Is Your Website Ready to Serve? The Nitty Gritty on Publishing & Testing
Why Publishing & Testing the Site is Crucial for Anyone.
Here’s How to Do Both.
Well, you’ve been traveling on your journey to building a great website for a while now.
Good news: It’s all downhill from here.
You are almost home.
Are you excited?
Let’s reflect a moment… Along the course of this journey, you made stops at…
- Domain, Hosting, and CMS
- Planning & Research
- Web Design
Now that you have passed each of these stops, your final destination is in site—a finished website. So, there is just one last stop to make before your Website 101 trip is complete.
Okay, technically there are two stops left to make. But they are close enough together to consider them as one. They are Publishing & Testing
Publishing should be first. So let’s start with that.
Publish Your Website
Maybe you have already published your site? For example, if you already have a domain name for your site, it is already published. You may not have realized this, but don’t worry, you can always make changes later on the site, regardless.
If you have not yet published your website, here is how you can with a 3 Step Process:
Step 1 – Look for the Publish button.
Once you hit this button, you normally see a dialog box open up that gives you three choices…
- Search for a domain customized to your website.
- Choose a free domain that includes the host. (For example, RobertRants.blogspot.com or Shinythingsforsale.hostgator.com) These are not always the most professional looking URLs, but they don’t cost anything, so if you cannot budget your own domain, this might work, at least starting out.
- Point your domain to the publisher’s IP address.
Step 2 – Look over your published site.
Woo hoo! Your site is now published!
At this point, anyone who types in your website address into the address bar of their browser will end up on your site. But, remember that your site will not show up in search engine results for a few days. That’s the normal time it takes for search engines like Google or Bing to index your site.
Reminder: If you are interested in learning more about getting your site found on search engines, take some time to go back to section 6.2 SEO for tips and strategies.
Step 3 – Editing Your Published Site
Once you’ve edited, revised and tweaked your site and are ready for them to be displayed, click the “Publish” button so that your desired changes will be updated.
What if I want to take the site down for some reason?
If you wish to unpublish your site from the internet, here are the steps to taking it down:
Go to Site > Publishing > Unpublish Site.
A dialog box will open up asking to confirm if you want to unpublish.
Type “Unpublish” into the text box provided and click “Unpublish site”.
Your site is now unpublished. You can always publish again later if you wish.
Please Make a Note: If your site was published to a subdomain and you unpublish it, your subdomain becomes available to someone else, and could be taken quickly. If you published your site to a domain that you bought through a service like Go Daddy or elsewhere, and you completely own it, you will keep your domain, which can be used again. You will just need to renew it once your purchase agreement has expired.
Testing Your Website
There are many different ways you can go about testing your website once it’s published. You will need to use most of these tests, or all of them, if you are serious about offering a satisfying experience to your visitors and if you want to make as much money as you can through the website.
Because websites that are slow, or timing out, or contain bad links, offering dysfunctional contact forms, faulty shopping carts, or just don’t look right or act right on mobile devices, end up costing you a lot in lost revenue.
Be sure to utilize these 7 tests to help you sleep peacefully at night, knowing your website is running as advertised.
7 Ways to Test Your Website
1. Visit every page in all the major browsers—Many folks are now using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and other lesser known browsers. Not just Internet Explorer. And since each browser can provide different user experiences for the same website, be sure each of these browsers makes your website look good and function strong.
2. Click on all the links to make sure everything works properly – We’ve all experienced the frustration of clicking on a link, only to find out it doesn’t work. This causes visitors to lose trust in your online brand quickly. One bad link can cause some to leave your website forever.
If you are interested, there is a free tool you can us to check all your website links called Online Broken Link Checker
3. Verify the contact form works – If this doesn’t work you lose potential customers, right? Test your contact form from various locations using different browsers to be sure none of your potential conversions get squashed before they even reach you.
4. Do a test purchase if you sell something online – There are two ways to go about testing your online store.
5. Process an Offline Payment Method – This test is advantageous because it doesn’t require the use of a credit card number. Using this method can be a good way to test your shipping calculations, tax settings, shipping methods, and promo codes.
6. Use an Online Payment Method –Logically, this is a good way to learn how your credit card processing service is working. Disadvantage? A real credit card must be used.
7. Subscribe to your own newsletter – You have worked really hard to put together an incredible mailing list. Lots of people (Hundreds? Thousands? Millions?) subscribed. One day, you send out what you know in your heart was the best newsletter you ever created. You can’t wait to see the response… But, hours later, there is no response. Thinking your newsletter bombed, your spouse mentions that they didn’t get the newsletter… After digging into the situation, you find that nobody got the newsletter.
Testing your newsletter can prevent these types of scenarios.
Create various accounts, like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. to use as testers. Be sure to test the newsletter’s look and functionality with tablets and mobile devices.
1. Check your site on mobile devices and tablets
Speaking of mobile devices and tablets, you need to test your website’s look and feel thru these specifically. The number of people using desktop computers and laptops is shrinking year by year. Not adapting to this change could be devastating to your website success.
2. Make testing your website a routine matter of importance.
One of the most sickening feelings a website entrepreneur can feel is when she or he is told by a customer that their website has a glitch of some sort or is down completely.
Routine testing will help you avoid that painful experience. Developing a scheduled testing of your site will also help your business stay profitable.
Become a Tester
Neglecting website maintenance is like doing no maintenance on your car for a year, then taking it on a two thousand mile trip, and expecting no problems.
Don’t. Do. That.