In our previous post, we looked into the development stage of building a website and how a design is transposed into a working functional site.

In this article we will be looking at the testing stage of the web development process. Testing is an essential part of any kind of development to ensure the end users are given the best experience possible.

How does one test a website?

There are many ways to go about testing and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Much like programming, there’s more than one path to a solution. With testing it is a never ending process. With each and every new update to software and devices, there is a chance something could go wrong or break. However, all is not lost! With thorough testing, you can eliminate the most common obvious and problematic bugs.

Here are some common Quality Assurance tests that we conduct at Fireworks Websites:

Link checking – It is important that a brand spanking new website doesn’t have any broken links! It would be embarrassing if visitors click on a link just to be led to an Error 404 page.

Image sizes – There is a tendency in web development to be lazy and upload raw images to websites without first being checked that there are the correct resolution and file size. Uncompressed images will make the page take longer to load and will dramatically reduce browsing experience. Make sure images have been correctly resized and compressed before uploading them to the site!

Redirections – Redesigned websites often contain new pages or updated existing pages. It is important that nothing is lost during the transition from the old site to the new (otherwise the site could lose some of its pagerank that it has built up). Make sure existing pages are redirected to the new site to avoid those Error 404s.

website redirects

Development mode and SEO – During development it is important to avoid the public accidentally landing on your unfinished site and thus many CMS have a development mode and/or search engine robot blocking module to prevent this from happening. However, once the site is ready to go live, it’s time to disable development mode and allow the search engines to crawl through the site to be indexed.

Favicon – Although not extremely important, having a favicon is a nice touch and is much more professional. It also allows users to easily find your website in amongst all their other open tabs.

Proofreading every page – Not many people like doing proofreading, but it has to be done to avoid embarrassment and an unprofessional look of your website and business. Take some time to proofread over your content, you’ll be glad you did.

proofreading website content

Speed test – It’s important to make sure your site performs as well as how it looks. Visitors will get bored and frustrated very quickly if your site’s pages and features load slowly. There are many tools on the internet such as Pingdom to test the speed and responsiveness of your website.

Form and validation tests – Making sure all forms work is important. You want visitors to be able to contact you without fuss but you also want visitors to fill in their proper information as well! Testing that forms provide the information you want, the way you want it (called validation) and if they submit successfully is important.

Test responsiveness – Making sure that a web page loads properly on all browsers and devices is imperative these days. Website’s have to respond accordingly to the device they’re being viewed on. To test if your website passes Google’s Mobile friendly test, click here.

Wrapping it up

There’s still plenty of ways to test your website using various online tools plus manually checking on multiple devices. You can never iron out 100% of all the bugs as technology is continuously evolving but you can do so much to ensure a majority of users are covered.

Although not mentioned in this article, maintenance is also an important part of keeping a website up to date. We will look into more detail about the final process of web development in the final part of this series: finalisation/completion of a website.