How to validate the quality of a website without any technical skills
It is always a challenge to validate the quality of a website. But you don't have to take everything you developer says you can cross-check.
As a business owner, it is a challenge to validate if your website falls unto the current standard. You may have an excellent looking site full of coding errors and vulnerabilities. But do you know that you can check all the aspects of your website without any technical skills? There are a couple of online and internal tools that can enable you to have an idea is your website is ready. Hence, you don't always have to take everything your developer says as a Gospel truth. You can cross-check. In this article, I will give you some tools that you may or may not know that will assist you enormously in your validation process. The option may not fit into the technology you are using, but there is nothing wrong with trying. Note that, as a developer, it is only natural to make mistakes or to forget some good practices. Sometime, what we know might not always be up-to-date or in use. As the IT world evolves at the speed of light, we are still in the learning process. Bellow is your checklist.
Activate the error display on your server.
Some of the servers or maybe all, have a feature to display error onscreen. Before launching your website, you can enable that feature to see all the coding mistakes. One of the advantages of using that is to ensure that the coding is clean and the functions used in the development process is up-to-date. I realized that, when we are writing code, we do it following our skills and what we know. And usually, there are out-dated features that we are using. Displaying error on screen can be the best way to see all the outdated features that we are using or some of the mistakes that would not necessarily show if the error display wasn't activated. Below are some examples of how you can enable error display provided that it is already active on your server:
- Set the constant WP_DEBUG to true on Wordpress. If you are using Wordpress, you can set the WP_DEBUG to true to display all the errors onscreen. The WP_DEBUG constant is in the file wp-config.php of your Wordpress website. (the root directory)
- Enable PHP display error by un-commenting the line ini_set('display_errors', 1) in the file /app/bootstrap.php if you are using Magento
Validate the performance of a website with GTmetrix
GTmetrix is an online tool that you can use for free to validate performance. With GTmetrix, for example, you can get an idea of the time it takes for your site to run, compare performance by region or assess the elements that slow your site down. With a free account, you can evaluate performance based on cities or countries. The fact that your website is fast on your devices does not mean that it will be on those of your users. As a Business Owner, you finally have the data necessary to validate the work of your developer. To use GTmetrix, you must
- visit GTmetrix.com.
- And on the home page, enter your page to analyze in the form; for example, https://www.prositeweb.ca/a-propos/.
- Click on "Test Your Site."
After about 1 min, you will see a report showing the performance of your site. You can also download this report in PDF format.
Validate the use of HTML- W3C Validator syntaxes
W3C is an organization that sets standards on the web. It has made available to developers a platform called w3C Validator, which validates HTML syntax. You can, therefore, use it to check the updated tags on your site. You can also see via the results if certain tags do not affect the performance of your website. Using W3C is simple:
- Visit https://validator.w3.org/
- Enter your URL in the form
- Click on Check
After a few minutes, you will have a report on the page you have analyzed.
Validate the referencing of a website with prositeweb.ca/seo
Another aspect that you need to validate is SEO. For this, you can use the platform https://www.prositeweb.ca/seo/. The principle is similar to the other two cases (GTmetrix and W3C), namely: enter its URL, click on the "analysis" button and obtain the results.
Use the sitemap to detect error pages
Generally, with website development tools such as WordPress, Magento ..., your developer can be led to use a theme or create test pages. Once development is complete, to make to delete unnecessary pages, you can generate a sitemap and analyze it. The site map generally gives you a list of all the pages on your website. So if you take the time to browse it, you will realize that there are pages that are not supposed to be there. An example of a tool I can recommend for producing your site map is https://pro-sitemaps.com. With Pro Sitemaps, in addition to the XML file of your site map, you will have the list of non-existent pages.
For the Magento CMS
If you made your website with Magento, you could validate the security aspect using the analysis tool https://magento.com/security
Why should you bother about the website validation?
There are many reasons for which you should not take website validation for granted and some of them are the following
The security of your website
A web solution using outdated features are likely to have a security vulnerability. Most of the updated features come with a batch that solves the weakness of previous versions. And most of the time, some of the earlier versions are no longer maintained.
Performance of your website
Several tools can allow you to prove that your site has been well developed. However, you can take the suggestions into account to establish the basics. If you would like to have expert input for further analysis, you can contact us. We will, for example, prepare PDF reports on the performance, security or SEO of your site.