Unlocking website optimisation: a comprehensive tool comparison

Stephen Evans
Thursday 16 May 2024

We explore some of the top tools that can refine websites for peak performance to improve user experience, enhance SEO rankings, and ensure accessibility.

Website performance can significantly improve user experience, enhancing SEO rankings, or simply ensuring your site is accessible to all users. The tools you choose for website analysis are crucial. In this blog, we will explore some of the top tools in the market, drawing from a detailed comparison presented at a recent symposium.

Let’s dive into how these tools can help you refine your website for peak performance.

Google Lighthouse: the beacon of web performance

Google Lighthouse stands out as a versatile tool directly integrated into Chrome Developer Tools. It provides insights across multiple aspects such as performance, accessibility, SEO, and more. What makes Lighthouse particularly appealing is its ability to simulate different environments, including incognito mode, to offer an unbiased look at page performance. The tool uses metrics like First Contentful Paint (FCP), Speed Index (SI), and Total Blocking Time (TBT) to provide a comprehensive overview of your site’s responsiveness and visual stability.

Google Lighthouse

Microsoft Clarity: gaining insight through heatmaps

Microsoft Clarity is another powerful tool, especially for those looking to understand user interaction on their sites. Clarity does not limit the number of heatmaps one can use, providing a granular view of where users click, scroll, and spend time. This is particularly useful for UX/UI designers looking to optimise page layouts based on actual user behavior.

Example use of Microsoft Clarity on the University of St Andrews home page

Siteimprove and Monsido: accessibility at the forefront

Both Siteimprove and Monsido emphasize accessibility, ensuring your website meets global standards and is usable by people with disabilities. Monsido allows for the monitoring of up to ten predefined heatmaps, whereas Siteimprove offers a more comprehensive suite of tools that audit your site for adherence to accessibility standards, along with SEO and data privacy.

Example use of Siteimprove

WAVE: simplifying accessibility checks

WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools) is a straightforward tool that allows users to quickly assess the accessibility of their websites. It’s praised for its simplicity and effectiveness, making it an excellent choice for small businesses or individuals who need quick audits without extensive technical involvement.

Example use of Wave

Developer tools: comprehensive set of tools

The Web Developer extension adds a toolbar button with a variety of tools for troubleshooting accessibilty issues with images such as images with missing alt attributes. It can also be used to display link details and ARIA roles.

Example of use of Web Developer toolbar


Choosing the right tool for website analysis depends largely on your specific needs — be it in-depth technical audits, user behavior analysis, or accessibility compliance. Tools like Google Lighthouse and Microsoft Clarity provide comprehensive insights that help optimise both performance and user experience. Meanwhile, Siteimprove, Monsido, and WAVE offer targeted solutions particularly beneficial in meeting accessibility standards.

Incorporating these tools into your website development and maintenance processes can lead to significantly improved outcomes, from enhanced user satisfaction to better SEO rankings and compliance with legal standards.

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