If your website breaks, SEO is NOT going to fix it!

Even if you have the best SEO in the world (we can help you with that) your website won’t help you if it’s broken. Websites break for all kinds of different reasons. The important point here is “Who is going to fix it?” This sounds simple but very often turns out to be anything but.

A lot has changed since a website was simply a collection of HTML files on a Web server. Many people have found that the ease of content update offered by a content management system (CMS) is very desirable. Since fresh content is essential to the success of a site’s search visibility CMS can be good for SEO as well.

The hidden cost of a CMS is discovered when it breaks. A current client had their site fail. The hosting company had a policy of NOT updated an unlying software utility because of the possibility of an update breaking the functionality of websites. However, since a lot of updates address security problems it was only a matter of time before a very serious security breach occurred. My clients were forced to change everything. Their site was converted to WordPress and placed on an offshore hosted server. There were many problems after the move that we started to resolve.  Google had delisted the site for starters. No updates had been performed in over a year. The email form didn’t work.

The ecommerce plugin for WordPress had a major security update that needed to be implemented.  When applied it was no longer possible to take payment for anything. Believe it or not there is nothing special this so far.  The real problem became apparent when the hosting company insisted that a restore from backup was the only possible course of action and that they would have to be instrumental in the process.  Instrumental but not responsible.  Three different types of restore from three different backups were attempted. We got the last one to work… barely and without the interference of the hosting company. The process with this “support team” was dreadful.  The host’s “support” consisted of frequently bad advice delivered through an antiquated bulletin board system. As a result of their actions the site will be moved to a different host with a useful approach to support.

Another recent story came from a contact on LinkedIn whose site “disappeared”. I still don’t know all the details but both his Web developer and marketing agency suggested using a different ISP for hosting. It was clear that the original hosting ISP had fallen very, very short in support.

Another client found that the website he listed on his business card no longer showed his information but did offer “his” domain name for sale.

What a month!

How can these problems be avoided? You need to be clear about who is responsible for the maintenance of your site and what that maintenance entails. If you are going to have to interact with support of any kind I recommend that you make sure that phone support is available to you.

You site is of no use if no one can see it.

Contact us if you want to review (or fix) your site.