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What was the worst thing you ever did on your site?
how you broke your site, lost rankings or revenue?
hermannen




msg:1432548
 4:16 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sometimes I hesitate making a change on my websites being afraid of the possible fatal outcome.

WebmasterWorld is full of excellent advice on what to do; My question is:

What should we definitely not do?

 

briggidere




msg:1432549
 4:26 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

clicking on your own ads might be one to start it off.

wyweb




msg:1432550
 4:27 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

What should we definitely not do?

Fail to test. By test I mean go to the actual page and make sure the changes you made are what you had in mind.

europeforvisitors




msg:1432551
 4:29 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

What should we definitely not do?

Let greed get in the way of common sense.

coryking




msg:1432552
 4:35 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Funny enough, when I put on Chitika ads mixed with Google ads, my adsense revenue went WAY down. I'm kind of pissed, cause Chitika made up for that in unaudited revenue but I'd consider my self lucky if I saw a dime of my Chitika earnings.

berto




msg:1432553
 4:37 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Make a site-wide change without testing it on a subset of pages first.

Corollary: Change the most profitable page(s) without testing the change on lower earning pages first.

yosaid




msg:1432554
 4:43 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

chitika has cheated alot of publishers and I happen to be one of the unlucky ones.

That was my biggest mistake.

FrostyMug




msg:1432555
 4:46 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've never done it. but i would NEVER change or test a high-paying page.

worst thing I've done: submitted my site to yahoo directory listings. they manually review the sites and mine was pulled off yahoo completely for one reciprocal links page. i realized what happened too late (4-5 months after) and after writing yahoo asking for forgiveness and removing the links page, the site is very slowly coming back in SERPS, this probably another 4 months after contacting them.

pmkpmk




msg:1432556
 4:49 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Compiled a new Linux kernel on the webserver. Installed it. Rebooted. BANG! Took me the better part of the afternoon to have it up and running again.

Frequent




msg:1432557
 4:56 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Deleted the core script running the site so I could upload the latest version... and then promplty lost my web access for about 24 hours due to a storm.

Lesson learned, check the weather before trying something that MUST be seamless.

Effects:- None other than a couple of concerned emails from regular visitors.

Freq---

Hobbs




msg:1432558
 5:10 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

The stupidest thing I ever did and I think that will top any other one you can come up with is giving Commission Junction (CJ) over 3 1/2 Million page impressions, and much over 20,000 clicks for a total earning of .. brace yourself ... 20 dollars, twenty US dollars!
Diversification sure has a price!
Now trying Chitika with 30k daily impressions and not too optimistic, I can only see audited traffic for October 2005!

Jalinder




msg:1432559
 5:27 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

My biggest mistake ever: I used a multiply ( * ) instead of plus ( + ) in an ecommerce form :)

jema




msg:1432560
 6:19 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

CJ is totally useless. I have given them 119,678 impressions for 0 cents!

Play_Bach




msg:1432561
 6:40 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Changed the title of my index page a few years ago. Went from being the top site returned for a popular keyword search on Google to oblivion. Took about four months after changing the title back for Google to return my site to where it had been before. Needless to say, I don't mess with the title of my index page anymore.

jetteroheller




msg:1432562
 7:34 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Most painfull was an error with my local search engine.

I finished 2003 the web site for a new client. It was a sex related site.

Normal, I index all my sites with all my clients in my local search engine. But I thought this is really not good with the sex related site.

So I added some lines of code to the index routine

if ( index ( $domain, "sex" ) >= 0 ) { next }

But I had overseen the rest of the construct.
So it happened the exact opposit from what was intended.

As I tested, I noticed the error.
I tried immedeately to delete all the index files from the search index.

In this moment, the internet connection crashed.

5 desperate hours later, I had again an internet connection.

For luck, the delete command was performed before the connection crashed.

Only one person tried to search in the search box of one of my real estate clients something, what brought him very unexpected results.

elfred




msg:1432563
 7:43 pm on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Once, the database driving my whole site couldn't be properly accessed. All my pages returned a database error message. Google spidered the whole site the very same night. Guess what? I easily became the first match for any search related to that database :-)

moTi




msg:1432564
 2:36 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

killed about 1500 queued press e-mails waiting to be entered into my database.

accidentally deleted all .dbx files in my outlook folder and emptied the trashcan. the data volume was too high to recover them - only regained about 1% readable mails.

work for more than a week lost. as well a way to finish the job ;)

estimated loss for the following months: about 500$ (less content = less visitors = less income).

lesson learned: leave downloaded e-mails on server for two weeks before deletion.

OptiRex




msg:1432565
 2:56 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oh no, this seems nothing compared to some cock-ups!

I uploaded the incorrect style sheet and index .inc to the wrong site and checked the one I had supposedly updated and there was no difference!

Checked all the usual stuff and still no difference until I realised where it had been uploaded to.

Checked the "refreshed" site and it actually worked perfectly since it had been constructed from the same template however it had no relevancy whatsoever.

