How to “big Brother” your Own Website (12 Handy Webmaster Site Checking Tools & Sites)

Copyright (c) 2007 Titus Hoskins

How Well Do You Really Know Your Website?

If you’re like most webmasters, you have probably spent years building your site. You have spent years adding content, building links and cultivating traffic – but how well do you really know your website?

How well do you know the intricate details of your website’s traffic? Where do your site’s visitors come from? How long do they stay on your site? Just where do they go to on your site and how well do they convert into buyers or subscribers?

Do you know your site’s rankings in the major search engines? What are your site’s top keywords? What’s your site’s Google PageRank? Who are your IP neighbors? What your site looks like in other browsers? How much is your site worth?

These are just some of the questions you should know, mainly because the more knowledge you possess about your site, the better equipped you will be at improving it. So here’s a simple list of free site checking tools/sites that will let you “Big Brother” (monitor and watch) your site.

1. Google Analytics

Perhaps one of the most helpful analytical tools you can use on your site. Google Analytics will give you a wealth of information about your site’s traffic. Where it comes from, how long it stays on your site, where it goes on your site, how well your content converts… invaluable information every webmaster should have in their possession. ( www.google.com/analytics )

2. NetMechanic Toolbox

Check your site’s mechanics – find broken links, check browser compatibility, find bad HTML code, spot slow-loading pages, and check your spelling… all by using the NetMechanic Toolbox: ( www.netmechanic.com )

3. Keyword Suggestion Tool

This free keyword suggestion tool will tell you how many searches are done in WordTracker and Overture for your site’s keywords. Extremely valuable information since much of web’s traffic and ecommerce is keyword driven. ( www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/)

4. Iwebtool

This is another free site which offers many valuable webmaster’s tools that will give you information about your/any site. Google PageRank, PageRank Prediction, Link Popularity, Search Engine Positions for Keywords, Backlink Checker… also Visual PageRank where you can see all the PR values of all the links on a given page – both internal and external. ( www.iwebtool.com )

5. Alexa Traffic Rankings

Alexa tracks the web’s traffic by using the Alexa bar in a surfer’s browser. Most people know it is not an accurate assessment of the traffic on the net but is a handy measuring stick, nonetheless. It is also a handy tool for comparing sites and seeing the long-tern traffic trends of different sites, including your own. ( www.alexa.com )

6. Your Site’s Traffic Logs

Most webmasters know your raw traffic logs are worth checking and reading. It contains valuable information about your site. Especially helpful if you’re checking for broken links on your site, you don’t want to see those 302’s everywhere. Close examination and regular checking of your traffic logs and stats will point out the profitable keywords on your site.

7. BetterWhois

You can use this site to find out the domain information about your site. Do you have control of your domain? Many webmasters buy their domain name thru their web hosting company, while this is not a problem in itself, however, if any dispute should arise who has administrative control of your domain; you or your hosting company? Can you change hosting companies? ( www.betterwhois.com )

8. Google Alerts

Another valuable tool from Google which notifies you by email when your link or site is found anywhere on the web. Great for keeping track of any new links your site is getting. Many webmasters also use this handy tool to keep track of their competitor’s sites. They also use Google Alerts to keep track of whenever their own name is mentioned anywhere on the web. This one would even make Orwell proud. ( www.google.com/alerts )

9. IP Neighbors

Many webmasters have their site hosted on shared hosting plans, which means there can be hundreds of sites sharing the same IP address. This site lets you discover who your IP neighbors are. Why would you want to know your IP neighbors? Well like neighbors everywhere; there are good ones and there are bad ones. For example, if you have a neighboring site that uses email to spam, it could get your IP address blocked or shut down. ( www.myipneighbors.com )

10. Any Browser

Use to this handy site to discover what your site looks like in different browsers; you could be in for a real shock. ( www.anybrowser.com )

11. Google Toolbar

The Google Toolbar can be placed on your browser so that when you’re surfing you can see the Google PageRank of each page/site you’re visiting. Many SEO experts believe Google is not giving us the true PR of a page and this bar is rather useless. However, like the Alexa rankings it is a handy measuring stick, nonetheless. ( www.toolbar.google.com )

12. What Is Your Site Worth?

Please take this last analyzing tool with “a large grain of salt”, but it is fun to use and to see how much your site is worth. Measurement here is done largely by the amount of links you have coming into your site. ( directory.sootle.com/website-worth )

In conclusion, all of these free handy tools/sites will give you a better, more complete picture of your own site. Remember, the more knowledge you acquire about your own site and your competitor’s sites, the more equipped you will be to succeed. This is one case where being a “Big Brother” can truly benefit your site.