DO YOU EVER wonder why websites change? Maybe it’s the colors, the navigation icons move, or content changes. Most changes that occur on websites are not random.   They are typically very specific changes that the Webmaster or site owner has decided to make because of analytics and test results from a multitude of fronts.
When creating a web-based business, there are many different components that exist beyond most individuals’ field of vision. Quite often, business owners or website creators attempt to conceptualize what they think is a perfect website without focusing on things like analytics, Internet marketing, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO). Without these ever-so-critical items being addressed, a website, no matter how well-built, will struggle to survive in a sea of websites and webpages that are making the necessary efforts to obtain site traffic and get exposure across multiple platforms. Below are a few tools commonly used and, best of all, are usually available for free. 
An easy first step is implementing a very basic analytics program. This code can easily be placed on every site page throughout the entire website. Analytics are a must, due to the immeasurable value it offers site owners, developers or Webmasters. With analytics properly installed on every page, then validated, these individuals can track visitors in multiple capacities such as number of page views, how long viewers stayed on the website, bounce rates, and other relevant metrics that are vital to the survival of a newly emerging website. 
Another simple tactic used to maximize the effectiveness of a website is to set up a Webmaster tool to better track the metrics associated with your website. Webmaster programs are a must when tracking the metrics regarding your website. Be sure to look at things like crawl reports, indexed pages, and indexation issues, and also track basic statistics such as clicks, keywords and other traffic metrics. It is important to always be improving a website to be sure that it is being ranked properly and to make adjustments to enhance viewer retention. Think of your website like a racecar; even if it looks great and sounds great, there is still some fine-tuning that can be done to achieve peak performance. With a little tweak here and a small adjustment there, while each doesn’t seem like much, a handful of minute adjustments can easily produce noticeable results. Most adjustments are as easy as choosing one word over another and ensuring that you change little things every day. To the powers that make your website popular, changing one word everyday for 100 days is much better than changing 100 words in one day. While it’s not quite that simple, that’s the basic idea.   
After an analytics program and a Webmaster tool have been addressed, it would be wise to run a crawl simulation. The purpose of a crawl simulation is to shed light on anything that was overlooked during the final phases of website development. Running a crawl simulation will bring most unknown errors, incomplete redirects, broken links, and missing titles to your attention, allowing for immediate changes. Every day that a site is live is, potentially, a day that it could be re-crawled by spiders; if this happens, you want to make sure that you have made the necessary changes to fix any existing mistakes, especially items mentioned above like improper redirects, broken links, files blocked by robot.txt and missing tags. These crawl simulations can be administered by free programs found on the web or they can be purchased tools. Either way you go, it is crucial to run a crawl simulation. 
Once the crawl simulation is complete, it would be appropriate to test your website, more specifically—its design, with a browser emulator. Browser emulators are used to confirm that the design, layout and imagery work well and look great on multiple browsing platforms such as Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and anything else that you would like to check. This is also a great time to address any framing issues with mobile devices. We now live in an era of mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, so be sure that if you intend to be viewed on these devices, that your website is formatted properly to automatically frame to their screen sizes. 
If your website is going to offer an RSS Feed (which it should), then you need to outfit your site with analytics to track the performance of the feed. There isn’t too much mystery here besides believing that it is important to understand the metrics associated with your feed and making changes accordingly. 
At some point, it is necessary to compile a list of contacts. This list should include everything from colleagues, business contacts, friends, and family. These individuals can be instrumental in building that much-needed buzz when launching a fresh, new website. It would be wise to send out a few emails inviting your contacts to checkout the site and give honest feedback. The communication can be created as a formal press release or correspondence letter, or even a casual email with a lot of personal feel. I would recommend some kind of middle ground. Make sure it’s not a pitch/sales email but be sure to add a touch of pride and professionalism to your communication.  
Essentially, there are many ways to properly plan, prep and monitor a website during every stage of its development. These few steps are extremely easy to implement and they can help not only webmasters, but website and business owners in their quest to enhance and improve the quality of their website and its performance. Good luck, and hopefully you find some, if not all, of these tools useful in the continued evolution of your website.