Pre-Launch Testing for WordPress: The Devil is in the Details

You have spent several months having an agency create a WordPress website for you, and it is almost time to launch. More than likely your eagerness is very high to get your fantastic site out to the public. Before you do so, it will serve you well to take the time to go over the site with a fine-tooth comb with a pre-launch testing procedure. It is much harder to correct any issues once the site is live. Below are some points to consider as you are about to launch.

Double-check page content

First of all, did you make sure that all site content has been created and there are no placeholders remaining? Take a few moments to look at every single page on the site, no matter how many times you feel you have done so. Are there paragraphs that begin with Loren Ipsum? Are there images that consist of a box with “Upload image here” as the text? Does every menu item have a corresponding page? All too often in the haste to launch these seemingly glaring issues are overlooked, and nothing screams “poor attention to detail” like the modern equivalent of a “Page Under Construction” graphic. On a similar note, be sure to use a broken link detection tool to make sure all external links are still going to a valid URL.

Test Forms and Emails

Another thing to review are all forms and emails on the site. Test every contact form in all possible permutations to make sure corresponding emails are being sent to the correct place. Few things upset people more than the perception of being ignored, which is exactly what will happen when a customer submits a contact form that generates an email that goes to a spam folder that is never checked. Also, make sure emails look presentable and don’t contain any placeholder images or text.

Designate Someone Knowledgeable as Lead Tester

We have often seen clients designate someone who will never interact with the site as a lead tester. This person may have good intentions, but will likely miss important details that they are unfamiliar with. It is very important to choose the person who will spend the greatest amount of time on the site. A person well-versed in policy and procedures who will spend 8 hours a day on the site will certainly discover flaws that a person who will hardly see the site won’t.

Formalize Documentation Procedures

We all know that we are significantly more likely to remember something if we write it down. The lead tester should come up with a formal bug tracking procedure, even if it as simple as a spreadsheet. Simply mentioning that “Form X should have extra options in field Y” in a meeting is not nearly as useful as writing it down in a place everyone will look. Similarly, be as detailed as possible in your findings as the developer may not be familiar with your business and likely won’t make the same assumptions as you.

Developing a great website is a team effort that is incredibly detail-oriented. Hundreds of hours of difficult work can be compromised by some very trivial oversights. Establishing a comprehensive internal pre-launch audit of the site with the most qualified inspectors will reap huge rewards at launch time.

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