Before your eCommerce website goes live, you should always try to break it. After months of development, it might seem counterintuitive to attempt to tear down what you’ve been working hard on, but it’s one step you should never avoid.
If you succeed in breaking your website, then you have exposed a vulnerability that could have cost you valuable sales. And if you are unable to break it, you can be confident that your customers won’t be able to break it either.
In any online environment, broken websites ruin customer experiences. If your blog breaks down, you might not be able to serve a valuable snippet of insight to an interested reader. And if your eCommerce site breaks, you could lose an untold volume of sales. Broken eCommerce websites also damage your reputation and could lead to negative reviews which follow your company around for years to come.
The best way to avoid this common pitfall is with rigorous testing on mobile and desktop. In this blog, we are going to look at some of the best ways to test your site for these all-too-common errors.
How to test an eCommerce website
Every eCommerce website test should start with a plan. We recommend including the following tasks in your plan:
- Test server performance
- Check loading speeds
- Check browser compatibility
- Look for broken links
- Check mobile-friendliness
- Implement user testing
Tools to test an eCommerce website
Server speed and loading time
You need to know that your server is up to the task, so testing and loading speed monitoring are vital. These tools will help you to determine if your site is up to scratch.
Google Pagespeed Insights: This free testing tool will show you how quickly individuals pages load and what you need to do to improve performance.
Pingdom: Another site speed that will offer detailed insight into your server loading times. You can also load your site from different locations to bring extra insight. Free, with paid plans available for ongoing support starting at £11 per month.
Check browser compatibility
Backward compatibility is a key issue when building websites. Make sure your site doesn’t fall short of the mark by testing it on multiple devices and browsers. Even the ones you are convinced that no one uses anymore.
Browserstack: See how your website loads in any browser and identify any scripting errors that hurt your site. From $39 per month.
Screenfly: See your site on different screen signs to spot issues with your content.
Look for broken links
Broken links will ruin the user experience and could cost you sales. They are also unpopular with Google. You can identify dead ends on your website using the following tools and plugins.
Screaming Frog: Use this website crawling tool to identify links to result in a 404. Regular audits will help to maintain your website health. Free to crawl up to 500 pages.
Broken Link Checker: This Chrome plugin will work right from your browser to help you identify broken links on individual pages. Free.
Make your site accessible on all devices using these mobile testing tools.
Mobile-Friendly Test Tool: Simply enter your URL to get recommendations on how you can improve the user experience on mobile.
mobiReady: This free tool will help you to see how your site performs on mobile and will expose any potential issues.
Implement user testing
Once you know that your website is functional and is ready for visitors, you should think about ongoing user-testing. This will allow you to understand the user experience and how you can make improvements to drive more sales.
HotJar: Understand how users interact with your site using anonymous data. A free account will allow you to see heat maps and visitor recordings. You can also use this to add feedback forms to your site. Starts at €39 per month.
UserTesting: If you want insight into how real people interact with your site, this site can help you to gather insight. You provide a set of instructions for testers to complete and get audio feedback with screen capture as the testers navigate your site.