It’s a competitive world out there on the web. You need to make sure you’ve got everything working in your favour to win customers.
There’s nothing like broken links, faulty shopping baskets and slow screens to turn people off – literally.
So it makes sense to constantly re-look at your site to make sure it’s working as well as possible.
You can see your site as it’s meant to be. But not everyone views your site using the same set-up.
Different operating systems like Windows 7 or MAC OS and different internet browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome – mean other people might not be seeing the same thing you are.
So, install some extra browsers on your computer and ask friends with different operating systems to check your site runs well for them too.
Basically, you need to make sure that your site works across the board – even on mobiles and iPads if you’re expecting loads of traffic from people on the move.
What’s the point of having great colours and images all over your site if not everyone can see them?
So, check that other people are seeing what you are by experimenting with your screen settings.
If you’re not sure how to do this consult your operating guide. Then see how things look when you do the following:
Play around with the contrast (just like on a TV)
Print your images out in black and white
Alter the resolution on your screen – going from minimum to maximum
And, if you know your way around a computer you could also use things like the Web Developer Toolbar you’ll find with Firefox
5 seconds – that’s how long, on average, people will hang around waiting for your site to appear (or load).
So, make sure your site isn’t weighed down with content that’s going to take ages to load – and that new material you add doesn’t slow your site down either.
Here are some websites that will help you check if you’re up to speed:
To find out how long it takes your site to load:
To compare how long it takes your site to load against your competitors: http://whichloadsfaster.com/
Links are vital in directing people to your site and increasing your rankings in search engines. So make sure your links are all working properly.
If you’ve used Dreamweaver or HomeSite to build your site then there may be a feature which highlights broken links in the HTML Editor.
However, the only sure-fire way to check if links are going to and from the right places is to check them manually yourself. It’s a good idea to do the same for your downloads and make sure all the right files are downloading in the right way.
People get things wrong on the internet – especially the name of your site. So give them a bit of leeway.
Do a bit of research to double check and discover what the most common spelling mistakes are (for instance, try hitting the keys surrounding letters in your domain name, like ‘D’ instead of ‘S’).
You can then allow for these errors by buying similar domain names and redirecting them to your correct site. That way, even when people do make mistakes, they can still find their way to you.
You’ve got an average of 5 seconds to grab the attention of a new visitor to your site. If you haven’t got them by then, they’ll move on.
So, how do you check the impression your site is making? Remember your own opinion and that of your friends and family may not be completely unbiased.
Here are two simple and effective ways:
http://fivesecondtest.com gives you unbiased feedback from random volunteers who view your site for 5 seconds.
Google Web Optimizer lets you test for free how changes to your website design affect the number of people visiting your site and becoming customers.
It pays to keep checking your website. Finding and rectifying faults quickly shows you’re professional, responsive and focused on a good customer experience.