The top 5 reasons to test your website
Your website is a window to your business. It represents everything you do – your brand, your culture, your attention to detail. It’s also very often a functional part of your revenue generating infrastructure, especially if your business is partly or wholly e-commerce based.
Whether it’s a brand-new site, or a redevelopment of an existing website, it’s therefore critical that your website is tested as thoroughly as you’d test any piece of software, application or system, before it ever gets exposed to your customers.
Websites are continually evolving, making use of new technologies that offer users rich functionality and more ways than ever to interact with your products and people. They are also becoming more complex, and have to work as well on computer screens as they do on an ever-increasing number of smart devices.
With more and more information being stored on the Cloud, websites are also becoming portals to the world’s repository of information, including academic texts, medical records, legal information and multimedia content, making it imperative that they are built – and remain – highly secure.
But despite all the obvious reasons for testing your website, every website, no matter how complex, needs to be tested at a basic level, to meet a certain level of usability, functionality and compatibility. In essence, the five main reasons to test your website include:
- Ensuring it is usable. Every business will have its own criteria for making its website attractive to its customers, offering specific features its customers are going to use more frequently. It’s important to test your website at every stage to make sure that it’s easy and intuitive to use, and that all the features you want your customers to access are easy to find.
- Ensuring it performs. Every website is hosted on a back-end system responsible for routing and managing traffic to and from the site. If you run a website that offers any type of online sales or payment function, it’s critical that you test how the site – and it’s back-end system – cope with the number of simultaneous customers you want it to be able to handle without slowing down or, worse, crashing to a standstill. You also want to make sure your website pages load quickly. Slow load times are one of the most common reasons customers cite for leaving a website.
- Ensuring it’s compatible. Your customers will be viewing your website on the bus to work, at their desks, from home, in their gardens on a tablet, even on a plane. It’s important that no matter which device your website is accessed from, it looks and performs as well as you need it to. Modern websites often have alternative versions and display modes for different devices, and all of these need to be tested separately and regularly.
- Ensuring it is stable. As your website grows, new functionality is added, and older functionality sometimes gets broken in the process. It’s important that you regularly test your website to make sure new features work as expected without breaking anything else on your system that your customers rely on. Getting an unknown error message or landing on a non-existent page are all too common deal-killers for a business website.
- Ensuring it’s secure. Websites are potential weak-points in your company’s security, giving outside users a way to access very sensitive data about your business and your customers. It’s important that all the proper measures are taken to make your website completely secure against the most common – and less common – external attacks. Make sure your security certificates are always up-to-date, and that your website design follows industry best-practice to limit unsecured access to any business-critical features.