Making Your Online Presence Bug Free

bug free online presence

The experts tell you that your business needs an online presence in today’s world. Without a website or apps, it’s hard to boost a small business’s visibility and brand or market to customers.

But if you’re like many small business owners, you’re afraid to take the plunge. You’ve heard that almost all websites and apps have bugs, and you’re no software expert. How will you identify potential problems and get them fixed before they turn off your customers?

For a small business owner who hasn’t got a lot of software skills or a ton of money to identify potential online problems, a great option is a young company called MyCrowd QA. For around $100, MyCrowd will look at your online presence and send you a list of your bugs in about an hour.

The upside is large. Bug free apps and websites will boost your company’s visibility, build your brand and help you sell directly to customers. Bug-filled versions will hurt your brand and drive away customers.

Do the math. Encountering a bug drives up customer online quit rates by 40 percent, research shows. So if you are building an online presence to reach 1,000 new customers, $100 spent to identify problems costs you $0.25 per potential customer. If your online presence is designed to reach 10,000 potential buyers, the cost of identifying customer-deterring problems just dropped to 2.5 cents a customer.

To show you how MyCrowd can help you, I signed up — with Anita Campbell’s permission — for a $100 bug hunt on Small Business Trends’ website.

This was a tough assignment for MyCrowd. Unlike most small companies, Small Business Trends is an online-savvy business. Moreover, the company doesn’t yet have any apps, which are generally buggier than websites.

Nevertheless, my $100 test came up with 18 bugs in 45 minutes. Some of the bugs were tiny, but others were more substantial. Here are four of the bigger, more customer-frustrating ones.

• The quizzes option is broken on an iPhone; clicking on the quiz link does nothing. That’s a problem when the point of a quiz is to encourage customer responses.
bug free Online Presence
• The display that pops up which you click on the quiz privacy link has formatting issues. That’s an issue when your goal is to build trust with the customer.
bug free Online Presence
• The page layout is broken on an iPad, making it difficult to see the whole page. That’s a problem as more users shift from looking at sites on computers to tablets.
bug free Online Presence
• There are display issues viewing the site in portrait on an iPhone. That’s a problem for the increasing number of users who look at sites on their mobile phones rather than computers.
bug free Online Presence
My point is not to criticize Small Business Trends, which I love. In fact, Anita deserves a lot of credit for being brave enough to let me use her site as an example for a bug test. My objective is to show just how important it is for you to bug test your online presence, even if your small business is online savvy.

It’s hard for you to beat a system like MyCrowd on your own, or for less money. MyCrowd finds bugs by setting loose a crowd of over 30,000 contingent workers around the globe who compete to find bugs on your site and with your apps. You can’t do that yourself.

In essence, MyCrowd provides you with “bug insurance.” For a small monthly fee, the company will find bugs in your apps and website before your customers do, ensuring that your online presence boosts your company’s visibility, brand and marketing effort, rather than hinders them.

Image: MyCrowd

Scott Shane Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of nine books, including Fool's Gold: The Truth Behind Angel Investing in America ; Illusions of Entrepreneurship: and The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By.