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TESTING YOUR WEBSITE 

Testing Your Website Can Be Tedious.  Don't Look Like a Fool.  Don't Lose Money.  Just Test It.

It is tempting to launch a website or blog without testing it.  You've put all the time and effort into getting it designed and ready to serve your niche market.  You are antsy to get it up and open to the public.  You have to exercise discipline at this point.  You have to test your website or blog.  It is crucial that you do this.

Testing your website helps you find typos, dead links, and other gaffes that sabotage the trust-building process and can cost you lost revenue.  Here are several tips and techniques you should employ before you officially launch your website:

Testing Your Website: Test Functionality     Testing Your Website

Test all aspects of your website or blog before going live.  Make sure all your links work.  Make a purchase through all your payment acceptance methods to make sure that they are all set up properly.  Buy your own products to make sure that your merchant account is working.  Do the same thing with PayPal.  Test everything.  Place credit card orders with a real credit card to make sure your shopping cart works.  If you can, buy one of everything you sell to make sure everything is working.

Testing Your Website: Test Your Strategies     Testing Your Website Strategies

You won't be able to test your strategies for Marketing Your Website, Getting Website Traffic, or Website Monetization until after you've launched your website or blog.  However, it is critical that you test each of your strategies for success in these areas.  In fact, you should constantly be testing and optimizing your strategies.

Markets are not static.  What worked online in 1998 doesn't work today.  You will have to change and adapt to changes in the cultural and online environments if you want to maintain success.

When you are developing your website or blog and right after you "go live" with your website, you won't have anything concrete to show you which content and which monetization models will work best for you within your niche.  So, pay attention to the details.  Write 3rd Generation pages (see Content Development Plan) and articles for your website or blog and see what pulls in the traffic.  Then do more of that type of writing.  Try different monetization models, and see what works.

If you don't experiment and test, you will undoubtedly miss out on many opportunities.  Many will be right under your nose the whole time.  Don't get stuck in a rut!  Find things that work and then test others until you find more that work well for your niche, content, and website.

If you use Google AdSense ads, move them around.  Tweak them until you find what works best.  Change your layout until you find a happy equilibrium between the appearance of your website and the revenue the ads generate.  You don't have to re-invent the wheel, however.  Of course, don't copy other websites' content or copyrighted materials, but feel free to copy the general ad placement.  Learn what works for other people and adopt aspects of their strategy.  It only costs time to experiment and test your strategies.  Consider the time a necessary investment into the success of your website.  The return on your investment will likely be significant. 

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.  You will have to test to find out what works for you and your site.

Testing Your Website: Test Affiliate Products/Services     Testing Your Website Affiliates

One very common Website Monetization strategy is to promote products and services through affiliate relationships.  You advertise or support a product or service and then receive a commission or reward based on the sales the parent company makes because of your efforts.

 

Many companies offer affiliate programs.  It isn't always possible to do this, but you should test out the product or service before endorsing it and becoming an affiliate who markets it to others.  Many individuals and companies will either give you a sample of the product or allow you a trial period using the service if you express your interest in becoming an affiliate and then request it.

 

So, test out the products you market to others when you can.  Ask for trials or samples or evaluation periods, and then recommend the products or services if they meet your standards.  Most affiliate programs are free to join, so test out the programs themselves.  Is there a demand for this service, or would the time and website space you are using to market it be better used marketing something else?

Testing Your Website: Use a Subdomain     Testing Your Website

Many of the Inexpensive Website Hosting Services will allow you to create subdomains for free.  What that means is that, for this website (UnderstandWebsites.com), I could create Subdomain.UnderstandWebsites.com for free.  Take advantage of a subdomain.  Upload your website there and test, test, test before you go live.

 

If your hosting service doesn't allow subdomains, simply buy another domain to use for the testing phase.  You can get a cheap .info doman for just $0.89 at GoDaddy.  Test everything using either that domain or a subdomain prior to going live with your website.  Then, switch it over to your live domain.

Testing Your Website: Ask for Help     Testing Your Website

When testing your website, you can do a lot.  But, you should include others in the process.  Have friends and family or trusted customers test your website for you.  This is very important.  If you don't have others test it, you will miss corrections and problems that you just can't see.

 

Have them evaluate everything from the layout to ease of use.  Have them offer suggestions, catch typos, and point out when your writing isn't clear (even though it makes perfect sense to you!).  Your website or blog will be better because of it.

Testing Your Website: Monitor Uptime     Testing Your Website

Obviously, you can't test your website's uptime manually on your own.  You have to sleep sometime, right?  But, it can be a good idea to have a service monitor your website.  This service usually isn't free, but it can save you a lot of headaches and lost revenue.

 

One such service is www.websitepulse.com.  If you decide that the cost is worth the benefit for your unique situation, the service will alert you if certain aspects of your website go down.  If your entire website, your shopping cart, or other aspects of your site can't be reached, you will be notified.

Testing Your Website: Conclusion     Testing Your Website Conclusion

Test your website.  Test your links, shopping cart functionality, everything.  This is a mark of a more professional website.  The chances are that no one will ever notice that your site works perfectly and will never know the effort you put into making it that way.  But, they most surely will notice if you don't.

 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this page, something has to be able to clue you in and guide you when you test.  That is why it is critical to collect data so that you can analyze it to determine the results of your tests.  So, the next thing you need to understand is Website Data Collection.

 

 

Copyright © 2009-2010, Issachar Knowledge, LLC: Testing Your Website

 

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