4 April 2009
I visited my site a couple of weeks ago and discovered a pile of comment spam. That’s not unusual, of course; what *was* strange was that Drupal’s Comment Notify module hadn’t told me about them. Some poking around revealed that, lo and behold, the site wasn’t sending any email. The problem’s nature meant I had gotten no notification: It was the silent site-killer.
So first off, I want to apologize to anyone who’s tried to contact me thorugh tomgeller.com or gellerguides.com and not gotten a response. Simply put, I never got your message: If you remember your query, please send it again. The fault was entirely mine, because I hadn’t instituted a simple procedure that would have prevented the problem. To wit: I should have tested the site periodically.
And so should you.
In fact, here are five areas every Web admin should test regularly:
- Anonymous user experience. Log out, then test your site’s appearance and function. One mis-set permission can stop visitors in their tracks.
- Sign-up experience. The sign-up email is your users’ first personalized encounter with your site. Are you sure it represents your current message? And do the sign-up screens lead logically from one to the next?
- Links and scripts. File paths sometimes change during system updates, but you’ll never know until you try to access a link or script… and have it fail. Discover the problems before your users do!
- Images. Ever had your images disappear after an upgrade? There are two common causes: putting image files in the wrong place (such as /files), and forgetting that you’d modified pieces of a theme when you upgrade it. Which leads us to our last test…
- Backup and restore. “You’re only as good as your latest backup”, they say. Further, “Your backup is only as good as your ability to restore from it”. Whether a backup is missing or unusable doesn’t matter: The result is the same.
I’m sure this isn’t a complete list, and fear the next time my site dies a silent death. So help me out: What other areas do you think site admins should test regularly?Web development