Websites can make or break a business that depends on the Internet in any way for sales. It is important that businesses make it a point to check their websites often to ensure everything is running smoothly. If the site isn’t running well, you could lose a sale and/or a potential long-term costumer.
Site Errors in Google Webmaster Tools
All websites should be set up in Google Webmaster Tools. Here is why:
In Google Webmaster Tools you can look at “Health” and then “Crawl Errors.” In this area you can see if your site has had any downtime that Google picked up as a result of DNS or server connectivity errors.
This is important information for you because if your site is consistently having crawl errors it could affect how your site ranks, but more importantly when your site is down or not working – you are not making money. Checking crawl errors is really important when you are paying for cheap hosting. Sometimes you never know what kind of service you are actually getting.
Links and Navigation
Most sites have links in sidebars, headers, footers and throughout the pages. Some of those links push site visitors to make a sale and you want to make sure all of your links are working properly. Do random checks to make sure everything is working, especiallywhen you have employees updating the site often.
Navigation is also important to check often:
- Are your drop-downs working?
- How do they work on mobile devices?
- Are all the tabs taking to you to the right pages?
Sometimes when there are updates to CMS platforms or servers, things on a website break. Always make sure that the areas you need working properly to make a sale are, in fact, working.
Contact Forms and Email
One common problem we see are contact forms that are not working properly for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the contact form will let you know when someone hits “submit” that they are not working. But others will look as though the message was sent. When potential customers don’t get a reply, they move on to another company.
Sometimes contact forms entries make it to the right email address, but they end up in Spam on a consistent basis. These are issues that can be fixed. Find any errors and fix them. Keep in mind that things may be working well now, but they may not next week so testing your forms is a good idea.
Tip for Business Owners: When you are testing out contact forms, sometimes it is a good idea to use a different email and see how long it takes for your staff to reply. You can also see if their responses are appropriate.
Performance on Mobile Devices
Things to check on mobile devices:
- Navigation: How easy or hard is it to use on mobile?
- Links: Are they easy to see and use?
- Contact Forms: Make sure they function correctly.
- Phone Numbers: Can people see them? Can they click to call on a mobile device?
- Downloadable Items: Do they open on mobile devices?
- Logins for Payments or Clients
- Page Loading: Do the pages load? Do they look right? Can users read your content?
- Email Links: Do they work?
- Apps, Plugins, Modules or Scripts: Is everything functioning as it should?
Remember that mobile software changes consistently so checking various parts of your website often is the smart thing to do.
I know it sounds obvious, but it is important that you check your main pages often:
- How do they look?
- Are the pages running slow?
- Do you see any script errors?
When websites are being updated often it is critical to check and re-check the pages often. Someone could upload an image that is too big and mess up the look of the site and/or slow down the load time. Someone could add a script that is not working or upload a plugin in WordPress that messes up content in some way.
Check your pages often and make sure you check all critical pages after updates just to ensure all is well.
Five Critical Areas
The five areas I have mentioned are really important to review and review often. These are basic parts of your site that need to work well to make a sale and bring in new clients. Businesses spend a lot of time and money to have a website.
Spending a little time making sure it is working is required to ensure your website represents your company well and to also make sure the site is making you money.