How To Improve Your Website Using the HubSpot Website Grader
by Tony Shannon
Your ability to execute effective inbound marketing strategies relies on your ability to provide a good experience for your website visitors. If they come to your website and run into problems with it loading on mobile or loading too slowly, they will be more likely to leave without interacting with your content.
Luckily, HubSpot recently released the HubSpot Website Grader. It’s a simple tool that evaluates the most important aspects of your website and then provides a score, along with a list of actions that they recommend you take based on the current standing of your website.
This can open up your eyes to some of the issues that your audience might encounter when they first find your website and help you to create the best possible experience for each visitor.
The factors graded by the Website Grader also affect your ability to rank in Google and other search engines.
Page speed, mobile-friendliness, and on-page optimization all play major roles in Google’s evaluation of your website. Ensuring that you have your bases covered in these areas can help you to improve your standing in search and attract more visitors.
To get started with the HubSpot Website Grader, you start by entering just your company domain name and your personal email:
Once you’ve clicked on the “Get Your Answer” button, the Website Grader will evaluate your website and return scores in less than one minute. Your website’s grade will be broken down into several different categories:
You’ll be graded on a number of factors in each section. Then at the end of the report, HubSpot provides actionable tips that you can take to improve your website’s grade and better serve your customers.
Let’s take a look at an example report for each section that the website grader evaluates.
The first and perhaps most crucial section of the Website Grader tool is the performance section. Optimizing the performance of your website not only helps you to perform better in search but also provides a better overall experience to your users.
Ultimately, improving the performance of your website will result in more traffic, higher conversion rates, and more leads and revenue.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the Website Grader provides a total performance score for your website’s homepage:
The score is out of 30. The 30 points come from three main markers and several subsidiary markers for performance that the grader checks when evaluating your website’s performance. Those markers include:
- Page Size
- Page Requests
- Page Speed
The three main markers influence the bulk of your performance score. The Website Grader provides a quick overview of each area and links to content that help to explain it in more detail.
Here’s an example of what the Website Grader might show you in the performance section:
In this example, the page size and page speed meet the standards of the grader, but the number of HTTP requests made by the website is too high, so the grader recommends that you cut down on the number of page requests.
Below this section, the grader evaluates a number of extra factors that affect the performance of a website as well. These factors play a smaller role in the performance grade of your website than page size, speed, and requests.
With these tips, you should find some useful ways to improve the performance of your website and ensure that your visitors receive a clean, quick experience when loading your homepage.
The next step in the process is an evaluation of the mobile-friendliness of your website.
The second section of the Website Grader evaluates the mobile performance of your website. Did you know that more than 50% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices today? In some areas around the world, that number goes as high as 65%.
First, it checks to make sure that your website is using responsive technology to correctly display your website to visitors on a mobile device. Mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor in Google, and websites that are not mobile-friendly may be penalized in mobile searches.
The mobile evaluation in the Website Grader looks at two main components of mobile-friendliness — a responsive web design and the “viewport,” which affects how your page scales and can be controlled on mobile devices.
Here is an example of how your report might look:
Last, but not least, the HubSpot website grader also evaluates your on-page SEO to ensure that you have all of your bases covered. On-page optimization ensures that Google can appropriately crawl your website and helps to ensure that your website is easy for your potential audience to discover.
The main on-page aspects that are evaluated in the report include some of the pillars of proper on-page optimization, including:
- Page Titles
- Meta Description
The report checks to ensure that these on-page elements are present on the page, then provides you with a simple report and links to articles to help you learn more about each element:
Then the tool takes a quick look at the security of your website. The Website Grader can only check whether or not you have an SSL certificate, because it doesn’t have access to check out any of the security measures that have been implemented behind the scenes.
SSL certificates help to protect websites from a variety of attacks and give visitors confidence that the website is trustworthy.
The security evaluation looks like this within the HubSpot Website Grader:
Recommendations on What to Do Next
The real value of the Website Grader is that it provides actionable recommendations on how you can improve the performance of your website and helps you to prioritize which tasks are most important. At the bottom of the report is a list of recommendations based on the elements the tool found to be missing on your website:
A Great Starting Point
The HubSpot Website Grader is an excellent tool for anyone that wants to improve their inbound marketing and ensure that they provide the best possible experience to their visitors. The tool can help to open your eyes to issues on your website that you didn’t know were present and help to tighten up your performance.
However, this tool should be viewed as a starting point. It can’t provide a deep audit in the same way that a HubSpot agency could, helping you to better understand where to improve.
This tool also only looks at the homepage of your website, whereas an audit would look at all of the pages on your website in the context of the keywords that each page targets.
The HubSpot Website Grader is an excellent tool for companies that want to quickly check for and rectify performance issues on their website, but a deeper evaluation will require help from a trained professional.