Testing Your Membership Site: A Comprehensive Guide in 2024

In the bustling sphere of online businesses, membership sites serve as a dynamic platform to engage users, impart value, and foster a steadfast community.

But how do you do that without all the tech hiccups?

Recently, AccessAlly rolled out a significant upgrade to its membership vault, striving to enhance user experience. 

Our revamped vault is not only designed to make it easier for members to find the content they desire by clearing out dated materials but also to showcase more of AccessAlly’s innovative features. 

Image of AccessAlly's new membership vault user interface
AccessAlly’s new membership vault user interface

With such progressive updates, ensuring that your membership site runs flawlessly is key. 

This means that testing should be at the forefront of your priorities. 

For AccessAlly users and anyone looking to test their membership site, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to thoroughly test your membership site. 

Before you go live, and after.

1. Set Clear Objectives

Before diving into testing, outline what you want to achieve. 

Are you ensuring that content is gated appropriately? Checking if member profiles load properly? By defining these objectives, your testing will be streamlined and purposeful.

For AccessAlly we utilised ClickUp to create objectives and tasks for each of our team members during this testing phase. 

2. Begin with Browser Compatibility

With the digital age upon us, various browsers have risen to prominence, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and many others. 

It’s crucial to ensure that:

  • Each element of your website is rendered correctly in different browsers.
  • Functionalities such as forms, dropdowns, and animations work seamlessly.
  • Regularly update and check against browser updates, as sometimes a browser update can alter how a site looks or functions.

3. Test on Multiple Devices

As device usage varies across users, it’s crucial to guarantee:

  • Visual consistency across desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
  • The touch functionality on mobile devices is smooth and intuitive.
  • Media, such as videos and images, load and display correctly across devices.

Ensuring your site is responsive and functions well on desktops, tablets, and smartphones, leads to a consistent user experience regardless of device.

4. User Registration and Login

To ensure a seamless user onboarding and secure experience, it’s essential to:

  • Test the registration process with different email formats and password combinations.
  • Ensure login functionality is error-free and recognizes incorrect input combinations.
  • Simulate password reset scenarios to confirm they are user-friendly.
  • Confirm that email notifications sent are timely, accurate, and contain relevant information.

5. Content Accessibility

Exclusive content is often the hallmark of membership sites. It’s imperative to:

  • Test permissions to ensure the correct content is accessible to the appropriate membership levels.
  • Ensure there are no loopholes that allow unauthorized content access.

6. Payment Processing and Integration

If your membership site is a paid one, testing the payment process is vital. This includes:

  • Simulating various payment scenarios to ensure the gateway functions without glitches.
  • Ensuring that after a successful payment, users are redirected to the appropriate thank-you or dashboard page.
  • Double-checking that email confirmations post-purchase are accurate, timely, and provide necessary information.

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7. Navigation and User Experience (UX)

Ensuring that your site is intuitive and user-friendly can make the world of a difference when it comes to your membership site’s user experience. This includes:

  • Regularly walk through the site as a new user to ensure navigation is intuitive.
  • Ensure that content logically flows, guiding users to where they need to be.
  • Confirm that the search bar is functional and that results are relevant to user queries.

8. Interactive Features

If you have forums, chat rooms, or any interactive features, test them thoroughly to ensure they work correctly and securely. Engaging users is key!

  • Periodically test forums, chat rooms, and other interactive features for functionality.
  • Check for any security vulnerabilities, especially in areas where users input information.

9. Performance Testing

The speed and responsiveness of your site can heavily influence user satisfaction. Consider tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to gauge your site’s performance. 

A site’s speed can make or break your members’ experience – here are some key things to keep in mind when checking the speed and performance of your site:

  • Regularly measure your site’s load times and responsiveness.
  • Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and consider the feedback they provide to optimize your site.

10. Backup and Recovery

In case of any hiccups or disasters, ensure you have a reliable backup and recovery solution in place.

For example, here at AccessAlly we ended up cloning our initial membership vault site – and worked on the cloned site for the re-do instead of the original site. This is called a staging environment, and your website host likely already offers this functionality.

This way if there was any issue occurring we could easily revert back to the original membership vault. 

Hence, here are some things to keep in mind when looking at your backup and recovery options for your membership site.

  • Ensure you have automated and manual backup solutions in place.
  • Periodically test the recovery process to ensure you can quickly restore your site to its last working state in emergencies.

It’s also important to test after a site is moved from staging to production, to make sure that all of the settings and data was migrated successfully.

11. Feedback Loop

Encourage beta testers or select members to provide feedback on their experience. This feedback can be invaluable in identifying areas for improvement.

For AccessAlly, our team were the beta testers and we assigned each member a different part of the site to test (ideally a section they didn’t previously help design). 

This way we got a fresh perspective and more informative feedback regarding their experience.

12. Plan for Regular Testing

Even after your site goes live, regular testing should be part of your routine maintenance. 

This ensures continuous improvement and catches any potential issues before they become significant problems.

For anyone running a membership site, ensuring that your membership site is fully functional and offers an outstanding user experience is vital. 

By diligently testing each component of your site, you can offer your members a seamless, enjoyable, and valuable experience, fostering loyalty and ensuring the longevity of your online community.

Nathalie Lussier

I’m a writer, technologist, and regenerative farmer. I founded AccessAlly with my husband in one frantic weekend to solve my immediate course platform issues. Over a decade later the company has grown, and our product has evolved to serve millions of learners across the globe.

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