You’ve prepared all your content and put together your best site yet. Think you’re ready to deploy? Not so fast — there are important tests to run after any significant update to a web page. Without them, your visitors may not be able to navigate your site, might choose a competitor over you or worse — might not find you at all.
Before you call the site finished, give yourself the best chance at success by running your page through these five tools to assess performance in the following areas:
Mobile devices come in a massive variety of sizes, capabilities and screen aspect ratios, and it’s simply not feasible to build something specifically for each one. That’s where testing for mobile-friendliness comes in: The testing is easily accomplished with tools like MobileTest.me.
You’ll be able to load your chosen website and see how well it adapts to some of the most popular devices out there — or doesn’t. Navigate around your site from there and you’ll be able to quickly isolate common culprits of poor usability like perilously overlapping elements, pop-ups and items too small to read on reduced screen sizes.
If you’re running Chrome, access developer tools by pressing F12. You can also easily turn the mobile emulation on and off as you browse.
Need more than a few simple tweaks? Lots of approaches are out there, from responsive design to mobile-specific apps, so take a moment to consider what’s best for your site — don’t miss out on all that mobile traffic.
Everyone’s in a rush, with more to do than there are hours in the day. If your site doesn’t load fast enough, visitors will simply move on to the next one. Don’t make the mistake of building a site with rich content that only loads when cached or on great connections — run it through some tests like WebPagetest.org.
Load your site while emulating different browsers from different access points in order to see how it’s graded across a number of metrics — like how well your images are compressed or whether some requests should be cached.
Armed with a better understanding of what components are spiking those load times, you can quickly get to work fixing them. If you need a place to start, try Google’s recommendations for performance optimization.
HTML standards exist to ensure a consistent experience across all devices’ browsers, but more often than not, pages will have messy code. It is then up to each browser to interpret the instructions according to their individual rules. This process renders sites differently on different browsers, which is why markup validation is essential.
Make sure to run your site through W3.org’s Markup Validator tool to get a detailed list of all your HTML errors, including everything you need to clean up in that code to ensure your page always looks exactly like you intend it to, no matter the browser.
Even the most beautiful, elegantly designed site is rendered worthless if no one can find it. If your SEO doesn’t bring your page rankings to the top of search engine results, how will people discover your offering when searching for related products?
Grade My Website is a tool that allows you to see how well your SEO is optimized for specific keywords, ranking your page out of a possible 100 points. Make sure to know what keywords you want your visitors to find you for and you’ll have everything you need to start optimizing that discovery, whether you choose to tackle it yourself or go with internet marketing services.
Screen readers and other assistive technology have made it possible for users with disabilities like poor vision or motor impairment to browse the internet with relative ease — if pages take accessibility into account.
Don’t alienate those visitors with code issues and design mistakes that make it impossible for them to navigate your site — run your site through something like the WAVE Web Accessibility Tool regularly. You’ll be able to spot elements responsible for poor accessibility at a glance through their color-coded overlays. Each provides links with more information on the potential issues caused by the item and how it can be addressed.
More often than not, these are things that can be easily changed with simple tweaks. The more you consider accessibility, the more you’ll be able to foresee issues and address them early in the design phase.
Feeling a little daunted by everything you need to do? Remember to check the latest guides for best web practices and take the process step by step. If the complexity of your content or design gives you too many accessibility or performance issues, tone it down.
Keep your focus where it needs to be — getting your content out to as many of your targeted visitors as possible. Make sure you take all the precautions above, and you’ll get started the right way.