Don’t put your organization online without some basic testing. These 5 items can keep users on your site.
1) Proofread Every Page; better yet have a professional proofreader check your site. Fix misspelled words and phrases that are confusing. Believe it or not, writing styles are different for different mediums and uses. You won’t use the same phrasing in print as you do online; for marketing as you do to get the attention of search engines. Writing to teach is different than writing to sell. I recommend Second Look Communications for proofreading. This company understands how to proofread for different audiences.
2) Click Every Link and make sure they all go where you would expect them to go. If not, fix them. Also consider where you land within your site after you click a link. Are you lost in the site? Can you navigate back to where you were? Do your best to see your Web site as your customers see it and make sure it works for them.
3) Test All Forms. If you have forms on your site, test them. This will insure the information is returned to you properly. All information should be returned to the proper recipient or populate a database.
4) Request Feedback from trusted friends and colleagues that don’t know your site. Ask them to use your site as though they were a customer or prospective customer. Could they find the information they wanted? Is your site easy to navigate? Did they get frustrated using your site and if so, why? Whey did they like about your site and what did they not like about your site? For this exercise your must use only those friends and colleagues that will provide you with honest productive criticism. Simply telling you how wonderful your site it, won’t help. Once you gather feedback from several sources, look for patterns. If one person gets lost in your site it may not mean anything; If several people get lost you may want to rethink your navigation.
5) Check your site for functionality using several browsers. Click every link, and test every form in at least the major browsers. As of July 2010, 78% of the Internet is surfed by Internet Explorer and Firefox.