Launching or relaunching a website is always an exciting time for any venture. It is the culmination of months of planning, hours of coding and design, and a cause for high expectations. Therefore, it can be quite disappointing and frustrating to discover errors in your website after launch.
Here are the most essential tests to run before launching your website.
1. Usability test
Usability tests involve considering the overall experience of a human user on your website. Failing the usability test means a bad user experience, which can lead to lower conversions, lower page rankings, poor traffic and a negative online reputation.
In order to run usability testing, you will need the services of actual internet users. Because your website will be used by people, and only people can give you an actual analysis of their time on your site.
However, instead of spending money hiring actual people, you can use Crazy Egg HeatMap Tool to get actual results from your website.
Remember, usability is essential if you want to gain your visitors’ trust, enjoy brand recognition and ensure user retention.
2. Browser compatibility test
It is important that you check to ensure that your new website displays properly across a variety of web browsers, especially the popular ones. This is done in order to account for web browsers on desktop computers, as there is a separate and equally important test for mobile responsiveness.
Carrying out browser compatibility testing can be cumbersome if you have to run your website on all the web browsers available. Luckily, there are free browser test tools like Browsershots, and paid ones like Browserstack that would give you the results you need.
These tools emulate the actual display on the browsers, so that you will know what to look out for.
3. Test for mobile responsiveness
Thanks to Google mobile first indexing policy, mobile testing is now more important than ever when launching a new website.
If your website fails the test for mobile responsiveness, you will be losing out on a large number of potential visitors and customers as Google’s policy is to rank mobile responsive websites higher than all others, even where non-mobile sites have more relevant content.
Thankfully, Google has made the test for mobile responsiveness very easy with their nifty mobile friendly test tool.
4. Test for speed
Website load speed is an important factor in user experience. In fact, any website that takes more than 3 seconds to load will more than likely lose visitors and these visitors may never come back. This is how important speed is to the success of your online business.
The thing about testing for speed is that unlike some other pre-launch tests, it is not a one-time event. You should test the speed of your website before launch and then just as often as you add new content.
Page speed tools like Google PageSpeed Insights will help you determine if your site is fast enough on mobile and desktop PCs to compete favorably in search engines, and to provide an optimum user experience.
5. Security test
The high rate of cybercrimes has made it vital that you take the security of your website seriously. Google then took it a step further with their Google HTTPS Everywhere Initiative, which says that website security will determine search rankings.
What this means in essence is that your website is incomplete, and would likely not do well online without a security certificate. In fact, customers would find it difficult to do business with you via your website if it is not properly secured.
Meeting this security compliance is easy enough. All you have to do is buy and add an SSL certificate to your website. And what’s more, reliable web hosting providers can set one up for you, like when you get domain names from openhost or GoDaddy.
6. Accessibility test
Accessibility means that your website is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. Unfortunately, this is one of the most overlooked prelaunch tests.
There are certain standards your website has to meet in order to be termed accessible. Some of these standards include WCAG, ADA Section 508 and WAI-ARIA. However, these standards are constantly being upgraded, therefore you have to stay in the loop in order to know what is new and pertinent at the moment.
As testing for accessibility is a bit more complex, you will need certain tools to get this done. One popular accessibility test tool is the Wave Web Evaluation tool.
7. Test for search optimization
SEO is vital to the success of your website. Without a proper SEO strategy in place, your website will not be visible to the people who use your business, and you will not enjoy high search rankings.
When designing your new website, chances are that you followed a dedicated on-page SEO and technical SEO process, but how can you tell if your efforts will pay off.
If you want your website to be properly optimised for search, you should be prepared to carry out a comprehensive SEO audit.
A typical SEO audit will check your site for proper use of keywords, adequate and relevant backlinks, an up-to-date XML sitemap, social signals and site analytics.
One great tool for performing SEO audits is SEMRush.
8. Broken links testing
There is a good chance that when you were designing your website, you moved things about a bit in a bid to get your desired result. Unfortunately, you may have to pay for this with broken links.
Broken links occur when pages or posts are moved, deleted or renamed without making the appropriate changes to your link system. This is something that can really frustrate your visitors.
Before you launch your website, check to see that your website does not contain broken links and redirects. Google Search Console is one of the best tools for checking and fixing broken links.
You may look at prelaunch tests as a series of time-wasting activities, but, completing these tests can be the difference between the success and failure of your online business, so it is in your best interests to ensure that your site is ready for public use.
Hopefully, the above checklist will provide a good place to start.