News

Five things to test before your website goes live

It's easy for mistakes to creep in when you're not process-led. We've put together a checklist of five simple things to ask your WordPress studio before they push your new website live.

News Opinion

So you’ve chosen your web studio, you’ve spent months getting your new site just right and after all your hard work, the traffic you were expecting, well it just isn’t there.

Your website is an important aspect of your brand. The shop window of your business, in a world that is increasingly digital. Your site tells the world what you do, it builds trust between your business and your potential clients and is a valuable mode of communication.

However, after months of working on a site with another agency, we’ve had new clients approach us for help, who’ve seen their traffic fall flat after launch. What’s going on? Here are five reasons we’ve seen why site launches can fail. If you’d prefer the video version of this list, skip to the bottom of the page.

Search engine visibility

It might sound simple, but to be found by new customers you need to be indexed somewhere. Where’s the first place you go to search for a new service? Likely it’s going to be a search engine.

You might think this is pretty obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the number of times we’ve seen this — is your new WordPress site visible to search engines? To check whether your site is, you’ll want to head to Settings > Reading in the left sidebar and have a look at the search engine visibility check box.

Maintain your links

Coming in at number two in our list is links! When you come to launch your new site, have you maintained your old links? If your link structure hasn’t been maintained, it’s important you have redirects in place. Take a look at the diagram below to get a feel for what we mean.

 

It’s worth remembering, that without a redirect, users following old links from other sites, forums, social media etc. could end up with a 4o4 error. Other than poor user experience, bear in mind this might be the first experience people have of your brand. Not a massively positive one is it?

In terms of SEO, putting redirects in place to correctly signal where your content has moved to, allows search engines such as Google and Bing to keep their index up-to-date.

Browser testing

We’ve reached our midway point and something that can easily be overlooked in the development process — we’re talking browser testing. In the last twelve months can you guess what the biggest browser share is worldwide? Yep, you guessed it — Chrome. Not surprising, but with a share of 63%, that means 37% is unaccounted for.

In a studio that is predominantly full of Apple users, it’s worth asking your developers to check that your new site works properly in browsers other than Safari.

Load testing

In case you’re not familiar with the term, load testing is the simple act of measuring how many people can use your site at any one time. If the site is properly configured, that’s probably quite a lot of people! If you operate a news site, it’s wise to ensure your site can operate under huge in-rushes of people. Likewise, if you’re a political commentary site and you see articles go viral, you need to ensure you have measures in place to handle large numbers of concurrent visitors.

Our Standfirst for web product comes with the capability to handle viral content spikes built-in. However, we know this isn’t something automatically considered within the industry. If your developers haven’t thought of this in advance or it was never an original requirement, prepare to see your site struggle when large numbers of people visit your site at once.

Your site and ad blockers

Last on our list, does your site work properly when adblockers are turned on? Numbers vary across the globe, but according to Statista, in 2019 approximately 25.8% of US internet users were using ad blockers. The reasons why can vary, but a 2017 Google report, states that 63% of users installed an adblocker because of too many ads and 48% installed one because of annoying ads.

So where does this leave web developers? Ad blockers or privacy extensions prevent certain types of Java script from running on your site. If your site relies on this, then pretty soon things are going to break. We’d recommend testing your site against ad blockers – install one and see how your site works. Areas to look out for include forms, pop-ups such as newsletter subscriptions and paywalls

The Video Version

Our director, Dave, hosts his own YouTube channel where he talks about all things web, from Paywalls, slow sites and general bugbears. If YouTube discussions on web design and development are your kind of thing, feel free to give the video below a watch and subscribe to his channel.

Need more help?

If something in this post had piqued your interest, or you’ve been experiencing site problems of your own, don’t be shy and contact us. We’d love to chat with you and talk you through the services we offer.