Manually navigate through your site and click every link you
find both in the menus and in the content.
This manual 'hands-on' approach has the added advantage that you
are forced to view every page on your site and that might reveal
issue or bug (e.g. a broken image in some page content).
However, websites with hundreds or thousands of pages can be
impractical to scan manually, so the other approach
There are some great link-checker add-ons for web browsers that
quickly highlight broken links on the page you are viewing.
Or, broader solutions like Google's Webmaster Tools provide
error reporting on broken links/pages across your entire
Review organic search listings
Your listings in a search engine like Google are often the first
engagement your visitor will have with your website and brand.
Check the title and description of your page listing in the search
results. Are there spelling mistakes or grammatical errors? Does the
description/title of the search result match the page content behind
it? A cool feature in Google is to use the "site:" string in your
search to show only results for a specific domain (so for example
searching Google for "site:webbuildersgroup.com" will only show
pages indexed on webbuildersgroup.com).
This makes it easy to see all indexed pages for your site.
Inversely, sometimes certain confidential information is intended to
be private (i.e. for administrators only) and should not be found in
Google. Use the “site:” test to confirm those pages or files are not
available to the public.
Review error logs
Most web servers include a log file that stores error messages over
time. Reviewing these log files can provide important insight into
issues with your site. If you're not a techy person, it can be
tricky to understand some of the messages in the log file (or even
find out where the log file is). If you are not familiar where the
logs are stored, ask your hosting provider. Or, you can invest in
some user-friendly error reporting.
Most modern Content Management Systems can be configured to send an
email with a detailed report when an error happens. You don't
necessarily need to understand the error message, just that an error
happened and it may warrant some follow-up.
Review crawl errors
If you need your website to be found in search results,
understanding potential barriers to being listed is critical. Google
Webmaster Tools is a great tool that will provide insight into
issues preventing you from being found. Search engine ranking and
indexing metrics constantly change. Reviewing crawl errors on a
regular basis is a healthy exercise to help keep your site listed in
Test contact information
If you're sharing ways to be contacted (email, phone, mailing
address, etc) then make sure they work! Not everyone has a contact
form (if you do, it should be on your list of things to test) but at
the very least, most people share an email or phone number on their
site. Make sure this information is current and that it works.
Test in various web browsers and devices
Your visitors do not all use the same program to browse the web. For
example, some use Internet Explorer or Firefox on a desktop
computer, others use Safari or Chrome on a mobile device or tablet.
You want to make sure your website appears correctly, or at the very
least is visible and functional on all browsers. You can download a
collection of popular browsers on your computer for free and test
with these. Or look to colleagues, friends, and family to load your
website on their mobile phone or tablet.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) offers a free validation tool
that checks for errors in your web code. This is another test that
can be tricky for non-techy persons to understand (what the errors
mean), but at the very least you can get some insight into whether
your validation errors are increasing or decreasing, which may
indicate the need to look further.
This is something that can be done manually, or with the help of a
tool (such as a browser add-on).
Accessibility is an extremely broad topic in that it includes people
with and without disabilities. The goal is to provide all visitors
with equal access to information and functionality. Step one in
testing for accessibility is understanding the types of visitors you
want to accommodate. For example, if you want your site to be easily
accessible for the blind, you can use a text-to-speech program just
as they would.
Your partner is online
Whatever you need onsite, we'll help you get it done.