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30 website optimization tools and how they help you build a high-converting site

Iterating new (and better) versions of your website as user expectations and the competitive landscape evolve is the most impactful way to keep attracting more visitors and conversions. Think of it as taking your site to the next level: you’ve already put in the hard work to build a website. Now, it’s time to optimize what’s already there to stay ahead of the competition and your audience's expectations.

Whether you’re at the start of your optimization journey or looking to up your game, this guide gives you the 30 best website optimization tools for the job—plus one advanced tip you may not have thought about.

Summary

Achieving iterative growth through continuous optimization is crucial for any business with an online presence. If you're at the early stages of your website optimization journey, consider starting out with these seven free tools and growing your stack as you go:

  1. PageSpeed Insights to stay on top of and improve your website speed

  2. Hotjar to understand user behavior on a deeper level and improve overall experience

  3. Google Search Console to measure SEO performance and find errors

  4. Screaming Frog to improve on-page and technical SEO

  5. Optimizely to run experiments and publish the best version of a page

  6. GTmetrix to optimize page load speed and get actionable recommendations

  7. WAVE to find and fix accessibility issues

But if your site has a specific area of focus for optimization, first explore the six main categories of website optimization tools:

  1. Page speed

  2. Search engine optimization (SEO)

  3. User experience (UX)

  4. Conversion rate optimization (CRO)

  5. Mobile-first

  6. Accessibility

Finally, remember this: there's one final optimization trick you have access to that your competitors don't—your customers and how they behave on your site. Use these unique insights to make optimization decisions based on their needs, and your website is bound to perform at its peak.

With Heatmaps, Recordings, Surveys, Feedback, and Interviews, Hotjar gives you five website optimization tools in one powerful suite.

Top 7 free website optimization tools to try right now

For a list of our top picks for free tools, keep reading. Or, jump to a comprehensive breakdown of the six different categories of web optimization tools to first determine which type of tool you need.

1. PageSpeed Insights

  • What it is: created by Google, PageSpeed Insights is a simple, free website speed checker

  • What you can optimize: website page speed, desktop website performance, and mobile page speed

  • How to use it: enter any URL and click 'Analyze'. PageSpeed Insights will return a page speed score out of 100 and give suggestions on how to make your site load faster.

2. Hotjar

  • What it is: Hotjar (that's us! 👋) is a behavior analytics and product experience insights suite that measures website visitor interactions and feedback

  • What you can optimize: just about everything! Find and fix bugs, optimize page design for conversion rate, and improve UX with tools like Heatmaps, Recordings, Surveys, Feedback, and Interviews.

  • How to use it: sign up and add the Hotjar tracking code to your site to automatically start recording sessions and generating heatmaps. Don't forget to set up an on-site survey and always-on feedback widget to gather direct user feedback.

Your one-stop shop for website optimization insights

Hotjar's tools and features work in harmony to give you customer-centric insights at the quantitative and qualitative level, with quick and easy ways to jump between the two.

Want to spot problematic pages fast? Sort your heatmaps by frustration score to see pages with the highest volume of frustration signals. Then, view rage click maps—a type of heatmap in Hotjar—of these pages. When you spot an area with a high number of angry clicks or taps, click the ‘View recordings’ button to watch session recordings of each frustrated user to understand exactly what they experienced, and what you need to fix.

Jump from aggregated data in heatmaps to individual user behaviors in recordings with a single click

Click 'View recordings' to go from a point of interest in a heatmap to its companion session recordings

3. Google Search Console (GSC)

  • What it is: Search Console is a free search optimization tool from Google

  • What you can optimize: measure SEO performance, view keyword impressions, and clicks, see your backlinks, and check for crawling and speed errors

  • How to use it: sign in with your Google account, verify site ownership, and wait for data to be collected

