Why Every Website Needs Ongoing Testing and Monitoring

Quick Summary

You may have never considered it, but your website's success hinges on continuous testing and monitoring. Neglecting this crucial aspect of website maintenance can lead to catastrophic results. Regular testing saves time, protects revenue, and safeguards your reputation, making it an essential part of your online strategy. Don't wait for issues to disrupt your mission or business —discover why a website care plan is necessary to ensure your website's success.

A female worker and older man are focused on a digital tablet in a warehouse.

Businesses that rely on their websites to grow their mission, bring in new clients and donors, or collect sales can’t afford to have any aspect of their website fail. Ensuring your email opt-ins, inquiry forms, donation systems, and payment gateways are working consistently is fundamental to online businesses. Unexpected downtime, broken workflows, and disappointed customers can be costly, time-consuming, and stressful for everyone involved.

For some, it can be the difference between a successful year and a significant setback.

Unfortunately, these things are also easy to ignore or get wrong. What’s worse is that some teams may never know when and where problems arise until something major happens.

The importance of ongoing website testing and monitoring

A couple of years ago, a non-profit sought website support after a critical experience prompted them to seek help. The charity was about to have its annual donors event, their single most significant source of donations, and their website was an essential part of collecting those donations. In the days leading up to the event, they made changes to their website, updated processes, added new donation options, integrated their marketing systems, and set up new automated emails to follow up with their donors.

But on the first day of the event, things quickly fell apart. 

Donors faced serious problems on the website – errors in donation forms, payment issues, and missing follow-up emails. In the staff’s panicked attempt to fix the issues, they accidentally brought the site down. Valuable donors were left confused and uncertain about making donations. The staff spent days following up with donors, confirming donations, and manually updating records. What should have been their biggest day of the year was a disaster, damaging their fundraising efforts and reputation.

Entrance to a warehouse workshop with a chalkboard sign detailing upcoming events.

The cost of neglecting website testing and monitoring

The non-profit had the best of intentions. They wanted to enhance the donation experience, provide more giving options, and improve follow-up communication. However, each new feature added complexity that required careful ongoing testing and monitoring to help catch issues early—two things they either didn’t know about or skipped.

Missing those important steps lead to unforeseen but avoidable issues, causing their major donor event to be a disaster. Unfortunately, this isn’t a unique situation. When necessary steps are skipped, and safeguards are not put into place, unforeseen issues inevitably arise and negatively impact an organization’s success and reputation.

The consequences of issues on your website are very real for visitors and clients. 

A 2021 consumer survey by Full Story showed that 77% of website visitors leave a site without making a transaction if they encounter an error, and 60% are unlikely to return. Not only are conversions lost when website users experience issues, but so is reputation, with 65% saying they trust business less after experiencing an issue.1

For the non-profit, the consequences were immediate. Still, for many businesses relying on their websites for lead generation, email marketing, client communication, and support, the impact of website issues can be far more than mere inconvenience.

  • How many potential leads might be lost if your website’s contact forms are glitchy or unresponsive?
  • Can you afford to miss out on valuable outreach and inquiries from potential clients due to technical issues?
  • How do email marketing efforts suffer if opt-ins break and automated sequences fail to reach recipients?
  • What impact does lost revenue from broken donation forms and payment gateways have on your ability to further your mission?
  • How do poor member experiences or the inability to access site benefits affect member retention?
  • What’s the impact on client engagement and retention when crucial follow-up communication doesn’t happen?
  • What happens when you rely on events to drive engagement and revenue but event registration systems fail?

The painful part of these experiences is that the issues are typically avoidable. 

With proper planning, manual review upfront, consistent automated testing, and adequate monitoring over time, these issues could have been caught early, and the loss in time, revenue, and reputation avoided.

The thing is, most businesses don’t have the time to test every form, marketing opt-in, and email on their website, and they don’t have the systems in place to alert them when something goes wrong. Truthfully, investing in ongoing website care isn’t a priority for most businesses until they receive emails from angry and confused customers – and that’s if they get any emails.

Implementing an effective website care plan

Luckily, you don’t have to be the one responsible for testing.

A dedicated website care plan set up to handle the needs of professional service businesses and mission-driven organizations should include ongoing monitoring and automated tests to catch and address issues early. A good care plan should include:

Uptime monitoring

One of the worst-case scenarios for almost any website is a site going down and remaining unavailable. Your visitors are left confused and frustrated, and website owners are usually left in the dark because when websites fail, they fail silently.

Uptime monitoring is a straightforward solution that checks your website from multiple locations at frequent intervals. When something causes your website to go down, a notification is immediately sent to your care plan provider so they can investigate and help resolve the issue quickly.

What could have been a nightmare that left your website down for several days without you ever knowing can be taken care of in a few minutes.

