Callum is full stack developer at Lean Labs, with strong ties to web and graphical based design. He lives in the North East of Scotland and is a huge Football (Soccer) supporter. In his spare time, Callum enjoys reading up on the latest web trends and visiting art museums and galleries.
Manage your website like a Boss
I love the Diet Coke and Mentos eruption reaction. Besides the fact that it makes a mess of nearly everything in the in the near by vicinity, but never the less it’s so much fun to do. The chaotic expulsion of the foam, the sheer delight seeing the jet stream fire upwards like an arrow, shot from Robin Hood’s bow to the sky. Magical.
Thinking about the sheer explosion of foam which eludes from the bottle, is almost comparable to the complete panic and chaotic reaction when you or your client realizes that their site is not working or even offline. In fact, just thinking of the times gone by when that happens is already giving my nightmarish flashbacks. Then there is the instance where you realize that your site isn’t ranking or even when client’s ask how the site looks on mobiles or even what their site’s page rank is. Do you have answers to all these questions? If we don’t, where can we get them from? It’s scary, confusing and can be stressful being in this situation, faced with these questions.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could all run our client’s and our own sites flawlessly? Would it be just jaw droppingly brilliant if we could detects and act on issues, bugs and problems with our sites before anyone else knew? Would it just be gosh darn awesome to manage our websites like a boss?
Here’s our quick top ten tips for running and managing websites like a boss:
1: How can I find out when my site goes down?
Let's deal with the elephant in the room: how can we know immediately if our website is down?
uptimerobot.com is our Number 1 suggestion for this, hands down. Uptimerobot will check up to fifty website’s accessibility every five minutes and will alert you via email and even via twitter (if you’re down with the kids like that) when a site is inaccessible. What’s even more amazing is that it’s completely free! That’s right people, forget about your “free lunches”, this one’s on the house. Umut Muhaddisoglu of WebResourcesDepot and Daniel Rimille - SSLmatic are the two more awesome than awesome people who aim to provide this amazing service for free through sponsors and advertisement. If you’re a developer, system admin or involved in managing a website in any, you need to sign up for this, like now.
Another worthy mentions are siteuptime.com (free|$5|$10/mo) and nodeping.com ($8|$15|$50/mo) which offer the same services with pricing upgrade options.
2: How can I monitor my server?
So you have a lovely brand new VPS and you want to be able to track the processing power used by your or your client’s application as well as having the ability to do some Database processing monitoring, right?
No problem, NewRelic.com is your answer. New Relic is pretty much know by almost every developer and systems admin but it’s still worth mentioning. New Relic breaks down the most complex and tiresome system logs into very user friendly graphics and data charts that almost anyone and everyone can understand. It’s easy to setup and they have a ton of guides for the installation process that you can copy and paste, I doubt they could make any more easy! New Relic has various service levels, including a free version.
The best thing about choosing New Relic is that if you sign up and deploy New Relic now, you will receive a free "nerd life" t-shirt, how ace is that!
3: How do I check the speed of a site?
A stopwatch, a browser connected to the Internet and something to write with.
Seriously though, page loading speed is an important player in the fight to bring and keep traffic on your website. If your website is slow, you’re going to lose traffic and you’re going to lose potential customers. In fact, it’s so important it can even affect your Google ranking. Don’t believe? See for yourself: http://sixrevisions.com/web-development/five-ways-to-speed-up-page-response-times/
So what can we use to assess page speed then? Are top suggested application is pingdom.com ($6|$19|$99/mo) which, as you can see, comes with a price tag, but it’s very much worth it. It can be argued that Google Analytics does take note of page load time, however this is only for specific visitor’s setups which visit your site. In addition, Pingdom does offer a feature which can be found in applications such as Uptimerobot so it’s worth checking out everything Pingdom has to offer through the free sign up before you go ordering or purchasing access to other application. It’s one that’s well worth a look at.
To test how your page loading time stacks up, try the free tool from Pingdom: http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/
4: How do I know if my site is search engine friendly?
There’s a few tools to help with this. One we highly recommend is the Hubspot Grader (marketing.grader.com) which you can get started with straight away. The form is will send your a Hubspot approved report, and being funded by Google, these guys definitely know what they’re talking about with suggestion for making your site more Search Engine Friendly.
woorank.com (free|$31|$93/mo), and of course, moz.com (free 30 days|$99|$149|$249|$599) are great alternatives.
5: How does my site look on mobile?
Ah Mobile, the biggest game changer in the web since… well the web really. Every client wants to be Mobile friendly and everybody wants to tap into the mobile market, and it’s no wonder. Just over 17% of the global traffic on the web comes from mobile users, how mind blowing is that! So what tools do we have to test our sites on these ground breaking devices?
mobiletest.me is a popular and free option which renders your site on mobile emulators. It may not be 100% accurate but it’s certainly better than being left in the dark as to how your site shapes up on mobile.
Alternately, there is the W3 Mobile checker (validator.w3.org/mobile) and mobilephoneemulator.com which both come highly recommended from us.
Want More Tips and Tools?
Subscribe to our blog because this is just part 1 of a multiple part series on how to manage your website.
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