Before you go live, it’s a good idea to test your important store features to make sure they’re ready for the spotlight. So check out this post to see five features you’ll want to beta test.
After lots of hard work, your Volusion site is finally complete. You’ve uploaded your products, filled out your About Us page, set up your email and done everything in between. But don’t push your site out of the nest just yet! Before you go live, you’ll want to take the extra step of beta testing. For those unfamiliar, beta testing is basically trying everything out before letting your customers see it. That way, you’ll catch any errors or things you’d like to improve before the rush begins.
With that in mind, here are five big features you’ll want to test on your Volusion store:
1. Order completion
This one is probably the most obvious, but you’ll want to make sure that once customers have found something they like on your website, they’ll be able to actually buy it (and that you’re able to reap the benefit).
To test this, log out of your admin account, visit your site and select a couple of products to Add to Cart. Then, review your cart and Proceed to Checkout as a new customer. Fill out the needed information (including a valid customer email address), select the Check by Mail option as the payment method and place your order.
Once you’ve placed your order, you want to check to ensure that:
- Shipping and tax rates are calculated properly
- The order appears in your store admin under Orders > Process Orders
- That you received an Order Confirmation email
If all these parts pass their tests with flying colors, then you’re halfway there! Now it’s time to enlist some outside help.
Order completion with your Servertrust address
In order to thoroughly beta test order completion, you’re going to need someone else to test it as well, and that’s where your Servertrust address comes in. Your Servertrust address is your store’s address before it goes live with your domain, so what you see when you visit this URL is exactly what you’ll see once your site goes live. This is also the address you’ll want to send to a trusted friend or relative so they can help you test order placement.
To find your Servertrust address, log in to my.volusion.com, and under the My Store section of the left navigation, click Manage FTP. From there, select your domain name, and your Servertrust address will be under your Hostname and labeled as your Temp URL.
Send your Servertrust address to your beta tester and ask that they buy a particular product using the Check by Mail payment method. Once they’ve completed their order, ask for their feedback on the purchasing process. How easy was it? Did they encounter any difficulties? Did any step not make sense? Then work on addressing any feedback you may receive.
2. Footer links
Although they may be small, footer links can make a big difference between a moderately usable site to an incredibly user-friendly site. So scroll down and make sure all your footer links are categorized correctly and make sense. Once you’ve seen that, click on each link to check that a) it works and b) its content is helpful, valuable to your customers and completely fleshed out.
Few features are more useful to a customer, especially a customer who knows exactly what they want, than a site’s internal search. When testing your search, run a few searches for various products and see what comes up. If your top results aren’t quite the products you had in mind, then consider adding additional product keywords or seeing how else you could optimize your store search.
4. Your SSL certificate
In order for your store to be as safe as possible for your customers and their credit card information, you’re going to want to make sure your SSL certificate is up and functioning.
To check if your SSL is successfully installed, go to your store admin and look at the URL. If it says “https” instead of “http,” then you’re good to go! Otherwise, check out our Knowledge Base article on SSL certificates for more installation information.
5. Product reviews
If you’ve enabled product reviews (which you should), then you’ll want to make sure they work. To do that, choose one of your products, go to its detail page, scroll to the bottom and click on the link that reads “Be the first to write a review.” Then write a dummy review to make sure you understand how the process works for your clients. After you’ve submitted your review, revisit the page to see how it’s displayed.
If you have word filters on your reviews, you’ll also want to try writing some reviews that will trip the filter and hide those comments for moderation.
Once you’ve beta tested these five features and run through your “Going Live” checklist, you should be all set to go. So let your store take flight! And remember, no matter what comes your store’s way, you’ll always have Volusion support on your side to help you overcome it.
-Gracelyn Tan, Volusion