Expert website optimization may require less tools than you think.

With hundreds to choose from, I asked 20 website optimization experts, bloggers and startup founders one simple question:

“If you could only use 3 website optimization tools to improve your site, which would you choose?”

My goal was clear: I wanted to understand which website optimization tools I must seriously consider, and which I could do without.

Researching the top 10 or top 20 website optimization tools lists was getting me nowhere closer to deciding the three MUST-HAVES; that’s why I decided that the only way to find out which website optimization tools I really needed was to go out and ask the experts.

Here are my findings of the 3 favourite website optimization tools used by 20 web experts:

 

KEY RESULTS: Favorite website optimization tools (as voted by 20 experts):

 

  1. Google Analytics (8)
  2. Optimizely (7)
  3. Intercom (6)
  4. Qualaroo (4)
  5. Mixpanel (4)

 

Here are the website optimization expert responses in order of reply:


1. Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré:Website Optimization Tools List - Nichole

Moderator, Product Hunt

Community Growth, Inbound.org

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. KISSmetrics: because Google Analytics tells you what’s happening. KISSmetrics tell you who’s doing it.

II. Hotjar: because of its “all-in-one” approach to website optimization, which is convenient.

III. Unbounce: because the UI is incredibly user friendly; you can quickly build landing pages with it.


2. Vincent Cassar:Website Optimization Tools List - Vincent
Founder, Keeping

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. PureChat: Instant feedback to be able to chat to our users. At 5$ per month it’s a no brainer.

II. Inspectlet: Quantitative analytics; simple user session recording app that just works (unlike many other alternatives.)

III. Analytics Experiments: Free A/B testing tool that is more than powerful and integrates inside analytics.


3. Robbie Richards:Website Optimization Tools List - Robbie

Lead Digital Strategist, Royal Jay

Authorrobbierichards.com.

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Optimizely: With a single line of code I can set up and deploy cross-channel a/b tests in minutes. The tool makes it super easy to measure every type of engagement, from clicks, purchase, sign ups and anything else that might impact the bottom line. You can quickly identify winning page variants and start sending 100% of your traffic to it. Instant lift in conversions for website optimization.

II. Lucky Orange: This tool offers a load of great features for a tiny monthly fee. I use this tool to generate heat and scroll maps, as well as collect live recordings of visitor interaction. But, my favorite feature is the form analytics. Again, with a single line of javascript I can start tracking which specific form fields visitors are hesitating or abandoning my pages from. I can also see which form fields take the longest to fill out or generate the most repeat entries. I combine these insights with Google Analytics goal funnels to get extremely granular insights into conversion bottlenecks. With both, I can not only see which pages in the checkout process people are abandoning on, but also which specific form fields people leave from/ take the longest to complete. This gives me quick insights into potential a/b test opportunities.

III. Intercom: Working with a lot of SaaS companies, this product is great for onboarding customers and turning them into loyal advocates. With the Intercom’s Engage package you can generate both in-app and behavioral email targeting. This makes it easy to get new customers to realize value in your product as quick as possible, re-engage dormant users and encourage active users to advocate for your product. Intercom makes it easy to scale and optimize this process by a/b testing behavioral and in-app messaging templates (content, design and triggers). You can even test email vs. in-app messaging to see which one converts better. 

Bonus: If you don’t have a large budget starting out. You can also build and deploy a/b tests rapidly by using Thrive Content Builder and the free Google Analytics Experiments tool. You can see a tutorial here. For list building, I recommend using Thrive Leads. I’ve managed to increase my email opt-in rate to over 9% by using the tool’s features to quickly build and test a number of different opt-in forms (popups, ribbons, in-content, end-content, screen fillers, sidebar widgets, slide-ins). It’s perfect for content upgrades too because you can target opt-ins to specific pages to make your offers extremely relevant. Here is an example on my blog. This content upgrade is converting at over 8%.


4. Adam Lovallo:Website Optimization Tools List - Adam

Co-Founder & Editor in Chief, Grow.co

Founder, Course Report

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Segment: to make tool testing and integration simple,

II. Customer.io: to build trigger based emails,

III. Mixpanel: to measure my funnel(s).


5. Kevin Bourgeois:Website Optimization Tools List - Kevin

CEO and Co-founder of Sentimy

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Visual Website Optimizer: not doing A/B testing is like trying to speak German when you’re drunk: you’ll maybe have one or two words right, but chances are that your whole sentence is messed up. There is absolutely 0 excuse to not use A/B testing: it’s super easy, super fast and you can increase your conversion rate /revenue by magic! VWO is expensive, but it’s the best tool you can use in the universe to optimize your website.

