It’s that phone call that no one wants to get. Out of the blue, someone that you barely even remember meeting after a long night on the town, calls to tell you those 5 dreaded words: “You need to get tested.” Your heart sinks and you start to panic. You think aloud, “What am I going to do, and how am I going to explain this? I barely even know this person!” Yes, you were at a Networking event a few weeks ago. Yes, you saw an attractive person on the other side of the room and decided to hand out your business card to them. Yes, they took a look at your website on a device that you thought was no longer in use and… it looks terrible and doesn’t function properly. Well, don’t worry, we at BuzzTown Marketing are here to help you cope through this hard time and will help you test your website to see where the problem may exist. The following are the 5 tests that you should run your website through to ensure that it is healthy enough to be passed around the entire town!
Test #1: Is your website Mobile Optimized?
There are several reasons to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices. Whether you have a separate mobile version of your site, or you have a responsive design (where the website adjusts depending on the size of the browser), mobile has taken over and most of your customers are likely visiting your site on a mobile device. One reason is to make it easier on the person viewing your site. Forcing someone to zoom in to read the text on your page, or struggle to click a tiny button will chase your customers away. Don’t be that company.
Another reason to optimize your site is that Google will love you just a bit more. As Google has previously stated, beginning in April of 2015, this is now used as a ranking signal. Ranking better in Google searches should be reason enough to add a mobile version or get a new responsive website.
Just like having a website that is mobile optimized, Google also uses Page Speed as a ranking signal. No one likes a slow website. A study through Akamai has shown that 40% of people will leave your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. 3 friggin’ seconds! That is all the time that you have to send your masterpiece through the air, up to space, then back down to earth, and onto a phone that someone is using while waiting outside of a changing room at a mall. So, check your site speed to see if you need help with improving your site speed, or if you’ve already seen the light.
Broken links are frustrating. It pisses your customers off when they are following your links and it leads them down a one way street to a dead end. Grrrr! Google doesn’t appreciate it much either. But, it is super easy to test for broken links. You can use websites like the Online Broken Link Checker or, if you have signed up for Google’s Search console (formerly Google’s Webmaster Tools), there is a section just for crawl errors that show you bad links that they have found. So, get tested for Stinky Link Syndrome (I should probably trademark that) today and stop the 404’s!
So, how does your website look on a TV? What about on a mobile device from 4 years ago? What about on Nana’s old Compaq computer? Knowing this is important for the health of your website as you grow. You will want to look appealing on as many devices as possible. To do this, there are several free online tools to see how your website looks based on different browser sizes. There is a real-time way to see how it looks and reacts using a tool called Screenfly or a service called Browsershots that takes a screenshot of your website from several dozen browsers on different platforms. Take advantage of tools like these to make sure Nana can easily read your blog and then call you to tell you that she read it and wishes that you didn’t use the F word so much.
Ok, so now it is time to talk about your insides. You know, the code that makes up your website? Was your web guy sloppy, doing lines of code off of a hookers a$$ in a backroom during the Christmas party, or do angels sing anytime someone views your magnificent code? Well, let’s put it to the test to make sure that all browsers will love it and display it the way that they are supposed to (even then it doesn’t always work that way. We’re looking at you, Microsoft). There is an organization called the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C for short) that develops standards for the web. They have multiple validators that can test for HTML and also CSS. We recommend testing your site using both. Test both and take the results to your web guy to make sure that any errors found can be fixed. Yeah, I know, I am still chuckling at the “lines of code” sentence as well.
Langdon Siggelkow (rhymes with Giggle Show) is the Founder and Mayor of BuzzTown. A website designer and developer since 1996, Langdon has no problem typing this in the third person so that it seems like someone else is saying great things about him. He was a working Stand Up Comedian for several years and wants to add humor to discussions on creative inbound marketing strategies. Langdon has spoken at several events about using Social Media, Inbound Marketing, and creative ways to be memorable. Connect with Langdon on LinkedIn
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