A Beginners Guide to Auditing Your Website Part II – Tools

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In our last article we talked about one web based tool we use on a regular basis when we perform an audit of a website to look for potential problems or issues.

In this article we are going to introduce you to a few tools we like to use to help us gather information about our client’s sites to see if there are areas of concern.

One of the first free tools we use, as we told you about in our last article, is the whois.domaintools.com website.

Sure there are other whois lookup tools out there, both web based and desktop applications, but we like this one because of the wealth of information it gives you all in one location. It used to be that you’d have to use an assortment of tools to get the information they provide. That’s why we like it – one stop shopping (so to speak).

Our next free tool is a desktop application called “idserve” (Download Link). It’s a simple header checker which can indicate if there are issues with your site’s ability to serve pages. Simply put in the URL of any page of your website, including the home page, and it will request the “headers” for your site.

“Headers” are the information your site sends before it sends the actual page content. Consider the headers similar to the opening credits of the movie you are about to see.  We like this tool because it can help you identify issues such as potential duplicate content concerns.

You see, sometimes a search engine will see somesite.com and www.somesite.com as different sites and will therefore index content as one site or the other. There have even been cases where the search engine penalizes somesite.com or www.somesite.com for this reason.

By using idserve you can quickly and easily see if your site is serving proper redirects so that you can eliminate the potential for duplicate content on your site.

Here’s how:

Simply put your site’s url in the tool. We like to do both the “www” version of the site and the non-www.

For example, when we put in “https://purposedrivenpromotion.com” into the tool (notice we removed the “www.” From web address) the following is returned:

The server returned the following response headers:
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Server: cloudflare-nginx
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2012 19:35:08 GMT
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Connection: close
X-Powered-By: PHP/5.2.17
X-Pingback: https://www.purposedrivenpromotion.com/xmlrpc.php
Location: https://www.purposedrivenpromotion.com/
Set-Cookie: __cfduid=da107f3b0baa5ea336b572fdf6ac503cc1329766507;
expires=Mon, 23-Dec-2019 23:50:00 GMT; path=/; domain=.purposedrivenpromotion.com

What we want to see is the “301 Moved Permanently”. This indicates that the site is being properly redirected to the www version of the site. Therefore there is no concern with duplicate content.

When we then put in the www version of the url we see:

Initiating server query ...
Looking up IP address for domain: www.purposedrivenpromotion.com
The IP address for the domain is: 173.245.61.96
Connecting to the server on standard HTTP port: 80
[Connected] Requesting the server's default page.
The server returned the following response headers:
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: cloudflare-nginx
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2012 19:39:27 GMT
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Connection: close
X-Powered-By: PHP/5.2.17
X-Pingback: https://www.purposedrivenpromotion.com/xmlrpc.php
Set-Cookie: __cfduid=d813487257eb90d05f985f3ee10297ff01329766766; <br/>
expires=Mon, 23-Dec-2019 23:50:00 GMT; path=/; domain=.purposedrivenpromotion.com
Set-Cookie: __cfduid=d813487257eb90d05f985f3ee10297ff01329766766;
expires=Mon, 23-Dec-2019 23:50:00 GMT; path=/; domain=.www.purposedrivenpromotion.com
Content-Encoding: gzip
Query complete.

We see the preferred “200 OK” response which means this site is ready to correctly serve pages.

Also of note is the content encoding: gzip. This means that our site is compressing pages before sending them. This helps the site load more quickly and serves pages faster than if they were uncompressed. Search engines look for this and will actually give your site a boost when they see you are compressing pages.

In our next article we will introduce you to more tools we like to help identify if your website has issues.

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