Want a free check up on how your site compares with 'best practice' in terms of popularity, design, accessibility, and user experience?
Sitescore is a online tool that provides an automated rating of your site according to the above four criteria as well as incorporating a user rating feature.
Of course, it's nice to see that SmileyCat.com currently warrants an 8.2 overall rating, but is any of this information actually useful?
Well, yes and no. If you're an experienced web designer then there's not a lot new to learn here, although I suppose it's handy to have all this information in one place. If you're a bit of a statto like me, it's always fun to look at yet more statistics about your web site.
If you're less experienced, then I suppose this tool could provide some useful guidance as to where you should focus your efforts in improving your site. For example, do you need to focus more on marketing to bring in more traffic to your site, or is your user experience lacking when they get there? (Hint: focus on #1)
The user rating feature might be useful if you can get enough ratings. After all, what conclusions can you draw based on just a few ratings, which is what most sites are likely to have?
Again, yes and no. Some of the results seem to be a bit off. My site was marked down because it lacked meta tags. Well, I'm not sure which pages were tested, but I every page has at least a meta description tag, so I'm not sure what's going on there.
On the other hand, it did find some incorrectly coded input tags on my contact page (now corrected).
The "Popularity on Google" feature is also a bit of a gimmick. Did I really need Sitescore to tell me that I rank #1 for the search phrase "Web Design Blog by Smiley Cat Web Design" (taken from my page title)?
If you create an account, you get a bunch of additional technical reports, such as use of proper HTML, Flash, tables for layout and stylesheets. Apparently I use all of the above appropriately, although I would be interested to know what constitutes and improper use of Flash.
I also have an average of 47.8 links per page, which is supposedly excellent. What the heck does that mean?! Why is that 'excellent'?
Some of these features strike me as being a little unnecessary, especially when there's no explanation provided to go along with them. A more focused - and I would say, useful - report would come across better in my opinion, and would seem less "gimmicky". A bit of 37Signals 'less is more' philosophy certainly wouldn't go amiss.
Anyway, check it out and see for yourself. If you do, let me know how you got on - anyone got 8.2 beat?
Posted on: November 14, 2005 | 4 Comments