Large brands throughout the world launch websites all the time. These are companies that are already making money or are well-funded by investors. They don’t screw around when it comes to website quality. They want the very best that addresses the needs of their target audience. That’s why they turn to specialized website testing platforms to ensure that their web presence is the very best it could be.
How big is the market for website testing?
Believe it or not, there is actually a huge demand for website testers. Since there are so many companies looking to expand their web presence or are venturing onto the Internet for the first time, there is a large budget allocated for site testing. They want to make sure that the website works properly and is well-designed to fit the needs of their target audience members.
Which websites do you go to become a website tester?
You can’t just email a company and tell them you’ve heard that they’re launching a new website, and you’d like to test out their new web presence. You’re more than welcome to try that but let me tell you, that’s not going to work. They don’t know who you are, what your background is, or if you even know how to test a website properly. They probably would just blow you off.
You have to go to specific platforms that specialize in website testing. These platforms are actually sought after by web development companies. Web design companies have a shortlist of platforms they go to that specialize only in website testing. You have to go to these platforms as your first choice. If you can’t access the platforms that I’m going to list below, contact the web development firms directly.
How to get a job as a freelance Website Tester with web development companies
If you decide to directly contact web development companies, you have to be prepared. You have to have a cover letter that spells out your skills. You also have to show them samples of feedback you have given in the past, or you could give regarding the factors or elements they’re looking for in website design and navigation.
What do website design analysts and usability auditors look at?
If you want to become a website tester, please understand that this freelance job category actually goes by many different names. You can be called a Website Auditor. You can also be called a Website Design Analyst. You might even be considered a Website Navigation Consultant. Regardless of the name, the tasks are fairly narrow and easily identifiable. Regardless of the platform you go with, you are going to be tasked to pay attention to the following:
Website Navigation Analysis
Website testers will go to a website and click on links to get from point A to point B. They’re going to pay attention to how easy it is to navigate a website. Can you quickly get to the information that you’re looking for? Is the website confusing in terms of navigation? Is it intuitive?
Another factor that you’re going to test is how well the website presents content. Let’s be clear about one thing: The whole job of a website is to present content. It has a certain message it’s trying to get across. The audience must get that message, so they can do whatever it is the website owner or the company behind the website wants them to do. That’s the whole point behind the website. It’s about the message.
It’s not about how pretty the package is. It’s not about how seemingly innovative the website looks. At the end of the day, the website can only do its job if people visiting their website engage in a certain range of desired behaviors. As a website tester, you’re going to put yourself in the shoes of the intended audience of that website.
Given what you could see, and the tools the website gives you, do you get the message? Are you more likely to take the kind of action the website owner or the company behind the website want you to take? You’re going to rank the chances of that happening. You’re also going to help the website design firm identify sticking points or problem areas that get into the way of the effectiveness of the message the website is trying to convey.
Websites may seem very generic. When you go to one end of your website after another, it seems that a lot of them basically use the same template. With that said, these companies have a brand they’re trying to protect or create. This is where look and feel come in. If a website looks generic or template driven or obvious, chances are it’s probably not going to do a good job branding whoever lands on that website. How can it? It doesn’t stand out. It doesn’t effectively convey its specific value proposition. This is where you come it.
You assume the role of the target audience member, and you pay close attention to the overall look and feel of the website. Is this distinctive enough compared to other websites in the same industry? Is it able to communicate its brand in such a way that the company behind the brand stands out? Or does it seem like another brand among a heap of other competing brands? Does it seem like you are just dealing with a website that is another “face in the crowd”?
Have you ever gone to a website where you just feel that it has something that you can’t quite put your finger on that either makes it special or “off”? This is called its intangible properties. You can’t seem to put it into words. It’s definitely not something that jumps out at you or is particularly obvious, but you know it’s there. And for whatever reason, it either makes you like the website more, or somehow it gets in the way.
You can’t quite figure it out but there’s just something that’s holding you back from recommending the website or feeling fully comfortable navigating it. Web development companies need to know this: If they have some sort of design element, or they took a certain design concept and ran with it, but it produces this effect, they need to know. They need to reduce it to numbers and make the necessary adjustments so the website has the desired effect. Unfortunately, without the help of website testers, they wouldn’t have a clue.
Website testers help designers overcome their bias. If you have kids, one of the toughest decisions you would have to make is deciding which of your kids need to die so the other kids could live. Talk about a parent’s nightmare. I don’t want to sound over dramatic, but that’s precisely the kind of emotional state the typical graphic-design firm finds itself in.
They invested a tremendous amount of creative, emotional, and intellectual energy creating this site. If you were to ask them, everything fits. Everything falls into place, and there’s absolutely no need to change the design. How can there be? After all, they’ve already spent all this blood, sweat and tears coming up with this design.
