Tuning Up Your Web Site: An Overview of Two Free Web Site Diagnostic Tools
Bao, Xue-Ming, Information Technology and Libraries
This article provides an overview of two free Web site diagnostic services provided by Web Site Garage and NetMechanic. Both services provide no-cost link check, HTML check, and image byte size reduction. Web Site Garage offers a unique link popularity check, whereas NetMechanic offers a unique server check. The article illustrates how the Seton Hall University Library Webmaster used these two Web site diagnostic tools in June 1998. The paper concludes that Web Site Garage and NetMechanic are effective tools that are easy and efficient for maintaining a Web site.
An advantage of the Internet's World Wide Web is the capability to link one Web page to another. An objective of Seton Hall University Library was to create a series of categorized global gateway links to revitalize its Web site (www.shu. edu/library). Currently the site has approximately two thousand links in twenty broad categories such as "quick references," "business," "education," and other similar topics. The links used were created by government agencies, institutions of higher education, commercial or nonprofit organizations, and individuals. These links form a network of key information resources and make an important contribution to shaping the University Library's online resources.
The Web, however, is dynamic. Web sites change their addresses (URL) without notice. Some disappear totally. The webmaster's challenge is to weed dead links. However, manually checking more than two thousand links would be time consuming and nearly impossible. The solution is to employ diagnostic tools that make short work of the job--easily, efficiently, and effectively.
A search through the Internet's Yahoo! yields about thirty sites that concern link validation and Web site diagnostics. The author found the following two diagnostic tools to be among the most helpful and easy to employ: Web Site Garage (www. websitegarage.com), and NetMechanic (www.netmechanic.com).
These sites offer both free and fee-based services. This article will focus on the Web site diagnostic features provided by their free services in June 1998.
Web Site Garage and NetMechanic are diagnostic tools that have received media coverage. Business Wire reported on Web Site Garage in its 19 November 1997, 12 April 1988, and 14 April 1998 issues. In its 14 April 1998 issue, Business Wire stated: "Web Site Garage ... allows Web site owners to `park' their URL for a free seven-point online Web site Tune Up and provides substantive recommendations for improvement. Since its release in November 1997, it has provided over 3 million online Web site Tune Ups."(1) The news of Web Site Garage was reported in Business Week (17 November 1997);(2) The Courier-Journal (6 December 1997)(3) in Louisville, Kentucky; MacWEEK, (26 January 1998);(4) The Daily Telegraph, (16 April 1998);(5) and The Bangkok Post (3 June 1998).(6)
Internet Business News reported on 1 June 1997: "Monte Sano Software has introduced NetMechanic at http://www.netmechanic.com, its new free service offering online web site maintenance. The new service showcases the start-up company's new robot technology which can check sites of up to 200 pages, testing links and sending e-mail reports to users."(7) A year later, Business Wire reported on 2 June 1998: "Since its inception last year NetMechanic has proven to be a very popular Web site. Its robots have tuned up over 4,000,000 Web pages, and currently tune over 600,000 pages a month."(8) The news of NetMechanic was reported in M2 PressWIRE (2 June 1997)(9) and Newsbytes News Network (3 June 1997).(10)
Web Site Garage
www.websitegarage.com Available since November, 1997 AtWeb, Inc. 686 W. Maude Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94086 Phone: (408) 733-2319
Web Site Garage offers four types of free service:
1. Tune Up: Runs seven free diagnostics on your home page
2. !Register-It! Free: Registers your Web site with sixteen search engines and directories within five minutes