II. Hotjar: view what your users are doing on your website, see heatmaps, ask for feedback, use a NPS… All that for $29/mo. World-class support.

III. Intercom: A nice way to filter and organize your new signups. Talking to your users and getting feedback is the top-giga-over-omg priority in a startup. Intercom is here for that.


6. Peep Laja:Website Optimization Tools List - Peep

Founder, Conversionxl.

Co-founder, Markitekt.

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Google Analytics: Quantitative tool

II. Hotjar: Qualitative tool

III. Optimizely: Testing


7. Bronson Taylor: Website Optimization Tools List - Bronson

CEO & Founder, Growth Hacker TV

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Intercom

II. Mixpanel

III. GrowthGeeks.com


Website Optimization Tools List - Aurelie8. Aurelie Chazal:
Marketing Manager, CustomerICare

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Intercom: Being a SaaS startup it’s essential we know what users do inside of our app. It’s, by far, one of the most valuable apps for us at the moment. It helps us optimize our web app but also our website since we can see what features our users need the most and use that to improve the message on our website.

II. Google Analytics / Webmaster Tool: I know that this is pretty basic but I honestly couldn’t live without GA. Since we’re still pretty small we’re mostly relying on the Google tools because they are free and give us more than enough data. Our sign-up process is straight forward so we only had to create few events to give us a complete vision of where customers come from. We use the integration with webmaster tool to track our SEO efforts. It gives access to a lot more data about keywords than GA does by itself.

III. Unbounce: We used Unbounce when we got started to manage landing pages for our Adwords campaigns. The best thing about the platform is that it’s really easy to use. I have very little html / web design knowledge so I was looking for a tool that would let me create pages without needing our tech team’s help. The other big advantage of Unbounce is their integrated split testing feature. Seeing how much easier everything was using Unbounce, I’d say it’s well worth the price.


9. Lior Degani:Website Optimization Tools List - Lior

Co-Founder, Swayy

 

Website Optimization Tools:

There are many great tools out there, but choosing only three – you got to be able to see the picture as big as possible, and see most of your acquisition/product funnel.

I. Moz

II. Google Analytics

III. Intercom

You cover most of your External analysis (SEO, backlinks, etc.), onboarding (UI, UX, Bounce, CTR, etc.), and Internal product analysis (features, message, premium conversion, referral).


10. Paul Gordon: Website Optimization Tools List - Paul

Founder, MyPresences

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Usertesting.com: Love how you can watch and hear users comments as they discover the site.

II. Qualaroo: For being able to include target questions on certain pages.

III. InspectLet: similar to usertesting in application but better for seeing what actual users are doing in the application (whereas Usertesting is better for random users).


11. Georgiana Laudi: Website Optimization Tools List - Georgiana

VP Marketing, Unbounce

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Google Analytics

II. Qualaroo

III. Optimizely


12. Corey Dilley: Website Optimization Tools List - Corey

Marketing Manager, Unbounce

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Google Analytics: I’d need something to look at the site from a macro level and determine how well it’s converting traffic.

II. Optimizely: I’d like something that would help me optimize specific pages to make sure they’re achieving their micro goals (if I have the budget).

III. Moz or SEM Rush: Lastly, I’d likely be investing  pretty heavily in content marketing, so I’d want to make sure I’m getting as much qualified traffic as possible from that investment.


13. Scotty Truong: Website Optimization Tools List - Scotty

Founder, 3-Minute Optimizer

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Improvely: for quantitative assessments.

II. Web Engage: for better conversions.

III. 3MinuteOptimizer: focus on split URL tests. (Disclaimer: I’m the founder.)


14. Razvan Girmacea:Website Optimization Tools List - Rasvan

CEO, Monitor Backlinks

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Google Pagespeed 

II. Google Webmaster Tools

III. Google Structured Data


Website Optimization Tools List - Morgan15. Morgan Brown:

Co-Founder, Full Stack Marketing.

Moderator, GrowthHackers.com

Author, Morgan Brown Newsletter.

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Qualaroo

II. Optimizely

III. Mixpanel


16. Matthew Henderson: Website Optimization Tools List - Matt

Co-Founder, Kittysplit.

