Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Importance of Testing Your Website

One of the simplest rules of website design is one that many professionals frequently don’t remember. After Google changed its algorithm and a lot of websites lost traffic, website developers discovered that posting new content often returned some of the sites to previous rankings. In other words, one of the things that the new Panda update from Google was looking for was new content.

This meant that in order for websites to get picked up in the search engines again, there had to be changes made to the sites. So, developers went ahead and made changes, updating content and adding graphics, but some of them failed to do one simple thing before they published their new websites.

They forgot to test out the new changes to make sure everything flowed smoothly.

With today’s increased use of smartphones and tablets, it is more important than ever to ensure that a website is accessible across all platforms. Many websites depend upon search engines to attract new customers, and if a site isn’t working properly, a potential customer or new reader might be permanently lost.

When testing a website, the first thing to look for is browser access. There are a variety of different browsers available, and developers are constantly tweaking them to ensure the best possible performance. Unfortunately, when a browser gets updated, there are times when the websites have issues. It’s always a good idea to test a website after every browser update.

When you make a change to a website, make sure that everything is still functioning. Take a look at your navigation buttons to make sure they are still working and still directing visitors to the right pages. If one of the changes you’ve made is adding a page, make sure that everything linking to the page is properly updated and working.

One sure-fire method of testing your website entails using a separate computer to access your website, rather than the one that was used to make the website changes. This ensures that the computer accessing the page has a “clean slate,” emulating a new visitor to the website.

In the end, it doesn’t take that long to make sure that the website changes have not caused your site to suffer any damage — and you’ll be more likely to keep visitors coming back to your pages in the future.

Rebecca Jones is a contributing writer for Invesp, a company that assists clients with their conversionoptimization efforts through site testing and adjusting pages to promote landingpageoptimization.

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