When we talk about “website quality assurance,” it is usually in regards to the checklists of items and steps which go into creating a functional website before it gets launched: code standards, authoring tools, validation methods... But what a lot of people don’t realize is that website quality assurance is NOT over after you launch. Quality assurance is something which should be happening on a constant basis. As Mike Rastiello at Business2Community points out:
QA and testing is never over. If you update a link on your site, or change content or make any changes to the site you need to test them. Click on every link. Make sure every image shows up.
Website Quality Assurance and Online Marketing
We get it. After your website is launched, you want to focus on marketing so you can get those leads and turn them into sales. But the truth is that you cannot have online marketing without regular quality assurance tests of your website.
Keeping up on website quality assurance can mean a big difference between a dazzling conversion rate and a high bounce rate.
How fast is your website responding for mobile viewers?
Are your visitors getting 404 Error messages from broken links?
Is your contact info wrong on a critical page, meaning leads can’t even get in touch?
Remember, a good online marketing strategy (whether it is SEO, SEM, PPC, email…) always factors in how real leads view and use your site. Having tons of traffic isn’t going to do diddly squat if leads can’t sign up because of a broken link.
How Often Should You Test Website Quality Assurance?
Of course, this is going to vary depending on the size and nature of your website. However, a good rule of thumb is to check website quality assurance once per week. This will allow you to catch any pertinent issues, such as broken links or missing H1 tags, before they take a big toll on user experience or affect your SEO.
Which leads us to the problem of how do you check website quality assurance?
Luckily, it is getting a heck of a lot easier to check website quality assurance. There are now tools, Monsido being one of them, which automate the data collection process. With Monsido, the tool scans your website each week (or you can click “scan” at any point) and sends a report to your inbox with any QA issues which need to be fixed. This is a heck of a lot easier than trying to go through every single page of your website and check each link and image individually. Even if you have a really tiny website, manually checking website quality assurance just isn’t possible.
The 8 Website Quality Assurance Factors Which Need to Be Tested
This could be a huge section, and there have been entire books written on website quality assurance factors and testing checklists. However, for most webmasters with small to medium websites which have already launched, there are actually only 8 quality assurance factors which need to be regularly checked to ensure the website is delivering the best possible user experience.
1. Broken Links
One of the worst quality assurance issues you can have on your website is broken links. It might seem harmless to have a broken link here or there. After all, some broken links are bound to happen when an intern changes the URL of a page or an external page you link to disappears. But broken links are NOT harmless. Broken links destroy your website by disappointing visitors and harming your credibility. In some cases, the broken links could also harm your bottom line when the link is to a opt-in page, sales page, or other important page for conversions.
Make sure you never disappoint another visitor by using the Monsido quality assurance tool to check for broken links on your website. The tool makes it incredibly easy on you. Every week, your website will be scanned. If any broken links are found (including image links!), you will be informed of them in the weekly report.
2. Missing or Incorrect Content
If you have a really small website, it might be possible to keep track of what content is on each and every page of the site. But, once your website starts to grow, it becomes difficult to keep track of everything. Are you absolutely sure that your company’s old address and phone number isn’t on any pages? Or what about outdated products or services?
Customers are going to lose all confidence in your business if they find inaccurate information, or if they can’t find certain critical information at all.
An easy way to keep track of content on your website is with the Monsido tool Policies feature. You can set up policies for certain words or phrases and find out exactly which pages they are located on. You can also mark policy violations as Error Finders to find a page which doesn’t contain a word or phrase.
Another feature of the Monsido Web Governance Platform for monitoring content quality is that it will note pages with too-short content. Remember, neither Google nor users like product pages or blog posts with just a few sentences. This feature is a good way to make sure you are delivering enough content to meet users’ needs and stay on top of SEO.
3. Website Speed and Uptime
With the widespread integration of mobile, website speed has become more important than ever. According to a report from Gigaom, a load time of over 1 second on mobile is enough to break a user’s flow. This is disconcerting considering that recent study by Trilibus found most responsive websites take over 4 seconds to load on mobile; 31% of the sites took 8 to 48 seconds to load! And let’s not forget that Google factors in website speed as a ranking factor in both desktop and mobile searches!
So how do you know whether your website is up to speed? The Monsido Uptime Monitor can help with this too. Just open the dashboard and you will be able to see a chart showing your average response time and Uptime Report.
4. Spelling Mistakes
Want to make your business look disreputable? Then leave a bunch of spelling errors all over your website. Think about it. Would you hire a law firm to handle your personal injury case if they couldn’t even spell litigation correctly? Or how about trusting a dentist with your root canal when that dentist is careless enough to misspell enamel on a webpage?
Content management systems do an okay job of picking up on spelling errors, but they simply aren’t designed for that task. Monsido has a spell check feature which scans through every single word on your website for spelling errors. You can customize the dictionary to include words specific to your industry.
5. Missing Meta Data, H1 Tags, and Title Tags
This information usually isn’t considered part of website quality assurance, but rather a SEO factor. However, in this case, the SEO factors do affect QA. As talked about in our post about Title Tags and H1 Tags, Title Tag and Meta Description (which are shown in the search results and social media shares) tell the user they have found a relevant page which meets their needs. The H1 Tag (which appears on the webpage) then reassures the user that the page is relevant while introducing the content to them.
If you are missing any of this information, you aren’t going to be delivering the best quality experience for your users, and will also have a low CTR (which affects SEO). The Monsido tool scans your website and alerts you if you have any missing Meta Data, H1 Tags, and Title Tags. It also alerts you to duplicate Tags so you can reduce errors and confusion.
6. Missing Image ALT Tags
ALT tags, also called ALT text, are lines of text which describe the images on your website. If an image fails to render for some reason, then the ALT text will display instead. ALT tags are generally talked about for their importance to SEO, but they are also an important part of website quality assurance. Should your images fail to render (such as if users have images disabled or the user is vision impaired), you don’t want a line of text reading something like img2930582.jpg to show up and break the flow.
When the Monsido Web Governance Platform scans your website, it will find any images which are missing ALT tags so you can quickly fix this serious issue.
7. File Optimization
With the Monsido file overview tool, you can get an immediate overview of every single file on your website. The files are broken down by type and can be easily browsed through so you know what is there and can keep things clean, organized, and up-to-date. You can also check your website policy documents and make sure they are in compliance with your overall website strategy.
8. Contact Info Is Available and Correct
The final website quality assurance factor in the checklist is that your contact info is available and correct. You’d be surprised how many small business websites forget the vital step of putting their phone number of address on their website (smallbusinesses.com suggests that 60% of SMB don’t have their phone number on their home pages!). You do want leads to contact you, right?
This problem can easily be avoided and fixed by using the Monsido Policies feature to do an “Error Finder.” You simply type in your phrase (such as an email, address, or phone number). The Monsido tool will then scan all your web pages and mark each page which doesn’t contain the phrase. Solve the website quality assurance problem by adding your contact info and never miss out on a lead again.