Website Functionality: 5 Tips to Ensure Your Website Functions Properly
Your website is your number one salesperson. It works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week providing valuable information about your brand to consumers.
According to Search Engine Land, 63% of consumers use websites to find or engage with businesses. And 30% of consumers won’t even consider a business that doesn’t have a website.
Given that your website is your best salesperson, you should take the necessary steps to ensure your website functions properly before and after it’s launched. A poor functioning website can mean the difference between generating new leads and completely missing out on lead-generating opportunities.
Not sure where to start? Have no fear. We’ve come up with five tips to get you started in the process of making sure your website functions as it should.
1) Test Your Website Early and Continually
A website should be tested early and continually during the development process. It should also be continually tested after it’s launched to ensure that it remains successful.
When testing your website, make sure your site is easy to navigate and that all links work properly. You should also make sure all content on the site is up-to-date. If you have an e-commerce site, confirm that all product descriptions are clear and descriptive. Ensure that high-resolution images are used to showcase any products on your site. You should also make certain that customers are able to easily add items to the shopping cart and check out without any issues or interruptions.
Catching problems early on can lessen the amount of time to correct the problem and save money. The longer problems go on, the more complex and costly they can become.
2) Validate the Code on Your Site
The code on a site should be validated to ensure that its written correctly using best practices. Having well-written code will allow web browsers, search engine spiders, and other web services to read, interpret, and render the code correctly.
The W3C Markup Validation Service can be used to help validate the code. Simply enter the URL of the document you wish to validate and W3C will show you any errors or warnings.
3) Conduct User Testing
User testing should be conducted to ensure that your site is user-friendly and contains information that users need and can easily access.
To start, get your project team together and come up with a plan. Your plan should include the scenarios you want to test, the metrics you want to capture, where the testing will take place, and how many participants you’re going to use. A great example of everything a plan should include can be found at usability.gov.
Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to implement the testing. During the testing, you should have a checklist of the tasks or scenarios you plan to test.
Once the testing is complete, carefully review and analyze the results. Identify any patterns among participants. Once you have analyzed the data, make changes, modifications, and improvements to your site based on the user testing results.
4) Test Your Site in Different Browsers
Most web designers, at some point, have designed a site that looked great in one browser, but not in another. To avoid this problem, test your website in the most popular web browsers (Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Firefox) to ensure your site works and appears as you intend.
Testing your site in different web browsers is an essential part of creating an optimal user experience. If your site doesn’t work well in one or more of the major browsers, you could potentially miss out on opportunities with a large segment of your audience.
Not only can different browsers interpret and render code differently, but different versions of a browser can cause discrepancies as well. To address this issue, front-end web developers can use code to target different versions of a web browser and override any inconsistencies.
5) Test Your Site on Mobile
More and more users are accessing the Web through their phone. This means that users have higher expectations of how a site should look and perform on a mobile device. Sites that do not measure up to the increasingly high expectations of users will struggle to attract and retain new visitors. Just as a site should be tested in different browsers, your site should also be tested for mobile.
One way to test your site is to use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. The test site allows you to enter the URL of a page you wish to score. Google’s Mobile Friendly Test will then analyze the page and tell you whether the page is mobile-friendly. It will also provide you with the details of any page-loading issues.
A high-performing website is an essential part of attracting and retaining new customers. Take the time to review and test your site to make sure it looks and performs as it should. Implementing the five tips, mentioned above, will help to keep your number one salesperson working round-the-clock for you and generating new leads.