4. Screaming Frog

  • What it is: Screaming Frog is website crawling software for PC, Mac, or Linux

  • What you can optimize: on-page and technical SEO—find broken links, check HTML and XML sitemaps, find duplicate content, check redirects, and analyze page titles and meta descriptions

  • How to use it: download Screaming Frog and enter a URL or sitemap to start crawling

5. Optimizely

  • What it is: Optimizely is a powerful web experimentation platform providing A/B testing and multivariate testing tools and website personalization

  • What you can optimize: use A/B testingsplit testing, and multivariate testing (MVT) to test variations of different web pages and measure how they perform

  • How to use it: sign up for an account and add a snippet of JavaScript code to your site to start running experiments

💭 Did you know? Hotjar integrates with Optimizely (and other experimentation tools) to automatically detect when your site visitors interact with an experiment control or variation page. You can filter your Hotjar session recordings and user feedback by Optimizely experiment ID to see how visitors click, move, and scroll on each version, and how they respond to it.

A session recording of a user browsing the Hotjar homepage, captured using Hotjar Recordings

6. GTmetrix

  • What it is: GTmetrix is a web page speed tool

  • What you can optimize: page load speed

  • How to use it: enter any URL and click 'Test your site' for a basic speed test. Click the drop-down on each recommendation to learn how to make your page load faster.

7. WAVE

  • What it is: WAVE is a web accessibility evaluation tool

  • What you can optimize: find accessibility issues like missing alt text, small text size, and contrast errors that make your content inaccessible to screen readers

  • How to use it: enter any URL and click through the icon-coded errors to see what to change and learn why improved accessibility is important

6 types of website optimization tools

The seven tools we listed above prove you don’t need to spend money to start optimizing your website.

But if you want to go deeper into optimizing a specific area of your website—for example, making a landing page load faster or finding a new keyword for a blog post—here’s a look at the different types of web optimization you can focus on, and more tools that will help you get the job done.

Broadly, most web optimization tools fall into six main categories:

  1. Page speed

  2. Search engine optimization (SEO)

  3. User experience (UX)

  4. Conversion rate optimization (CRO)

  5. Mobile-first

  6. Accessibility

Some tools help you work on more than one area at once—for example, Hotjar can be used to improve UX and conversion rates on desktop and mobile—but in general, you’ll need to use multiple tools to optimize your entire website.

Think of it like one big optimization ecosystem: if you improve your website speed, you also impact your SEO, UX, and CRO efforts. As long as your mindset is focused on making your website better, you’ll get a lot out of the tools we discuss below.

1. Web page speed tools

A slow website can drive users away and hurt search rankings. Web page speed tools aren’t going to fix your slow site on their own, but they will measure page speed and show you what’s slowing it down. You’ll be able to pinpoint how to improve page load times by following recommendations like

  • Reducing and compressing HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images

  • Caching content

  • Using faster-hosting servers

👀 Want to make your website faster? We collaborated with HubSpot Academy on their free Website Optimization course. You’ll learn how to make your website faster to retain more visitors.

Popular website speed optimization tools

2. SEO tools

SEO helps you get more free website traffic from search engines like Google and Bing. There are many different types of SEO tools that help you do everything from optimizing the structure of your web pages to tracking how you rank for certain keywords. These include

  • Technical SEO tools to audit on-page SEO (like checking meta robots tags or 404 links)

  • Keyword research tools to find keyword ideas

  • Rank tracking tools to measure and compare search traffic, and tell you how your site ranks in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for target keywords

  • Content optimization tools to optimize for target keywords

  • Backlink analysis tools to check which pages link to your site (or to competitors)

  • Video SEO tools to optimize your videos to rank highly on video search engines like YouTube

You can use specialist SEO tools that only do one thing (for example, Screaming Frog is a dedicated technical SEO tool), and all-in-one SEO tools, like Ahrefs, which do a little of everything.

Popular SEO tools

3. UX optimization tools

Great UX keeps visitors happy and reduces friction on your site, ultimately leading to better conversions and increased revenue.

