A useful tool for checking for errors on your site is Google Chrome’s audit feature, it is powered by Lighthouse, a open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. It can be accessed from Chrome’s developer tools which can be accessed by either pressing F12 or clicking menu (the 3 vertical dots in the top right of the screen) under “More tools”

chrome audit screenshot

After opening the Developer tools, you will have a side bar will open in Chrome and it will have a list of items along the top. If all items don’t fit along the top you will need to click the » to see the other options and it is there you will find the “Audits” option

detailed chrome audit

From here you will see the options you have to audit the current page. If you want to check how the page runs on mobile browsers or desktop, the areas to check the page on are:

  • Performance; How long it takes to show content and become usable.
  • Progressive web app; Does the page meet the standard of a Progressive Web App.
  • Best practices; Does the page follow best practices for modern web development.
  • Accessibility; Is the page usable by people with disabilities or impairments.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation); Is the page optimised for search engine result ranking.

You also have the option to restrict the internet to 3G speed to help see how it would load on a slower mobile network speed. The final option is whether or not to clear the cache, which is a store of assets the page needs to load that you already have on your computer. Meaning that it will take less time to load the page. This option is recommended if you are trying to find out the pages performance.

lighthouse audit

When you have selected all the settings you want, and press “Run audits” the page will refresh several times. It may look strange at times as it disables several items like the CSS to see how the page reacts to not having these.

When the audit has finished the page will be back to normal and the sidebar will now show you the results of the audit, the top will display a score out of 100 for each of the Audit items (SEO, Performance, etc.) Below that, it will contain a list of items for each of the audits sections selected in the settings, whether or not they passed, and if they did fail it will say why and offer a link to more details on the issue.You will see at the top of the sidebar an option to save the audits results, the files is saved as a JSON file.

lighthouse audit scores

By using this tool you will be able to see what about your site is making it slower, preventing it from appearing higher in search results or makes it less accessible to those with disabilities. And with that information you can improve your site and make it the best it can be.