Before you can launch your web application, you need to test it. From usability and accessibility to load speed and processing power, it’s important to test a wide range of different factors before you launch your online application to the public.
Whether you’ve built a business-to-business services website or a great new social network, these five web testing tools will help you locate errors in your website and fix them before it’s officially launched.
Are you building a web application from scratch? Learn how to automate the web software testing process in a variety of different browsers and operating systems using the techniques in our Web Application Testing With Selenium course.
The gold standard of web analytics software, Google Analytics is a fantastic tool for locating problems within your website or web application and quickly taking action to fix them.
It’s also a very powerful platform for split testing different versions of a page, using the Content Experiment system. From seeing which pages have the highest bounce rate to checking which buttons are clicked most often, Analytics can do anything.
Google Analytics is an active testing tool – something you’ll use to test your website after it’s launched. Thanks to its easily customizable interface, you can monitor any variable or factor that’s of interest to you, from total sales to on-site interactivity.
Free to use for regular users, Google Analytics is also available in a Premium edition that’s worth the investment for serious users. Since it’s such a powerful platform for all aspects of web testing, Google Analytics belongs in any developer’s toolbox.
Would you like to learn how to use Google Analytics to learn more about how users interact with your website? Learn the basics of tracking and studying user behavior in Google Analytics to improve your website with Google Analytics Mastery.
Visual Website Optimizer
How do you know your website is performing as well as it could? Unless you split test one variation of your website against another, you can never really know if it’s converting as many visitors into customers, leads or users as it really could.
Visual Website Optimizer is a powerful web application that lets you modify your page structure and design to make several versions of the same page. It then lets you split traffic between them to see which version performs the best.
Split testing is one of the most important aspects of web testing, and the top online companies – from Amazon.com to Twitter – are constantly split testing versions of their most popular pages to see which best helps them achieve their goals.
Despite being a highly powerful application, Visual Website Optimizer has a simple interface that’s suitable for beginners and experts alike. It’s also easy to get up and running, with new websites able to be modified and split tested in minutes.
Landing Page Basics: Improve Your Conversions will teach you how to test your landing pages, registration forms and other pages against each other to improve conversions.
How quickly does your website load? Page load speed might not seem like a hugely important factor in the age of high-speed connections and caching, but it makes an incredible difference to the way users interact with your website.
Did you know, for example, that users are more likely to ‘bounce’ from a page that takes too long to load? Or that users will click away to something more interesting when your bandwidth is too limited to properly stream a high-resolution video?
If your website has a large amount of dynamic content and visual media, from HD video to large background images, optimizing its page load speed is essential for achieving the commercial and social results you want.
The speed tester at WebPageTest.org allows you to check your website’s load time from a variety of locations. Use several different server locations – from Houston to Singapore – to see how quickly international users can load your website.
Is your website’s load speed hurting your conversion rate? Speeding up your page load time is surprisingly quick and simple. Learn how to massively speed up your page’s load speed in our course, Everything You Need to Speed Up Your Website.
W3C Link Checker
Is your HTML and CSS code completely valid? Invalid HTML and CSS can look right in some browsers, but many of your website’s visitors could be seeing a page that’s completely different from the one you’re seeing in your browser window.
Validating your HTML code is one of the most important aspects of web testing, and it’s remarkably easy to do. All you need is the W3C Markup Validation Service, a free online web testing tool that validates your HTML by page URL or file upload.
Did the validator return some errors in your HTML and CSS? If so, you should make sure they’re fixed before launching your website to ensure your website looks and functions the same for everyone, no matter what their browser or device type.
Re-learn the basics of HTML and CSS to spot errors in your code and correct them before releasing your website with HTML & CSS for Beginners. With over 6,500 students, it’s one of the most popular HTML instructional courses available.
When users interact with your website, what are they doing? Web testing tools like Google Analytics tell you which actions visitors are completing once they arrive on your website, but they don’t tell you where they’re spending their time.
Crazy Egg is a heat mapping tool – an online application that lets you see where your visitors are clicking and hovering their mouse cursor when using your website. It’s a great tool for working out which of your page elements work and which ones don’t.
For example, if your landing page has two calls-to-action – both of which achieve the same result for users – one button could be achieving twice the clickthrough rate of the other. Without Crazy Egg, you’d never know that this was the case.
Knowing which page elements are the most popular with users lets you tweak your website design to better achieve your goals. From sales to user registrations, let the data from Crazy Egg’s heat maps guide your conversion optimization decisions.
Heat mapping is just one aspect of conversion optimization – others include split or A/B testing, multivariate testing and more. Learn how to optimize your website for the highest possible conversion rate in our Conversion Crash Course.
Learn more about effectively testing your website
Testing might not be the most exciting part of web design and development, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most important. Without adequate testing, even a powerful and massively useful application can fail to catch on with its target audience.
The five web testing tools listed above will help you spot problems with your design, usability and code with ease. However, they need to be used with an active attitude to bug testing and eradication in order to create a truly user-friendly application.
Learn more about creating usable, bug-free websites and web applications with our blog posts on application interface design tips to improve usability and our guide to checking for bugs, glitches and application defects before you launch your website.