Website QA is a series of checks that ensures your website works the way it’s supposed to. These checks include the site speed, content, typos, broken links and functionality across different devices and web browsers.
You may think that you only need website QA before a website goes live. But testing your site more regularly will help prevent future errors and keep your site above the competition. Having a seamless website will create a better experience for the user and will increase your conversions.
We look at how website QA works and provide you with the information and the tools you can use to help identify any issues.
How to test your websites QA
There are a couple of checks you need to do on your website to ensure the design and development is seamless and easy to use. These are the things you should look out for:
If you have multiple staff updating your website, they can sometimes delete, remove or update pages or URLs. Not only on your business website but they may also add or remove links to external websites that your web pages link to.
Broken links not only ruin the user journey, but it can also harm your credibility. Various SEO tools and Google Search Console can highlight any broken links or errors within your site, prompting you to fix them.
Missing or incorrect content
Although missing or incorrect content won’t impact the usability of your website, it can make your brand look sloppy. Spelling or grammar mistakes can easily go unnoticed. Usually, when you look at written work with fresh eyes, it’s easier to spot these mistakes so you can rectify them. There are free tools available such as Grammarly or the Hemmingway editor that will highlight any content issues.
For smaller websites with only a few pages, this will be an easier task to complete. If you continue to add new web pages every week, then you can often lose track of which pages need reviewing.
As part of website QA, you should check the phone number, email address and office address are consistent across the site. If the information for your business changes at any point, you will need to run through each page to ensure all information is up to date.
The loading time of your website is becoming increasingly important. Google uses page load speed as a ranking factor. For example, if you and a competitor have the same quality links, similar quality content, but one page loads faster than the other, then the faster page will likely rank above the slower loading page in search engines and get more clicks.
Most importantly, most people do not have the patience to wait for your page to load. A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. We have got used to having results instantly, and if your page creates a poor user experience, you’re likely to find more people drop off and leave your website entirely.
On-site forms that produce leads for your business is an extremely important feature. When going through your web pages, test each form and make sure they work the way they should do, and that after submitting your details it sends the information to the right place for your business to respond to any queries or requests sent in via the forms on your website.
Devices and operating systems
Websites and apps can function differently depending on what device, operating system or web browser you are using. There can be issues between web browsers. Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge (previously known as Internet Explorer) can display websites differently.
You also have to consider different screen sizes, ranging from mobile, tablet and a large widescreen computer monitor. Ensuring your website loads on a range of screens will help the durability of your website and brand.
There are tools specifically made for testing websites and apps on various devices. Tools such as BrowserStack are easy tools to use to check over your site and test across different operating systems and on different sized screens.
If you have a WordPress website, you will know that WordPress release updates a few times a year. Although it doesn’t update automatically, there is a high risk of other plugins failing and stop working.
When updating WordPress, it’s best to do this on a staging site first before implementing the update on the real site, this means if anything breaks then your live website won’t be affected.
Once WordPress has updated, you will then need to update all associated plugins that your website uses. You then have to test every page to ensure each plugin and function is working as it should before setting live again.
It is best to check your website plugins regularly to ensure they are still in working order and that there are no glitches or errors as this can impact the usability of your website.
Useful tools to help
Heat mapping tools for website QA
Although mostly to help with the user experience, heat mapping tools allow you to record how users behave when visiting your website. Heat mapping helps to show whether visitors can find what they’re looking for and where they click to from each page.
Heat mapping tools will help you identify the following issues:
- The content on your site
- The layout of your site
- If there are consistent drop-off points in forms or specific pages
As a free alternative, you can use Google Page Analytics, it comes as a downloadable chrome extension where you can see the analytics for the page you are on (as long as you have access to the analytics account to the website in the first place).
Google Page Analytics shows the most clicked links on the page in the selected time frame and the page views count, bounce rate and exit rate. This information gives a good indication of how well a page is performing or whether it needs a full-page audit to see if there is a way to make improvements.
Google Analytics allows you to cross-compare visitors, bounce rates and conversions across different devices, operating systems and web browsers.
If there has been a significant drop in conversions or a high bounce rate when using a particular device or browser, you can test this page to understand what is causing the high bounce rate or low conversions and then implement a fix. As a best practice and to save time, you can set criteria as part of a monthly report to help monitor activity.
PageSpeed Insights is a valuable tool to see how fast your page loads and whether it meets Google’s criteria. This tool also gives results on how your website performs for the new algorithm update due in May 2021.
I’ve completed my website QA, what else can I do to make it better?
After completing website QA and it’s performing well, you should run an SEO audit. A full SEO audit will help highlight any gaps or errors on your website that are preventing you from ranking on the first page of search engines.
If you haven’t updated your web design in over five years, you may notice that your website needs more fixes or doesn’t represent your business as it should. If you are looking for a new web design, speak to us to see how we can help.