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Optimizely

II. Mixpanel

III. Feedbackify


17. Justin Mares: Website Optimization Tools List - Justin

Owner, ProgrammingforMarketers

Co-Author, Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Mixpanel

II. Optimizely

III. Intercom


18. Jimmy Daly:Website Optimization Tools List - Justin

Head of Marketing, Vero

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Vero (of course!)

II. Moz

III. Authority Labs


19. Matt Antonio:Website Optimization Tools List - Matt

Head of Product, Pay on Performance.

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Hubspot: Hubspot is too powerful in other ways not to use it.

II. Formilla Live Chat: Formilla lets me chat directly with our visitors and ask anything, test intros, find out what the most common questions are, etc.

III. VWO: is my A/B tester of choice because I get the testing but also heatmapping & click data.


Website Optimization Tools List - Justin20. Nick Hopper: 

CEO & Founder, Crozdesk

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Google Analytics: Tons of useful data — love this tool!

II. Crazy Egg: We use heat maps and scroll maps to understand how users interact with our site.

III. Optimizely: For measuring all our engagements and deploying A/B tests.


21. Evgeniy Garkaviy: Evgeniy

Marketing Manager, Hopespring

Co-Founder, Temi

 

Website Optimization Tools:

I. Google Analytics: Probably the most important website optimization tool I’m using. Google Analytics helps me find out what pages bring the most traffic and what must be improved. It also helps me to review social channels, set site funnels, and much more.

II. Google Webmaster: Since today most SEOs still focus on Google’s search engine, Google Webmaster Tools can help to understand how your site appears in their search results. Such tools as: “Links to your site”, “Manual actions”, “Mobile Usability”… are very important and shouldn’t be ignored.

III. Yandex Metrika: I’m sure most webmasters won’t know anything about this; it’s something similar to Google Webmaster, but, since Yandex is a Russian search engine, people don’t pay much attention to it. However, what most people don’t know, is that Yandex Metrika is available in English too. There’s one very important tool on it called Webizor. With Webizor, you can watch user’s behavior in real time. It can show you what parts of your site must be improved. And even better, Webizor is completely free.


What I personally discovered after asking 20 website optimization experts their 3 favourite website optimization tools:

 

1. Choose website optimization tools that let you see the big picture: Try to get access to qualitative data (i.e. Intercom), quantitative data (i.e. Google Analytics) and testing capabilities (i.e. Optimizely). All-in-one providers may be especially useful, such as HotJar.

 

2. You don’t need as many website optimization tools as you think. You just have to be smart about the ones you choose. Ask yourself how they complement one another. Make sure nothing’s missing.

 

3. Many of the experts’ favorite website optimization tools are free or low cost. Find out more about each tool by clicking on the link. I’ve linked each website optimization tool to profiles on Crozdesk where you can find more information about their key features, screenshots, pricing models, userbase, etc.

 

RECAP: Favorite website optimization tools (as voted by 20 experts):

 

  1. Google Analytics (8)
  2. Optimizely (7)
  3. Intercom (6)
  4. Qualaroo (4)
  5. Mixpanel (4)

 

 Keep the conversation going:

“If YOU could only use 3 website optimization tools to improve your site, which ones would be YOUR favourites?”

I want to hear from you what your must-have website optimization tools are!

 

An enormous thank you:

Lastly, a huge thank you to everyone who participated in this website optimization tools expert round-up.

Thank you for your time and wisdom.

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7 comments

  1. Thank you for the fantastic article Chris .To be honest , the only one that I choose isn’t on this list . Combining GoStats with other great tools presented in this article is essential for good SEO .

  2. You can definitely tell “what we do” at our jobs by the tools we prefer. haha There are some really cool tools on here that I’ve never heard of so will check into. Also, I never heard that this was published or would’ve shared when it originally went live. Sharing now. Thanks! 🙂

  3. Hello Chris,

    This is a nice article. Thank you for sharing the Q&A.
    I think it’s important to include in the tool deck some user feedback tools.
    (for example: usertesting.com / usabilityhub.com or a tool for online surveys like qualaroo.com or marketizator.com)

  4. Great to get the opinions from experts. The task of utilizing the optimizer is another problem.
    My web person created our web site several years ago using DreamWeaver. She attempted to use the Google Optimizer and after 2 days said no directions she could locate gave her the information needed to allow her to complete the project. any help or advise would be appreciated. Thanks

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