Automated website testing
Ensuring a strong digital presence is a must for any company who wants to stay ahead of the competition, no matter the industry or sector. Apart from branding and communication, a high performing website that serves the needs of your visitors is essential.
To build and maintain a high performing website means continuously assessing and optimizing your website performance. The challenge, however, is that even the most digitally skilled team struggles with the relentless need to continuously optimize their websites. Between strategizing, creating content, running campaigns, and reporting, how does a digital marketing team find time to properly test their website? This is where automated website testing comes in.
What is automated website testing?
Automated website testing is the process of evaluating and optimizing different areas of your website using a digital tool or solution. It complements your manual testing to support and automate the tedious, recurring tasks, such as reviewing for broken links and the like. So, rather than someone on your team having to go through lines of code across several pages manually, automated website testing tools can scan your code and flag issues for your team to act on. Whether you’re optimizing for SEO, website performance, quality assurance, or accessibility, automated testing tools can cover a lot of ground to get you insights fast and consistently.
Who should invest in automated website testing?
You might be wondering if automated website testing is overkill for your team. But the truth is, any organization without the people resources to manually run tests and analyze the results on a regular basis needs some form of automated testing in place.
Other instances when it is a good idea to consider an automated solution is if you’re an enterprise-level company with a large website. Or if you’re a company working across several domains and subdomains. Managing the testing and optimization of these types of website setups can quickly become time-consuming and overwhelming.
And if you’re planning a large, complex project, such as a website migration or website redesign, an automated testing solution can ensure a smooth and aligned process from start to finish.
Automated website testing benefits
There are some critical benefits to using automated website testing at your organization. Let’s briefly go over some of those benefits here.
If you are managing a large website or even multiple websites, an automated website testing solution can simplify and streamline your optimization efforts by automating repetitive tasks and reporting. Cutting down on these tasks frees up your time to focus on higher priorities.
By reducing manual labor hours, you also save on resources with automated testing. And if you choose an all-inclusive solution, you can also cut down on the number of tools to purchase. Over time, the investment cost of an automated website testing solution pays off as it helps you prevent issues that could amount to using your people resources for putting out fires.
Future-proofing against potential issues
In most instances, prevention is a more effective strategy than remediation. Automated testing can help you nip issues in the bud before they become bigger problems. Since an automated solution scans your website’s code, you can be sure that running regular tests will weed out any issues that might crop up as your team continues to publish and update content on your website.
Reduces legal risks
If you are not regularly evaluating your website for accessibility issues, web security, and data privacy, you risk overlooking critical issues that put your company at risk of legal backlash, as all these areas are showing an increasing crackdown. For example, Amazon has recently faced hefty fines of $888.6 million for data misuse which shows how even a leading e-commerce giant can stumble if not consistently diligent about their data privacy.
Speeds up decision making
Using an automated website testing solution also helps centralize your website testing and analysis across your organization, which cuts down redundancies and creates a better workflow, making your team more agile. If you choose a solution that also offers built-in reporting, you can also get faster insights for more efficient decision making.
What part of your website testing should be automated?
A big advantage of automated website testing is that you can implement it across different areas of website optimization to automate a diverse range of tasks. This allows you to customize which areas to focus on, depending on your goals. Here is an overview of the parts of your website testing that should be automated and why.
1. Automated content quality testing
An automated solution can help you review your content for misspellings, typos, broken links, and similar. This is especially helpful if you are not a content specialist. And even if you do have a skilled content creator on your team, automating your content review adds an additional layer of assurance and leaves your team free to focus on the creative process. Ensuring your content is always accurate, fresh, and error-free is integral to ensure a smooth visitor journey and improve your SEO performance.
2. Automated accessibility testing
Automated accessibility testing scans your website’s source code for accessibility issues and helps you flag them. Considering that 1.85 billion people worldwide live with a disability, having these issues on your website can create serious blockers that lead to a poor user experience and make your website potentially unusable by people with disabilities. For example, if relevant images on your website are missing alternative text descriptions for those with vision impairments who use a screen reader to help them access and navigate online content.
3. Automated SEO testing
When you automate your SEO testing, you can more easily find issues like duplicate content, broken links, or harmful backlinks. Reviewing for these issues is tedious work and if you’re not thorough, they can be easily overlooked. These are issues that can impact your website’s organic traffic and SEO rankings, so it is vital to find these quickly and act fast.
4. Automated testing of PPC landing pages
There are over 40 potential conversion blockers that could be affecting your PPC landing pages, such as misspellings, broken links, or other issues that can disrupt the user experience. Landing pages are critical for guiding leads along the visitor journey and capturing them. Automating your ppc management helps ensure these pages are in tip top shape.
5. Automated website performance testing
Running diagnostics on your website performance routinely is vital to ensure your web pages are loading quickly, as well as to monitor your bounce rate and conversion rate. Low page speed or rendering time can drive visitors away so it is important to catch these as soon as possible. And automating the monitoring of your bounce rate and conversion rate ensures that you are notified immediately of any sudden spikes or dips that could point to an issue or an optimization opportunity.
6. Automated readability testing
To ensure that your visitors can easily understand the written content on your website, you need to regularly assess readability. Since online readers skim content, it is important that you get your main message across to your visitors to convert them into leads. An automated readability testing tool can assess if your content is too dense or if your language is difficult to understand.
7. Automated website security testing
Malware and phishing attempts can happen at any time, so even the most diligent IT staff cannot keep constant watch. With automated website security testing, you can check for vulnerabilities in your web application, server, or network. An automated website testing tool can also regularly check that your website certificates are updated. This is critical as an expired certificate can completely derail your user journey. Website visitors will either not be able to visit your site or be unwilling to if they encounter a website with an expired certificate. Fortunately, you can automate this task to ensure you are always on top of what certificates are soon to expire and need to be renewed.
8. Automated data privacy website testing
With an automated testing tool, you can manage potential risks to personal data by ensuring, for example, the proper management of your website’s cookies in accordance with legal requirements and scan for potential problems, such as exposed credit card numbers or pages linking to unsafe domains. And if someone in the EU exercises their “right to be forgotten” as outlined by the GDPR, the right automated tool can help you track down each instance of their data from any web page, PDF, document, or image.
Can all your website testing be automated?
Automating your website testing has numerous benefits and can handle a wide range of tasks across different areas of your website. Even so, there are times when manual testing is necessary. For example, with regards to your website’s accessibility, automated accessibility testing solutions only catch about 30% of the issues you need to comply to the international standard for accessibility, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This is because some issues require a human to assess them by nature, for example, how a visitor can navigate your website using a keyboard only.
The same goes for the other areas of your website, such as SEO. User experience (UX) can affect your SEO rankings significantly, especially after Google’s page experience update. Some aspects of UX can be assessed with an automated tool, such as page speed, but other aspects cannot, for example, the visual placement of your CTAs. Although software solutions cannot automate every single aspect of website testing, they are still a vital tool you can use to keep your website in good health.