By Lucy Bradley
A key part in any web project is the testing stage, which ensures that everything is working as it should and helps to establish whether the project meets all of the aims and goals that were originally set. We’ve put together a list of ideas as a starting point to make sure that your site is ready for launch.
Before any testing procedure begins, it’s important to know the project inside out so you can better represent the end user, and assess whether or not project goals have been met. Gain an understanding of the scope of the project, so that you can better judge whether the website delivers in all the ways it possibly can do. It’s beneficial to have an understanding of the target audience, and what the client’s main goals for the website are – this will help you test the website more accurately.
Do you have a well-designed testing procedure in place to make sure you’re testing everything that needs to be tested? If not, it’s worth investing some time to device a properly thought out process that ensures you test everything you need to. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to test everything at once, which means the process isn’t always as in-depth as it can be, and it’s easy to miss something. Put a plan in place beforehand, test everything thoroughly and logically – and you’ll be less likely to miss something; which will save something cropping up later down the line.
Consistency is key when it comes to the testing process – it helps a site when it comes to looking ‘polished’. Key things to consider are whether the design is consistent, by that we mean headings, hero area sizes, and font sizes; also making sure the design is on brand throughout. Furthermore, make sure the spacing used throughout is consistent and sensible and whether it could be adjusted to make it look it cleaner. In line with this, using the agreed and consistent font and font sizes throughout, with the correct letter spacing is important – and shouldn’t be overlooked in the testing phase.
In a world with a mobile-first mindset (which you can read about in a little more detail here), making sure your website is responsive across a range of devices, including mobiles and tablets, has never been more important. Have you checked whether the site scales down appropriately on an iPhone and Android phones with different sized screens? Within this, have you made good use of the mobile screen size, in terms of hero area sizes etc. Have the mobile users experience at the front of your mind, and be questioning whether it could be improved for them. To make sure you’re making the most of your mobile users, you should also ensure you have provided easy call to actions and contact details to help to encourage the chance of enquiries (such as encouraging the user to call).
Many websites are now placed on an easily manageable content management system (CMS), such as WordPress, so thorough checking of this is important to make sure it is fully accessible for your client to perform any updates as required. Check that every image on each page can be updated where it needs to be, and that information and content is retrieved correctly on the front-end for all pages. URL structure is highly important, but can be easily missed in site checking, are they sound for custom post types (such as blog/this-is-url), and do all the URLs actually make sense?
Prior to the launch of the site, it’s important to check out the SEO aspects of your site, to make sure it’s all okay prior to robots crawling the site. You could choose a tool such as Screaming Frog to do this, which can help to flag up any duplicate meta information and title tags, furthermore, it can outline any missing alt tags – which should be amended prior to the site launch. Checking there is a xml sitemap and robot.txt file is also a key step at this stage. Of course, checking out the website speed for both mobile and desktop is highly important from an SEO and usability point of view. There are plenty of other aspects you might want to check, you might even want to look at carrying out an SEO audit – but this list gives you a starting point.
There are always a few additions to think about prior to the launch, for example ensuring the client has access to the CMS so that they can make any updates that they need to do – and stops them asking for access later down the line. Have you checked that all the forms work correctly? If not – all your hard work designing a website optimised for conversions will go to waste. It’s worth making sure you’ve installed Google analytics – so that the site can collect data from its launch.
Of course, there are plenty of other aspects you can (and should) be testing prior to your website launch, to make sure it is technically sound and offers the user a well-designed experience on the site. But in some cases, checks are highly dependent on the project scope and what the client’s main goals for the site are.
If you’re looking for a new website, that is bespoke and centered around meeting your goals – get in touch with our team today!