Web development firms know that there this intense emotional closeness to their work product. So they don’t even try to come up with key decisions. Instead, they pass on the website to a pool of disinterested, objective third parties. As a web design tester, you are part of that pool. You don’t have a dog in this game. Instead, you are looking at the website from the perspective of an objective third party.
In other words, you provide the eyeballs that a web development firm desperately needs to make the necessary changes to a project, so the project could be the best it could be. You’re doing them a big favor, and that’s why there is a great demand for website auditors, impartial design analysts and other forms of website testers. It doesn’t matter what label you put on the skill set. It is an indispensable service needed by web development firms, so they can produce the very best product.
How to prepare for a website testing freelance job
As I mentioned above, you have to know how to communicate clearly. You also have to have a ready set of feedback. However, if you’re going to go through the platforms I’m going to describe below, you have to have the basic skill set down. First, you have to go through many different websites on your own time, and try to pick out what’s wrong with their navigation system.
If you can’t figure out what is wrong, it’s going to be almost impossible to make out what’s right. You have to have an eye for this kind of thing. By navigating as many different websites as possible, you should be able to see patterns. Obviously, some websites are better designed than others. Your job is to develop the skill set not only to spot these issues, but to describe them clearly enough to developers, so they can do something about these issues. That’s what they would be paying you for.
This means that you have to have solid communication skills. The last thing that you want is to say to the developer, “You know what I mean.” No. They don’t know what you mean. They’re not mind readers. You can’t assume anything. You have to be descriptive in the process that you find problematic, which brings me to my final point.
You have to think in terms of the process. A lot of people have this mindset that they know something the moment they see it. I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough. You have to be able to describe what happened before and after the problematic issue that you’re trying to draw attention to. That’s how you get web development companies to identify a problem and fix it. If you don’t think in those terms, then your feedback is not going to be all that useful.
The best you can do is to tell them that it just doesn’t feel right. Well, that’s not good enough. They must be able to not only clearly understand what you’re saying, but better yet, reduce it into numbers. The closer your feedback gets to actual data that can be reduced to numbers, the more useful it would be to the web development firm.
Website testing platforms that will pay you to test out websites
Whatusersdo.com is a website that pays in British pounds for people to take a short test of websites. Basically, you have to play around with a website for around 20 minutes, and then they will pay you in British pounds. The downside to this service is, they take a month to pay. It also depends on when you took the test, because they close up payment windows every 25th of the month. So if you took your test on the 26th, this means that you basically will have to wait a full month to get paid.
The great thing about this service is that it offers many different types of tests. Additionally, the tests are very short. We’re talking about maybe five minutes per test. Still, despite their short tests they actually pay well because the $5 payout that they give per test translates to a dollar per minute. In addition to these short tests, they also do validation tests that are live.
In other words, you share a screen with a remote moderator. The moderator would then pay attention to what you’re doing on a website, and you are also verbally communicating to the moderator as you go through the website. The moderator would actually give you stuff to do on the website and track you live. These types of tests normally last half an hour and pay $25. The great thing about Validately is it only takes them five business days to pay you out after you complete a test. Not bad.
UserZoom tests run a maximum of 20 minutes. They pay the industry standard which is around a dollar a minute. The downside to this service is that they have a 10-14 business day turnaround time for payments. Once you completed one of their studies, you basically have to wait two business weeks to get paid, which translates to close to 21 days. This can be a problem if you just took a small test, and you only have $5 coming; you have to wait three weeks for it.
This service’s main claim to fame is that they offer a wide variety of tests. They’re not just looking at websites. You can look at apps. You can look at business concepts. You can play around with online prototypes. There is a wide range of things you can test out. The best part is they pay out very quickly. You get paid $10 per assignment. The downside is the method of payment. They only pay you via PayPal. Now, for most people, this is not a problem, but if you live in places like Pakistan, that doesn’t take PayPal payments, you may have a problem in your hands.
As you can tell by name of this website, their main focus is the look and feel of a website. The great thing about this service is that it’s very easy to use. You basically just sign up, and they will give you a sample test. Once you pass that sample test, they will give you test after test, and they pay you $10 per assignment. The tests are not always available, so you just have to wait until you get an email. You then click a link, take the test, and then they will pay you. The turnaround time for payments is about a week. In other words, you have to wait until the end of the week, until you get a PayPal payment. The good news is, if you keep taking tests every week, you no longer have to wait for that initial week. You will basically get a PayPal payment at the end of each week. Very nice.
