WordPress is and will remain the leading CMS in the web development industry. With 63.1% of CMS market share, the number of WordPress websites will only rise.
Unfortunately, that also means that the number of potential bugs and errors in websites rises too, which can be costly if you don’t know how to locate them.
Mistakes can cost you up to five times more if not detected before the site launches, and one hundred times more if discovered during maintenance! If those figures don’t alarm you about the importance of timely errors uncovered in your WordPress, we don’t know what will.
Testing your website is of paramount importance. It is something that you should not underestimate at any stage of the web development process. That’s why we’ve created this guide to tell you how you can test your WordPress website features like a pro would. Let’s start.
It does not matter whether it’s design or quality assurance. Failing to plan means that you’re planning to fail. It’s as simple as that. Proper planning saves time and prevents failures. It makes your website efficient, safe, and profitable. And most importantly, it allows the team to anticipate and overcome challenges, then fix and optimize where necessary.
The number one thing you must do to begin testing your WordPress site properly is to examine each functionality. Start with the following checklist:
Have you ever noticed the ‘Error establishing database connection’ warning when accessing one of your pages?
This screen appears when your WordPress site can’t connect to its database. To avoid this, you need to ensure that the database has the correct credentials. This can be quickly confirmed by logging into your hosting account and examining the MySQL database’s name, username, and password.
If you’re having issues with the access, you can ask your WordPress hosting provider to verify that your database information is correct.
Test every link on your website to see if they work appropriately and discover if you have any broken links lurking on your site. To uncover any broken outbound links, you can use tools such as SEMRush or Ahrefs.
The buttons on your WordPress website help you add user-focused CTAs and improve the navigation. Make sure that the links on the buttons are clickable and correct, and that the button placement follows the conversion rate optimization of your website.
Start with simple UX checks. First, make sure that the text in the buttons is correct. If the button is only there for a basic function such as ‘Back’ or ‘Submit’, don’t annoy the users by adding anything mysterious or comedic. It must be clear.
On the other hand, when it comes to calls-to-action, service, or landing pages, you need to be succinct, but also, enticing
Next up, make sure that each button is visible. When the users are on your website, the buttons must be recognizable immediately. Do not assume that everything is obvious.
The forms on your website must always function properly, and testing them is the best way to make sure that they do. When checking the functionality of the forms, examine the following:
When approaching website testing, the process wouldn’t be complete without usability testing. After all, users navigate on websites quickly, and the majority of them won’t waste their time in discovering where to click on a given page.
According to Usability.gov, usability testing is defined as:
“evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users. Typically, during a test, participants will try to complete typical tasks while observers watch, listen and take notes. The goal is to identify any usability problems, collect qualitative and quantitative data, and determine the participant’s satisfaction with the product.”
Usability matters because people will go to the next competitive website if yours is not usable enough. Your website can look like a Michelangelo sculpture, but still, users will leave if they can’t navigate it easily.
The plan is the outline of the entire testing process. It defines the tests, how you’ll perform them, how you’ll measure the success of the tests and the number of participants and scenarios that you will use. Accordingly, here’s what the usability testing plan must include:
For the usability test of your WordPress website to be successful, you’ll need participants that best depict your target users. If you provide more than one product/service, you’ll need to recruit users that represent the customers associated with the service.
In lots of cases, recruiting users for testing can be quite simple. If you own a retail website and you need people to check if navigating to the discounts and the best offers is easy, you can recruit people to test it out.
However, testing a SaaS developed on top of WordPress, you need to test it with a sample of potential users that are relevant to the industry.
Consider the requirements that participants need to fulfill so they are relevant to your WordPress project. You need experienced users that have used sites similar to yours, and that need the service/product that you provide.
An industry expert with experience in web usability is perhaps the best person to help you assess the usability of your WordPress site. You can either monitor the experts in person or have them conduct the tests on your site remotely and send you, their evaluation.
When testing how the group of users navigate through your WordPress site, consider the following:
Besides being one of the most helpful SEO tools out there, it’s quite simple to use, it’s relevant and intuitive. That’s what you need to achieve a good navigation of your site. If people can’t navigate it, they’ll go and search for one of your competitors instead.
Testing user focus allows you to discover if visitors follow your conversion funnel, and how useful your website is. You can track this by using tools such as Crazy Egg.
With this tool, you can record user behaviour in real-time, and monitor where on the pages the users click or scroll the most. The more user attention tests you conduct, the better you’ll optimize your WordPress site to target customer’s needs.
Turning the user testing reports into actionable and carefully analysed steps might sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. You just need to know what to look for and organize your data correctly.
Here’s how you can properly analyse the usability testing results for your WordPress website:
The steps to properly analyse the usability testing results for a WordPress website.
The best way to improve the usability of your WordPress website is to turn analysis into actionable steps.
After you’ve carried out the necessary changes, never stop testing the site’s features and their effect on the usability. Continuously collect feedback and optimize your WordPress website.
Besides Crazy Egg, other useful tools can help you test the usability of your WordPress website: Google Optimize, Usabilia, Optimizely, HotJar, UserZoom.
Every user has a preferred browser. Each respective browser utilizes a separate layout engine that renders the code differently. Firefox uses Quantum, Chrome and Edge are using Chromium, and Safari is using WebKit.
These variations in rendering can make the code adjustments a real challenge. You can prevent that from happening only by testing the compatibility of your WordPress website for the most popular browsers. It can confirm that your site is working correctly on every browser, screen, device, and OS.
First thing first, you need to examine which browsers your website visitors use the most. For this purpose, you can use Google Analytics. Log into your account, and access Audience > Technology.
When you know from which browser your site is visited the most, you can focus on optimizing your website for that.
Also, you should not forget about the operating systems If you’re using a Mac, you won’t be able to check how the site renders in Windows-based devices, and oppositely. Fortunately, some tools can help you out to continue testing your WordPress site’s compatibility for both browsers and OS, in this case:
Now, let’s be clear, WordPress is a powerful CMS to opt for, and combined with a robust hosting, it’s 99% unbreakable during any amount of traffic loads. But there are many situations, for example, a specific holiday or having a popular product on your site that will cause a massive traffic spike.
In those situations, you must ensure that your website is at a peak performance level. As a starting point for testing the maximum traffic load, we recommend you to try some of the following tools for the purpose:
You can test the speed of your website with some tools that can help you learn where to optimize, such as PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, or GTMetrix. They work similarly by pasting the URL of your site and scanning it for performance bumps. You can use the reports to take active measurements towards speed optimization.
Read our complete Google PageSpeed Insights tutorial to learn more about optimizing the speed of your WordPress website with the tool.
The bottom line, you need to test the performance consistently as your website grows both in features and visitors. If tests tell you that your site can withstand 10,000 visits per day, what will happen if suddenly 1,000,000 want to visit your website at once? Your traffic can always pick up, we know the best, scaling clients with hundreds of millions of traffic on their sites.
As you can tell, testing is important for each stage of the WordPress web development process. If you run regular tests and run them right, your website will continuously improve, and your business will save tons of money in the process.
It will also help you keep your site user-focused and retain users. The most important thing is to remain consistent. Even if you currently don’t have the right skills to test your WordPress website features like a pro, every test is better than no test.
And if you think you’ve already got what it takes to step into WordPress QA and testing waters, then this article has served its purpose well, and we’ll be more than glad to see your website grow!
Moreover, if you need a dependable and professional WordPress team that can handle the development and QA process for your website, don’t hesitate to ask for our help!
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