can find those tools at one of my previous lists –  The Best Ways To Back-Up Your Computer And Online Work.

Here are a few other applications that I’ve found helpful:

VERIFYING LINKS:

If you have a lot of links to other sites on your blog or website, it’s pretty de-energizing to students and others if lots of them are “dead” — no longer connecting to a site that exists.  I use a free and automatic link verifier.

It’s called Any Browser Link Checker. It works easily and quickly to verify links on a page once you type-in the web address of the page you want it to check. Sometimes, though, it can’t handle a page if you have a ton of links on one, like I do on some of the pages on my website.

Adobe Browserlab provides a similar service.

BEING NOTIFIED IF YOUR BLOG OR WEBSITE IS DOWN:

Two free tools work well for monitoring your sites and then notifying you if they go down for some reason.

One is Observu and the other is Ding It’s Up. Observu will tell you when it’s down. Ding It’s Up will tell you when it’s down, but it also has the nice feature of letting you know when it’s up again, too. Are My Sites Up? is a similar service, as is Montastic. Uptime Robot is yet another one. Uptime Fu will monitor your site and let you know when it’s down.

“Down For Everyone Or Just Me” is a nifty site that lets you type in the url address of any site and it will then tell you if you can’t access it because of a computer problem on your end or on the site’s end.

KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR SITE STATISTICS:

There are obviously lots of different tools to keep track of your site’s statistics to see who is visiting your site, and how that compares with others. There are two in particular I like.

There’s the obvious one — Google Analytics. Sue Waters’ post on The Basics Of Using Google Analytics is the place to go to learn what all that data means.

Another tool you can use to obtain data about your site, and doesn’t require any installation of code onto your site, is called Dataopedia. A post at Read Write Web describes some of its useful features.

Teebler quickly and easily provides you with basic stats on any website.

Also, check-out the Blog Grader for data.

Teqpad is a free service that lets you type in the url address of any website and then get back lots of statistics about the site.

CHECKING TO SEE WHAT YOUR READERS SEE:

One never knows what your blog posts look like in an RSS Reader or to email subscribers, or how your website or blog looks in different browsers….unless you check.

Read Sue Waters’ post on What Do Your Readers Really SEE? to get more suggestions on this topic, including information on a site which will give you screenshots of how your blog or website will look in a zillion different browsers.

Adobe Browserlab provides a similar free service.

Quirktools will show you what your website looks when viewed through various devices.

OTHER USEFUL TOOLS

Website Grader will give you a lot of helpful information about your site. All you have to do is type in your address and it will immediately give you a report with recommendations on how to make it more accessible.

Spyder Mate, Examine URL and Link Voodoo will also provide you with free overall reports on your site with similar information.

Page Speed Online is from Google and will measure how fast your webpages are loading, in addition to offering suggestions on how to improve its performance. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

These final tools don’t quite fit into this list, but they are related.

Copy Gator, Copyscape, Fair Share and Copyright Spot all are free and easy ways to monitor if your blog content is being copied by someone else who is then billing it as their own. Nik Peachey has written a good post about them.

As always, feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

7 Comments

  1. For more statistical analysis of your blog, Compete is a good service. The only drawback to Compete is that it does not recognize blogs hosted as a subdomain.

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  3. Larry,

    I read your blog every day, and often find something I can use. Any Thank you for posting about Browser Link Checker. It will save me a great deal of time when trying to cull out bad links. I don’t know where you find the time to keep this blog going, but I appreciate that you do.

  4. I just finished using Dead Links to check my website. I was happy to discover that I now have over 2,000 links on my site. I discovered that Encarta Encyclopedia is gone as are all links that were linked to geocities. Some people moved their sites, but other great sites are just gone- which is a shame.
    Next thing to deal with: adding sites! I am way behind in adding sites that you have told me about, plus others from different sources. I just wish that there was a site or download that would continuously update the links! It sure would make things easier! LOL

  5. What a helpful article, Larry! For those readers who don’t yet have a website to keep healthy, perhaps you’d like to take a look at Office Live Small Business, a website builder. It’s template-based, so you don’t need to know or learn how to code, plus it’s extremely inexpensive.

    Check it out at http://www.smallbusiness.officelive.com.

    For great tips and conversation about running a small business website, join the community over on the Office Live Page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officelive.

    Cheers,
    Kate
    MSFT Office Live Outreach Team

  6. Hi Larry,
    You are a wizard of the highest order!
    How you find the time to do what you do is beyond me.
    Thanks, I’ll delve into the list and get using analytics better.

  7. One of the best tool to keep your own website healthy or maintain your website is http://100pulse.com/.

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