Whether you’re about to release a new website, or as part of website maintenance, make sure you dedicate enough time and resources to ensure it meets the quality level you promised your customer.

That is called Quality Assurance, and yes, it’s a job in itself (hi Caroline!). Altough you could do it manually, the process can quickly become tedious. Some tools exist to automate these quality checks for you.

404 broken link checking tool

Integrity (Mac) does that very well and is free. Windows users should probably try the free Xenu’s Link Sleuth tool. It is getting old but still works AFAIK.

PeacokMedia has another nifty product (not free though, 95,- USD sh-e-e-e-e-e-e-t) called Scrutiny. It is very handy, as you can see in this screen capture.

All quality checks you can make with Scrutiny
All quality checks you can make with Scrutiny

Page loading time

  1. You should definitely make sure all static visuals are losslessly optimized. ImageOptim (Mac) does a pretty good job at it, using optipng, pngout, jpegoptim. Oh, and it is free.
  2. If you use WordPress, I cannot recommend enough the EWWW Image Optimizer plugin: it will automatically apply lossless image optimisation provided the necessary components are available in your server. They usually are, and it’s not too difficult to install if you have your own dedicated/virtual web hosting server.
  3. pagespeed: if you do have your own server and it runs nginx or Apache, make sure you install the pagespeed Apache module. It takes care of most optimisations for you (caching, minification, combination, lossless image optimisation…). Really impressive.
  4. Make sure all javascript files are combined into one unique, to minimize the number of DNS requests. Also, minify them. On top of allowing you to use sass, less… code preprocessors such as Codekit or Koala are good tools to help you keep an easy to maintain sourcebase of multiple files, and produce one single minified javascript file. (The same goes for your CSS assets: serve one unique, minified css file.)

Website uptime monitoring

Make sure you know before your client does if his website is down. Website uptime monitoring tools send you an email/sms message whenever one of your registered service (http, smtp, …) is down. The one I use is PHP Server Monitor (opensource).

Quality of the overall User Experience

Well, there is no tool that would allow you to automate the verification that your website provides as  good a user experience as it was on day one. Only testing it against real humans can help you assess that. I use Clearleft’s Silverback to record user experience testing sessions.

Are you aware of any tools that should be in this list?