UX optimization tools won't magically improve user experience, but usability testing will help you understand user behavior and diagnose problems so you can optimize pages and give people what they need to keep browsing and buying from your site.

UX tools help with each step of the page optimization journey, from spotting where users get stuck to conducting user research.

Popular UX optimization tools

📖 Bonus read: heatmaps are a popular type of UX optimization tool that shows you how your website visitors interact with individual page elements. Here are 5 ways to use heatmaps to improve your website’s UX.

Visualize user engagement on your site with Heatmaps tools like Engagement zones

4. CRO tools

When done right, CRO increases the number of website visitors that become customers (or perform any desired action on your site).

There’s no single tool that improves conversion rate, but with a combination of

you’ll get a full picture of what’s happening on your site so you can give people what they need to convert.

Popular CRO tools

5. Mobile optimization tools

More people browse websites on mobile than desktop, so mobile-first optimization can help you ensure people view your site correctly on phones and tablets. Web elements like pop-ups, image-heavy pages, and tiny text can make your site difficult to navigate on mobile.

Of course, generalizations aren’t always helpful, so check your analytics data to find out what percentage of your users and customers browse on mobile devices and understand how important mobile optimization is to your business.

If you're using Hotjar, for example, your dashboard gives you an at-a-glance breakdown of your site visitors' devices.

#A widget in the Hotjar dashboard
A widget in the Hotjar dashboard

Popular mobile optimization tools

👉 Find out how to increase mobile conversion rate in this mobile optimization case study (mobile conversions went up by 63%).

6. Accessibility tools

An accessible website is easy for everyone to use—which is a win-win for you and your visitors: great UX for them and more happy customers for you.

Accessibility tools show you how your landing pages appear on a screen reader or to people with various impairments (for example, different types of colorblindness). These tools also provide optimization suggestions to make your website more inclusive.

Popular accessibility optimization tools

The one website optimization tactic that always works

So far, we’ve listed 30+ web optimization tools that you can use right now to grow your website traffic and revenue. And there are thousands more where those came from. 

So, where do you start? 

This may surprise you, but it’s not with a tool at all. While you and your competitors have access to the same optimization tools, there is one thing that’s unique to you: your customers and how they behave on your site.

Experience your site through your users' eyes

Even if you have the fastest website on the planet and rank high for your target keywords, no amount of speed or SEO ‘best practices’ will help you understand what your users do on your site or how they experience its pages.

Enter session recordings, which help you understand the experiences of individual users on your site. Using recordings, watch how real people get stuck and progress through your funnel, and see what they do right before they convert or leave. You’ll witness frustrated rage clicking, spot and fix website bugs, and get a clear picture of what really needs to be optimized.

But truly being on the same page as your users doesn't stop at seeing what they do; it also involves hearing what they have to say, in their own words. Combine insights from surveys, interviews, and user feedback tools with session recordings for a complete understanding of what users say and what they do.

Hotjar enables you to effortlessly move between user behavior insights from all of these tools for a holistic understanding of your site's user experience. How?

  • Get user feedback sent to a dedicated Microsoft Teams or Slack channel to hear what users say as they say it. Then, in a single click, view a recording of the user who left the response to see the actions that prompted their feedback.

  • Send an exit-intent survey to users who drop off at key places in your funnel to understand what you could do differently to make them stay. Follow up with a 1:1 interview hosted in Hotjar Engage to get more detailed insights and optimization ideas.

  • View heatmaps of low-converting pages for an aggregate view of user behavior. When you spot head-scratching user activity, like scrolling that stops before your first call-to-action button, jump into session recordings to understand why users didn't make it further down the page.

Once you know how users navigate your website and what they expect from it, you can develop an optimization strategy that delivers exactly what they need.

Ready to optimize your website for your users?

Use Hotjar’s behavior analytics and feedback tools to find out what visitors want from your website, and give them the experience they deserve.

Website optimization FAQs