Before you even think about pushing to production, some testing is in order. At Sevaa, we like to test, test, and test some more, whether it be a small change to a homepage gallery or an entire redesign. Testing is probably one of the most important steps in our development process. Before we send a finished project off to a client, we want to make sure it functions correctly on any device and on any browser. Not only do we test the backend with static code analysis and supplemental tools, like Cypress, we also test the front end and how it looks to users.
Here are 5 aspects of your website that you need to test before you go live:
Content is what drives users to your website and contributes to your ranking on SERPs. Therefore, it needs to be engaging, relevant, and grammatically correct. Always do a few revisions on blog posts and general text, even if it’s a small headline. Sometimes errors hide in plain sight.
Grammarly offers a convenient Chrome extension that spellchecks everything no matter what platform you’re typing on. If you misspell a word or miss a comma, Grammarly will underline your mistake in red and offer a suggestion. These errors are inevitable, but multiple grammatical slips can look sloppy and unprofessional.
Your content is filled with keywords and vital information that users are searching for. Make sure your content is optimized for search engines using the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress or the SEO Checklist module for Drupal. These plugins give you suggestions to improve your SEO. For example, the Yoast SEO plugin gives you a readability score and an SEO score for every page of your website. This score improves as you make revisions based on the plugin’s suggestions.
In addition, you can help crawlers scan and index your amazing content with the use of an XML sitemap. Traditionally, bots scan every webpage of your site to index on SERPs. This can take a while, especially if you have a large website. With an XML sitemap, crawlers can scan a single page that outlines the architecture of your site. You can upload your sitemap to Google Search Console for a better chance at ranking on major search engines.
Links are the roads that lead traffic to your site. Internal links, backlinks, broken links…they’re all important. Internal links are necessary to keep users on your site. They refer to other posts or pages to essentially “herd” your users where you want them to go.
Backlinks come from outside sources and are extremely beneficial for SEO purposes. There are plenty of tools to find the backlinks leading to your site including Google Search Console. In the case of backlinks, practice quality over quantity, especially if you plan on garnering them through guest blog posts. Google ranks websites higher if they are relevant and trustworthy. Boasting backlinks from a bunch of subpar websites it more harmful than helpful, as opposed to a handful of backlinks from popular, more trustworthy websites.
Finally, broken links are never a good look. Use Screaming Frog to do a general audit of your website’s links. This will show you if you have any broken links and what type of error is associated with them. This way you can create redirects and correct them accordingly.
Even though you’ve built one website, it might look different across various browsers and devices. We use Browserstack to test websites before we present a finished product. This allows us to troubleshoot any glitches before it goes live. With Browserstack, you can view your staging site in major browsers including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Supplement Browserstack with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool and Search Console. These resources will give you valuable suggestions on how to improve your website for SEO.
With Browserstack, you can also test across various operating systems and devices to ensure that your site functions the same on an iPhone X as it does on a Samsung Galaxy. This is especially important for SEO. Search engines prioritize websites that are mobile-friendly. If users can’t view your website correctly on a mobile device, then your chances of conversion go down. In fact, mobile devices are responsible for about 80% of all Internet traffic in 2018 (BiznessAPPS). That’s a lot of leads you could be missing out on if your website isn’t mobile-ready.
Users are constantly on the go and won’t wait more than 3 seconds for your site to load. Not only should your website look good, but it also needs to function efficiently. There are many variables that affect your website’s speed including plugins, large images, and too many redirects. In addition, your website may load quicker for an iPhone X user than it does for an Android user, which can affect your SEO.
Use Google PageSpeed Insights to determine your website’s page speed and optimization. You’ll find suggestions on how to improve your speed across all devices. Pingdom is also a great resource that tests your page speed and monitors your uptime.
The user experience isn’t just driven by design and architecture, the site needs to run smoothly and do what it needs to do from the backend. Often times, the thought of testing code can be overwhelming. However, this is a vital step in any website launch.
Static Code Analysis
Using static code analysis, examine your code without running the program. In this step, you’ll comb through the details of your code to find any errors or inconsistencies. This promotes standardization and quality assurance. Although it takes a bit of time, it saves you from fixing bugs that your clients might discover after launching the website. This can look unprofessional and force you to spend a lot of time troubleshooting as opposed to working on other projects.
Dynamic Code Analysis
There are also automated testing tools that will test your website by running a program. For example, we use Cypress to ensure that our projects execute functions correctly. With Cypress, you can write tests, watch them run in real time and view the results in an organized dashboard.
Finally, put yourself in the user’s shoes. Consider the user experience that the website provides and move through the site as if you’re a user. This a good time to get your team involved to complete specific tasks and gather unbiased feedback. Users should be able to navigate through the site to conversion pages without confusion. Users are more likely to engage with your site if it is intuitive and easy to explore.
By the end of the testing phase, you should be able to conclude whether or not your site is readable, mobile-friendly, browser-ready and enjoyable for users to interact with. Testing doesn’t stop once you’ve launched. Track these aspects of the site over time to make improvements.
All of these tests aim to enhance the user experience and increase conversions; it’s a win-win. Sevaa Group pairs with the best designers to build enticing and structurally-sound websites. Not only that, we stick around after the launch to maintain your website with updates and strategies. Talk to us about partnering on your next launch!