Website Testing for Errors

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Testing live Website rollouts for errors

I feel very lucky early in my career to have reported to someone who had terrific attention to detail. Between that experience and each following position, I’ve learned that maintaining strong attention to detail for live Website project rollouts can make a big difference in growing customers.

Whether I’m an individual contributor or running marketing teams at a company, it is important to have processes to not only test projects for errors but get them fixed before they impact customers.

It is easy for what seem like small Website errors to make a large impact. Just one issue that makes a notable impact on a visitor could lead to a bounce or unsubscribe. If one issue doesn’t make a visitor bounce, it may be two or more combined Website problems that lead to lost customers.

Here are a number of techniques I use to test Website projects for errors:

  1. If there isn’t time to test new projects, ask for help from your team or other teams. It is ideal that one or more people can test projects, planning enough time to also get errors fixed.
  2. Do a spell check and proofread for phrasing issues on all projects. One or more spelling errors can quickly make a page seem unimportant.
  3. Before a project goes live, check for issues on dev servers. If QA teams are instead tasked with testing, create precise test specs and also do tests with QA team members at random to ensure nothing will be overlooked. Check in early on QA tests and provide any training needed to help QA testers effectively find any issues you would normally locate.
  4. When a campaign or new Website section rolls out, test just after go live on mobile devices, PC, Mac, and the current top 5 most popular Web browsers.
  5. Plan Website project rollouts for days and at times there are teams available to fix any surprise live issues.
  6. Check back on live projects hours after go live to see if new issues came up on servers. Sometimes a project rolls out fine initially but in the staging process another server has issues.
  7. Do page speed tests to see if there are code improvements needed.
  8. Look through live pages objectively to find issues customers would see.
  9. Check Web analytics in hours and coming days for key insights to make next decisions.
  10. Always remember to test forms in the sales funnel, ensuring they function correctly.
  11. Remember there are thousands of working parts on a Website. New projects of any size have the capacity to work well with other pages or need enhancement to roll deeper as part of the site.
  12. If there aren’t errors to fix from testing, it is time to brainstorm next project ideas to work with this project or coming campaigns.

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Four Techniques to Help Succeed When Launching Projects Online

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Tips to help succeed when launching projects online

Launching new projects live on a Website can be exciting. It is easy to imagine how immediate the results can be and then get surprised after launch that things were better or different than you hoped. Here are four techniques to help succeed when launching projects online.

Test New Projects With Paid Ads

Paid ads through your SEM program can speed up tests for new functionality. You can basically turn on the faucet with text or banner ads and within hours or days have enough data to make next decisions. Some good examples where to place paid ads are through Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. If budget is low you could consider SEO, content, social media, and email marketing to choose from. If there are significant SERP rankings already as well as a social media audience, data can build faster without increasing ad spend.

It Helps to Test and Just Get Started!

Quite often, a new project that eventually will work (or won’t work without edits) may take longer than expected to launch. Reasons may be that it is more complex than expected, stakeholders need to be involved for more meetings, or team members are too busy on other projects. While these are all real reasons a project may get delayed, there are many projects worth getting something moving faster (whether just pushing live or using A/B testing). Since there will usually be unexpected insights learned from a new project, some data will be accrued when the project is ready to launch in full. This can help when you need to make course corrections, and ultimately mean building more successful projects.

When in Doubt, Start Small

If you’re worried a project may waste ad spend or get SEO rankings penalized, start small with less pages, a small section, or a site that isn’t important.

Experience Can Save a TON of Time

If you’ve been rolling out projects in different verticals and monitoring metrics closely, you can work on building a stronger foundation based on real experience. With more types of projects you roll out and industries you work in, you can start to notice trends, similarities, and differences.

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