Thursday, November 1, 2012

You Can't Test Your Entire Website

It's impossible to test every path on your website (unless you have a very small site, of course). So says Seth Godin, the author of the book "The Big Red Fez - How to make any web site better."

The main premise of "The Big Red Fez" is that all business people need to design their websites for the busy, ill-informed, impatient, not very thoughtful person who is interested in clicking on something immediately. Godin seems to be describing the typical software buyer, and the ideas that he presents in his book can help all of us in the software development industry improve our websites.

While there will no doubt be bugs in most web sites, there's no excuse, Godin tells us, for having glitches in the buying process.

We have to make sure that the links to our "buy now" pages are clear, and easy to understand.

The second most important links to test are the links to your product and service pages. Visitors need to be able to reach them. If you've crafted exotic Java-based drop-down menus that the search engines can't figure out, some of your pages won't be indexed, and your traffic will suffer. So be sure that important pages are easy to find by both search engines and human visitors.

Based upon what I hear from my clients, don't neglect the "contact" and "about us" pages either. A remarkably large number of prospects visit these pages before taking out their credit cards.

Even though you cannot test your entire website, don't forget the need to do extensive testing on the key product and "buy now" pages. And be certain that your underlying navigation methodology is sound.

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