It’s hard to find a business nowadays that doesn’t have a website. At the very minimum, businesses at least showcase their operating hours, basic information, and social media on their website. However, a lot of businesses still aren’t paying attention to optimization, user experience, and usability.
So what are the factors that you should be looking at to ensure that your website works well and is up to current standards?
There are a range of different areas that need to be covered when you’re going through this process, and this article will be exploring them, giving you the tools to start working towards a better online presence for your company.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to any website which is going to be found organically on Google or other search engines. Web developers have to work hard to make sure that search engines can find the websites that they develop, and this can include work in a range of different areas.
Thankfully, while the process of SEO is quite difficult, testing your website to see how well you’re doing isn’t too hard. Google Search Console is a good place to start, though this will require a bit of time before it can give you accurate information about your site.
Alongside this, it also makes sense to put tools like SEObility to use. Their free service will be more than enough for most website owners, providing loads of information which can help you to improve the search rankings of your website. Without this, it will be hard to tell how well your site is going.
Speed & Loading Times
Loading times are crucial to a modern site, with users getting bored after just a couple of seconds of waiting. Websites like GXMetrix can help with this, giving you loads of information which will tell you how well your site is performing. There are a number of different factors that can change this.
- Your Host: The company hosting your website will influence its speeds massively, and it’s worth looking for one which will be able to serve your site to users across the world. SiteGround has built a good name for itself for providing very fast hosting to users.
- Your Content: The images, videos, and even code which builds your website can also have an impact on loading times. Tools like Cloudflare provide a simple way to improve this, though it will also be worth making sure that everything being displayed by your site is as small as possible.
- Your Platform: WordPress is by far the most popular website platform on the web, with over a third of websites being made with it. Thankfully, it is nice and fast, though its competitors can’t always provide the same level of service, and this is worth looking into before you start building.
No one likes the idea of their content being used for free on other websites, and this includes text, images, and videos. If someone finds that you’ve taken their content without permission, they can report you to services like Google, making it harder for people to find your website in the future.
Thankfully, there are loads of websites on the web which can scan your website for copyscape. This will rarely be definitive, and it can be hard to ensure that you have permission to use everything when you’re publishing content online. Most free images and text will require credits wherever you’re using them, and may even want you to show off the type of license you’re using.
There are a couple of ways to get around breaking copyright law; buying everything you use or making it yourself. Both of these will take time and effort but are well worth it when you want your pages to stand out for the right reasons.
Usability & User Experience
Finally, as possibly the most crucial element of your testing, it’s time to think about the experience users have when they start using your website. This is crucial to your site’s success, and a lot of companies ignore this area, making it worth spending plenty of time thinking about it.
You can handle part of this yourself, with surveys on the site itself asking users how much they like it. This can also be done before a site launches, with a lot of companies offering website testing services with large groups of normal users. Of course, though, this won’t give you a huge amount of information, and a lot of websites can benefit from going deeper.
Tree testing is one of the best ways to handle this. Users will be given a plain-text version of your site map and will be given time to figure out how the overall site works based on this information. This can prove to be invaluable, giving you the chance to use the information to make a site that people respond to very well.
Websites like Capturly can also be useful during this process, giving you real-time videos of people using your website. This will show which pages they’ve used, where they’ve clicked, and at what point they left.
Testing websites have never been more crucial. With more and more of these platforms popping up, there are always going to be examples that are better than others, and you need to work hard to be on the good side of this distinction. Of course, though, this isn’t an easy process.
If you’re finding it hard to test your website, it could be worth talking to your developer. They should be able to provide reports for each of the areas covered in this post, and many will be happy to do this for free. It’s not worth paying a huge amount for them, but having these reports can make life a lot easier, with many sites online finding their feet once they’ve been properly tested.