I just received a message sent via the Contact page on this site: a polite inquiry from someone wishing to provide content for my blog. As I have no current plans to outsource writing about what I know to others, I sat down to send a quick reply to that effect. But since her email’s domain was from what was probably her business website I first decided to check that out.
What I found (using Chrome) was such a mess that even if I was interested in 3rd party content I would never deal with her:
- The main header image on the page was broken
- The bullet point list of topics was partly obscured by an overlapping photo.
- The links for the visible bullet points were all broken – the site was WordPress hosted on Pagely.com and the links were redirected through it in such a way that my browser was screaming about security risks.
- Only by telling the browser to go forward anyway did I finally see the site as the creator intended. I tried the link again with IE and it came up slightly better but still screaming about insecure SSL certificates.
When I finally got to the site it looked decent enough, but I only got there by persistence after failing several times.
What’s the take-away for you? Before you go public with your website, test it under various scenarios:
- Try it with each of the main web browsers: Firefox, IE, and Chrome.
- Try it with those browsers on Windows and Mac OS.
- Try it from an iPhone and an Android phone.
- Try it from some devices that are not yours (e.g., from the library’s public PCs) – this tests both a different network and a computer that does not already have cookies stored from your prior attempts on your own device.
Your site doesn’t need to be perfect (unless what you are selling is your site-building expertise!) but it does need to be functional, not look a mess, and not scare away people when their browser says it is not safe.