Checking Your Website in Multiple Browsers
As a designing and programming nerd, I am not one of the people who use Internet Explorer to browse the web. In a normal situation, I use Firefox. However, I'm not the only one. Statistics gathered on various websites show that as many as 30% of the visitors to your site might not be using Internet Explorer.
Just because your website looks fine on your computer doesn't mean it will look okay on someone else's. There's no way to completely control that, but you can do one thing to be safe. If there's one piece of advice I can give someone designing a website for the first time, it's to make sure you check your website in a variety of web browsers. In fact, I went so far as to purchase a Mac Mini just to check my clients' sites on a Mac.
On Windows computers, the browsers you should check your site in include (of course) Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Netscape. Macs also run all those browsers, although Internet Explorer is no longer available for download. Another big one for Macs is Safari.
This task might seem time consuming, and it can be. Maybe you just don't want to install all those browser. (I don't blame you.) Perhaps access to a Mac just isn't an option. Luckily, there is another option available. I have not used them myself, but www.browsercam.com will allow you to view screen captures of your website on a variety of different platforms, and even in a variety of resolutions. It is free to try out, but costs money if you decide to continue using it.
While your website certainly won't and can't look exactly the same in all browsers, it should be very close. And you should never have a message that says "This site best viewed with XXXX." What you are really saying is, "If you aren't using XXXX to view our site, we really don't care about your business."
Regardless of how you decide to do it, checking your website in multiple browsers is a must. It would be terrible to lose customers just because your website looked wrong in their browser.
Tim is the owner and senior web designer at . His company has developed and maintained website for dozens of small businesses and organizations. Tim also maintains a blog with free website advice for small business owners, .
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