Dear PropellerHeads: My website isn’t getting much traffic. A friend said I should get my site graded to see if it is up to recent standards. I nodded my head but really have no idea what he is talking about. Help please!

A: Nodding your head giving an affirmative response even though you have no idea what was even said or what you just agreed to? Sounds like every day at work. But don’t tell my boss that.

Another thing that happens every day at work is keeping up with the latest standards of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, responsive design, accessibility, etc., the list is endless. Fortunately for me, and now for you, there are numerous free (my favorite word, especially if it precedes the word beer) tools that will interrogate your website and offer hints on how you can make it better. Just search for “website grader” on your favorite search engine and you’ll encounter dozens.

After several mind-numbing minutes you will figure out for yourself that the most popular are the following: Clarity Grader, Clickx, LXRSEO, Nibbler, Website Grader and WooRank. Now I could just give you a review of each of these, but I’ll do a notch better for you and turn the tables on these tools by having them grade each other! Take that Mrs. Stein! Sorry, my kindergarten teacher seriously left her mark on me, mentally and physically.

Forewarned, most of these guys require you to supply an email address in order to get results. Nibbler is the exception. Others I didn’t list may require a Google or Facebook login.

Clarity Grader (claritygrader.com) is kind of unusual for these tools as it does not look at the technical aspects of a web page, only at the content. And really it just focuses on that stuff Mrs. Stein failed to hammer into my head: grammar. Get it? Hammer grammar? Bueller?

It focuses on avoiding long sentences, using non-passive voice and overall readability. Your results are presented in the easy-to-understand traffic light color system of Green (gold star), Yellow (needs attention) and Red (face palm). I definitely recommend using Clarity Grader, but after you’ve used some of the other graders below.

Clickx (clickx.io) was a complete and utter disaster. I never received the promised new account email, nor a password reset email. Move along, nothing to see here.

As its name suggest, LXRSEO (lxrseo.com), focuses on SEO, or search engine optimization. In other words, crafting your pages to look the most attractive to Google and Bing. While it spends a lot of time looking at the HTML header, it is not completely ignorant of the technical nitty gritty. In fact, it is probably the most thorough of all the ones mentioned in this article. Where LXRSEO fails, however, is remediation. It tells you your site’s problems, but doesn’t always tell you how to fix those problems.

Nibbler (nibbler.silktide.com) seems to focus more on your social networking savvy, as it relates to your website. Do you have Facebook and Twitter integration with your site, and if you don’t, why the heck not? What is wrong with you? Resistance is futile!

Unlike LXRSEO, Nibbler always gives you solutions to address your weaknesses. The biggest problem with Nibbler is identifying the weaknesses. Flat out fails are obviously red, but then it goes to green and then blue. To me green equals good so their color system is confusing. But this nitpick aside, probably the best of the bunch.

I’ve used Website Grader (website.grader.com) in the past, though it has been awhile now so it was interesting to see how it has changed over time. While the results are probably the best looking, the depth of the review isn’t what I remember it was. Now it is very high level so it will impress the boss, just not us PropellerHeads. They do provide solutions for problems discovered but they tend to be very wordy articles (I should have reviewed this site with Clarity Grader!). All in all, given all the praise for this site on the Internet, I was disappointed.

Finally, WooRank (woorank.com) is another site I’ve used in the past. It too uses the easy to understand traffic light rating system, and provides solutions for the problems discovered. It goes a step further indicating how difficult it is to implement the solution so you can quickly identify low hanging fruit. Mmm, mango! The most annoying aspect of WooRank is that many analyses require you to upgrade to their paid service, or at least register for a free trial.

So now the next time your friend brings up grading your website, you can nod with same confidence that I possessed when I stood up in kindergarten and completely whiffed on the phonogram presented me. I still cannot pronounce Worcestershire correctly without wincing.