The thing that stands out the most with this service is the payout. They pay ten bucks for a short 15-minute test. A lot of website testers consider this very good money, that translates to $40 per hour. Not too bad, considering that the minimum wage in the United States, at least in the Federal level is $7.50. The downside is that you have to go through a qualification test. Depending on your English skills, as well as your ability to explain yourself, this might pose somewhat a bit of a challenge. Still, if you finished high school in the United States, or you have a college degree from the rest of the world, and you speak English quite well, this test will prove to be pretty simple.
The main thing that they’re looking for is your ability to follow a process. They don’t want people who are know-it-alls. They don’t want people who make all sorts of assumptions. They want people who can actually work with a process. In other words, you go from step one all the way to step 10. If you can do that, you are pretty much good to go because they will send you test after test, as long as the jobs are available.
The downside with this service is that the pay outs are made every two weeks. If you are like most freelancers, you probably want to get paid yesterday. So this may be an issue for people who need money quickly. The good new is, if you take test after test, you would bank enough funds so that even though it takes two weeks, the pay outs will be big enough for it to be worth the hassle.
TestingTime is a very different type of website testing platform because the tests are done via Skype. Also, their tests tend to be longer. We’re talking about up to 90 minutes. Now, a lot of people might think that the payout for TestingTime is really not all that great, considering the fact that you have to do things on Skype, and people are looking at you. Furthermore, when it comes down to the actual dollar per minute breakdown, the fact that you have to work 90 minutes might be a bit of a turnoff. Still, if you don’t mind working on Skype and waiting up to 10 days to get paid via PayPal, TestingTime might be a good option for you.
Enroll is actually a web development agency, and its website testing business are basically kind of an outgrowth of its primary business core, which is designing and developing websites for corporate clients. As you can imagine, Enroll has a lot of customers, and that’s why they need testers like you. Since they are a very big agency, the variety of tests they have on offer is actually quite large. There are long tests, and then shorter tests. However, if you want to make good money with this system, you might want to hold out for longer tests, because their shorter tests are so short, and the payout is so small that a lot of people who use other websites would rather use other platforms or wait for longer tests.
If you’re looking for a consistent website testing work, this is probably the website you should begin with. Depending on your competency level, as well as the amount of time you can devote to testing websites for side income, you might want to end up with this platform. In other words, you might do so well with this platform that it’s probably not worth your time using other platforms.
They pay some of the most attractive rates in the industry. We’re talking about 20-minute tests that pay up to $15. If you have a PayPal account, you’re pretty much good to go. You just have to make sure you pass the test, and are able to give them the kind of feedback that they’re looking for.
One of the great attractions to UserTesting is that they’re open to not only US residents or Western European, or Canadian residents, but they’re open to people from all over the world. As you probably already know, if you are reading this article from a developing country, $15 when converted to the local currency can go quite far. So if you’re looking for a testing platform to start with and possibly to stick with, UserTesting should be high on your list.
Website testing success tips
Believe it or not; a lot of people earn full-time income testing websites. It’s hard to do this if you don’t have a game plan. Here are the best practices you should follow if you want to make good money testing websites:
The first thing that you need to do is to apply to the big platforms first, know how the game is played, know what is expected and get used to testing websites. Once you have developed a knack for this type of work, then apply to as many different testing platforms as possible.
Make sure you deliver the kind of output that they’re looking for
If you know how to get accepted to as many different platforms as possible, learn from the first few platforms you join. Chances are you might struggle with the screening test with some of these platforms. After you overcome that, you should learn how the system works and then give out the feedback that they’re looking for. Once you get the hang of it, you would be able to quickly process information, and this might help you shorten your test times.
Schedule your tests to maximize the value of your time
By having many different tabs open on Google Chrome, and getting the hang of the process down, you may be able to complete many different tests within one hour. Before you know it, you can smoothly process tests hour after hour until you can do a full-day block of tests. Since the industry average is around 15 minutes, this translates to 32 tests that you need to make for a full days’ income. If you play your cards right, you can make close to $500 a day testing websites. You just have to join the right platforms, and it helps tremendously if you communicate in English well.
I’m not saying that if English is your second language, you can’t get a website testing job. I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that a lot more platforms would want to have you as a tester if you have excellent English skills. So it’s really important to invest in your English communication skills. The good news is, this is free. Seriously. You only need to go to YouTube and there are tons of English instruction videos there. There are many blogs that are dedicated to helping people who speak English as a second language. So don’t think that just because you live in a developing country, and English is not your first language, that there’s not money for you in testing websites. Get that idea out of your head.
If you like this article, please do me a big favor and share it on your Facebook personal wall. Help me in my personal quest to help as many different people from all over the world earn money from the Internet using free methods. The websites that I described above are completely free. You can earn full time income testing websites if you know where to go, and you know what to do. I wish you the very best in your quest to earn a full time income on the Internet. If you would like more ideas on how to make free money online, visit this other blog post I wrote.