Few websites are born perfect, and one of the surest ways of uncovering any faults on a new site is to let real-world users loose on it. However, taking this approach to testing isn’t likely to be particularly beneficial for your business. If you want your new website to perform well straight out of the gate, which areas should you test before putting it live?
1) Mobile Compatibility
There’s really no excuse for a modern website to fall apart on mobile devices. If you don’t test for full mobile compatibility, you not only risk cutting off a huge segment of your audience, you’re also playing fast and loose with your Google rankings.
The search giant now treats the mobile version of a site as the primary one if it differs significantly from the desktop version. If your mobile offering is substandard, expect your search engine visibility to fall.
2) Cross-Browser Compatibility
It’s not just mobile devices you need to test for. Achieving cross-browser compatibility is nowhere near as complicated as it once was, but different browsers still have their quirks. This is especially true for websites with a high degree of functionality, and which push the technical boundaries. If your site aims for an app-like experience, you need to test it thoroughly on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge – at the very minimum.
3) Speed Testing
Your website may work seamlessly in the perfect development conditions of a local network. It may be as slick as you like over a broadband connection. But what happens when your server comes under heavy load, and visitors are using slower connections to browse?
It’s well established that website sales drop alarmingly for every tenth of a second’s delay in loading. Make sure your site performs well under real-world conditions before staking your profits on it being up to speed.
4) Security Issues
If your website takes any sort of customer information, security needs to be your paramount concern. Poor control of data leaves you open to legal problems, not to mention awful publicity. This is such an important issue that it’s best tackled by hiring an expert consultancy to test every aspect of your site.
Even highly talented and experienced web developers can unwittingly introduce vulnerabilities, and a security audit by a specialist is the surest protection against this.
Making your site accessible to everyone, including those with differing needs, isn’t simply a matter of inclusiveness and respect. It’s the law – and good business too.
6) Usability Testing
Lastly, your new website may be a treat for the senses, but it’s of little use if it baffles your customers. What may be obvious and familiar to you may not be so clear to visitors hitting your site for the first time.
Once your site’s main features have been developed and frozen, let a group of real users take it for a spin and report back. Ideally, the testers should be typical web users without a technical or development background, so that their feedback is as representative as possible.
Even if your site has no major issues, minor tweaks can boost conversion considerably, and so proper usability testing is sound business sense.
Amid the challenges and excitement of developing a new website, it’s easy to become so familiar with it that you’re blind to potential issues. However, you can guarantee that your users will uncover any problems extremely quickly. Adopting a thorough and methodical testing regimen during the development process will save you plenty of both stress and money.