Transactional email integration monitoring

If your website relies on sending essential notifications via email for contact forms, donations, payment confirmations, marketing incentives, or user account updates, it’s crucial to ensure that those emails are being delivered. To ensure email delivery, your WordPress website should be integrated with a transactional email provider.

A transactional email provider handles all outgoing website emails, allowing faster, more reliable, consistent, and authenticated email delivery and continuous monitoring. In short, it makes sure your important emails get delivered.

To ensure your website’s emails are being delivered, two key elements of your website’s integration with the transactional email provider need to be monitored:

  1. Integration Health Monitoring:
    To ensure that your emails are delivered smoothly, it’s important to check the connection between your website and the email provider regularly. This will help identify any issues caused by failed updates, outdated API keys, or provider downtime. Integration monitoring can automate this process by performing daily checks. Your website will send a test email and if it doesn’t arrive within a specified time, you’ll receive an alert notifying you of any potential issues so you can keep your emails flowing.
  1. Delivery Error Monitoring
    It’s important to take a proactive approach to ensure your emails are reliably delivered. The best way to do this is to monitor your transactional email provider for errors. When an email bounces back, an address is incorrect, or someone marks your email as spam, a notification can be sent. Real-time alters allow you to investigate and resolve issues quickly, improving your email delivery reputation and enhancing your user’s experience.
Four women gathered around a table, collaboration on notes in a notebook.

Automated form and workflow testing

Websites are constantly changing. As updates roll out, new features get included, new plugins get installed, staff and volunteers make changes, and errors are bound to surface. Errors that can potentially disrupt essential website functionalities. Without automated testing, identifying when and how these issues occur can be a daunting and time-consuming task.

Automated testing helps detect problems early. Tests are customized to each website’s needs and individual workflows to help ensure those workflows perform consistently. They do that by simulating user interactions, step by step, to verify that the intended outcomes are achieved.

This can be as simple as making sure a contact form is sent, and the correct follow-up email is received, or something as complex as walking through the steps in a membership registration, checking out, payment processing, and account access. It can also include detection changes in page layout and accessibility issues.

When tests are run after every update or significant change that involves part of that functionality, it is easier to spot issues early. This helps limit those errors from ever reaching your website visitors and clients.

An experienced partner to turn to

A dedicated website care plan not only handles challenging situations but provides access to an experienced partner who can help you understand where issues are likely to arise on and how best to mitigate them.

Every website is different, and taking an individualized approach ensures that your website’s strengths and weaknesses are thoroughly examined. When issues arise, you have someone you can rely on to help resolve problems quickly.

Whether you’re planning to introduce new features or make changes, your website partner should be part of that process, helping to identify potential problem areas that might not be apparent and provide recommendations, testing, and monitoring.

Learn more about choosing the best website care plan partner for your business.

The benefits of a testing and monitoring-focused website care plan

The non-profit’s story is a stark reminder of the impact that neglecting testing and failing to comprehend the full scope of potential issues can have on a website’s functionality and reliability. It also illustrates how easy it is to inadvertently cause significant financial impact and damage to client trust and an organization’s reputation.

If you are like most of my clients, you may have never considered the value a care plan that provides ongoing monitoring and testing can offer and how important that can be to your business’s bigger goals.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Saving time
    Automated tests that can uncover issues without time-consuming manual intervention mean less downtime and less time spent on manual review and debugging. What can take hours after the fact can be cleared up in minutes.
  • Maintain revenue and prevent loss of income
    When a care plan can catch and fix issues early, reduce downtime, and provide guidance, your organization can focus on fulfilling its mission, reaching the clients and contributors who matter the most, and working towards achieving its next ambitious goal.
  • Client experience and protecting reputation
    Part of reaching ambitious goals is safeguarding your reputation and providing a consistent, and reliable experience for your visitors, customers and members.
  • Avoid unexpected stress and panic
    Ensure your staff is never left in a panic, scrambling to understand and fix website issues, and that those issues, if they do arise, don’t happen at your most critical revenue-generating times.

Who is taking care of and protecting your website?

The disastrous annual donors event was a turning point for the non-profit in this story. For them, it came after the damage was done, but the same doesn’t have to be true for you.

You have invested a lot of time, money, and hard work into building a website that helps your organization stand out and make a difference. Ensuring your online presence remains reliable, trustworthy, and revenue-generating isn’t just a priority; it’s necessary.

Don’t wait for issues to disrupt your mission or business. If you want to ensure your website is prepared for the challenges it will face and are interested in having a partner to handle issues for you so you can focus on what you do best, reach out today for a consultation to explore how a care plan can safeguard your website’s success.

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About the author

Patrick Boehner is a seasoned website designer with over a decade of experience. He works with mission-driven organizations, non-profits, and professional service firms to bring their bold visions to life by building websites showcasing their brilliance, experience, and the transformation they create. If you're looking for a website that truly reflects your organization's unique mission and story, I would love to talk with you.

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