Building a new website from scratch can be daunting—your web development team, designers, and content creators will be working very closely for weeks, creating wire frames, data, HTML, copy, and whatever else is needed to get your website up and running.
But your website won’t go up overnight, or even in a few weeks—you’ll need plenty of time to build it the way you want it to be. More importantly, you’ll need to take your time going over each inch of the website to be sure there are no errors or missing pieces before it goes live.
Proper quality assurance (QA) will help your company avoid costly oversights, broken website features, and just plain embarrassing errors. Each business will have its own QA process, but there are key steps that every QA process should have. We put together 6 easy steps to help you better understand the QA process and keep your website in check.
Make sure your content speaks to your audience. You want to use the right words and tone to convey the most effective messaging possible. Consider these questions to help refine your content:
- Are your calls to action strong?
- What could be missing from your content?
- Has all the sample text been removed?
- Are there any areas where there is too little or too much text?
- Is all the text free from spelling errors?
- Is there any duplicate content?
- Is all the text laid out clearly and logically?
Not only do you want your website design to look good and match your brand, but you also want the user experience to be top notch. Make sure that your content and images flow well together and that it’s easy for your audience to ask questions, find services, and simply browse your website as a whole. With that in mind, consider these questions:
- Does all the text have a clear hierarchy, and is it easy to read?
- Is the design and formatting consistent throughout the website?
- Does the live website match agreed-upon mockups?
- Are long text blocks broken up with headers and different formatting?
- Are all images high quality and placed in appropriate places?
- Does the website have a working mobile friendly design?
- Is the spacing consistent throughout the website?
While most of your functionality depends on your design choices, it’s important to separate this section and treat it as its own. If your website doesn’t function properly, your bounce percentage will rise dramatically, and you’ll lose prospects’ interest. Be sure to run through this list:
- Is the website easy to use?
- Has every link been double-checked?
- Do external links and PDFs open in new tabs?
- Does the search function work?
- Does the site work on all major browsers?
- Does the mobile website function properly?
- Do links and buttons stand out?
- Does your 404 page help users find the correct information and fix the error that occured?
- Have all the site files and database information been backed up in a safe place?
Security is crucial to protecting your information. The Internet leaves many sites vulnerable to hackers who may want to shut down your site and/or take the valuable information coded into it. Make sure that your team can thoroughly assess the security of your website when doing your quality assurance check. You should consider these questions:
- Has a custom username been created, not just “admin” or “administrator”? Was user ID = 1 removed from the database?
- Are there Captcha fields on the forms to limit spammers?
- Are the CMS, themes, and plug-ins up to date? Did you delete all unused plug-ins?
- Is your database password secure? Are weekly database backups scheduled?
- Is directory browsing prevented?
- Are all the file and folder permissions restricted? Are users prevented from executing PHP from the uploads folder?
- Has the login page been changed to another phrase other than /wp-admin to prevent brute force attacks? Have you set a limit on failed login attempts?
You need traffic coming to your website—make sure you’re accurately researching and creating the right SEO strategy for your business. You’ll need analytics set up to track how your strategy is working, so that you can implement necessary changes and figure out what works. Consider these points:
- Has the site been tested for load time?
- Has the site been optimized, with page titles, keywords, and meta descriptions?
- Have you installed Google Analytics for tracking?
- Has a dynamic sitemap been created and submitted to Google Webmasters?
- Is the main text “live” rather than image based?
- Are “pretty permalinks” being used?
Without proper forms on your website, users cannot submit information or questions, which can be frustrating at best. And at the worst, you won’t receive any submissions or leads, driving business down substantially. To ensure your forms are working, use this checklist:
- Has every form been tested thoroughly on all browsers and all devices?
- Are the forms easy to fill out and do they make sense?
- Have “thank you” pages been created for each form?
- Are the forms being sent to the correct recipients?
- Does the reply from that email work properly?
- Can the inputted text be easily read?
- What error messages appear when someone enters information incorrectly? Is it clear what is required of them to fix it?
While your process may differ slightly, you want to be sure that all of these are checked off your list. You may add some more, but asking these baseline questions during a website QA will help prevent costly mistakes before your site goes live.
You also want to be sure that you have a fresh pair (or two) of eyes for the QA. Don’t just have the same developers and designers going over the website. They’ve been working on the website for weeks or months, so they may easily overlook some issues that are right in front of them.
Contact us today to learn more about a proper quality assurance process and how to create the best website for your business.
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