Result? Me having to buy the embarrassment beers!

Sense_able




msg:1432566
 10:44 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

I learnt the hard way that "If is aint broke don't fix it". No matter how messy and cluttered a site might become.

jtara




msg:1432567
 10:51 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Advertised on keyword "Paris Riots". (No longer running.) A dry, academic book on the plight of North African immigrants in France. Bookseller had one copy in stock. They sold it, but not to one of my viewers.

Tons of clicks.

Nobody bought the book.

I hope some of them read the reviews and educated themselves on the plight of North African immigrants in France.

I hope the punk band advertising on the same keyword did better.

This was my second ad campaign ever. The cookbook that was my first advertising campaign ever has been my best one.

Ossifer




msg:1432568
 10:54 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Mine is happening at the moment. A site conversion to update the development environment. Backup of the old site didn't appear to work correctly.... which i didn't realise until I accidentally published the site when I hadn't completely validated it.

Fortunately most things are still working (including google ads), although a few pages are showing errors and emailing me hundreds of times to tell me so.

Probably only an hours downtime in the last 24 hours, but a stack of things for me to fix when I get home tonight. I *think* I know what I need to do, but would like to be fixing that at home, rather than sitting here at my real job...

Howardtd




msg:1432569
 11:38 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Did some bad coding and ended up with a complete site with no TITLE tag, i noticed it when all my pages were missing from google - took 4 month to get back in.

Apparently google considers it a new page when the title tag (plus some minor adjustments) are changed a lot...

H

percentages




msg:1432570
 11:52 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

>What was the worst thing you ever did on your site?

I have two golden rules now, both learnt from my mistakes!

>I've never done it. but i would NEVER change or test a high-paying page.

That is very smart advice, I have done it, but, would never do it again! Once you have a winning site leave it alone. If it looks old and outdated, but, makes money......leave it alone! Vanity is expensive!

I tried to remodel a very high paying oldish site (5+ years). It looked great afterwards, but ended up costing me a fortune in revenue as search engines didn't like it!....I had to change it back after a few months!

Now I only remodel a site if the "search Gods" fall out of favor with it first.

The other "worst thing" to do to a site is to change hosts for cost reasons. Once you find a great host stick with them. Never be tempted to switch to a lower cost provider because they "look" as good but are cheaper.

I have a lot of domains, and decided to switch from an excellent host who charges an arm and a leg for bandwidth to one who offers a lot of cheap bandwidth (data transfer volume). The cheaper host has been nothing but trouble, so now I'm moving all the sites back to the expensive host again. It has cost me 100+ times the potential savings in downtime, problems with hosting support, and just time messing with it.

"If it isn't broke, don't fix it", definitely applies as a golden rule also!

bbunlock




msg:1432571
 4:17 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can beat all the above easily and I cant actualy beleive im gonna admit it.

ok I have a very popular phone site that offers free downloads of wallpaper etc, anyway its been online for about 5 years and over time has been hit badly by people stealing bandwidth, they just put a link to my wallpaper, ringtones etc on there site, people download them but never visit my site.

tried loads of things to counter this including hotlink protection on all the files in question jpg, gif, mid, mp3 etc but all that did was stop them from displaying the wallpaper etc on there site.

the problem is that all my downloads are run through a download script, downlod.php so even though the images were not displayed on the other sites they could still click and download, I had the brilliant idea of now adding .php to the hotlink list and if someone clicked the link on another site it would send them to my home page great idea NOT

for a few days I noticed BIG drops in bandwidth and thought it was working but noticed that my adsence income took a BIG nose dive in the process, can anyone here guess why?

I get around 4,000 visitors a day from google and the other search engines and a few hundred from links on other sites, but becuase all my pages are php and I added php to the hotlink protection list all hell broke loose, if anyone clicked on a link to my site from any search engine or any other link the server gave them a "not allowed" page, the only people that could get to my site were those that typed in the url or had it stored in there favorites.

I lost thousands of visitors a day for the few days (about 5 days to be honest) and lost a few hundred dollars in the process, I mean when I think of it now I cant believe how stupid I was, I mean I banned google, yahoo, msn and every other link to my site for nearly a week.

there you go beat that

Hobbs




msg:1432572
 5:17 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

there you go beat that

sounds like a dare to me..
In addition to the above post that lost me between 4 to 6,000 dollars trying to diversify on CJ, this one should give you goose p!mples:

I had started off hosting my site with a company whose name contains an eye and a power.
This site grew over many years of hard work to become THE authority site in its topic and coverage, I am talking major authority and tons of visitors, content and unsolicited incoming links..
In the process of growing I was delaying the move to a dedicated server as much as possible (stupid) until suddenly the site went offline, and stayed offline for over 2 weeks, turns out that terrible hosting company pulled the plug and blocked me out due to excess resources usage, which I found out after 11 days of calling and emailing into vacuum.
lost income, lost links, lost loyal visitors, sleep and a lot of hair too!
now hand me that cwown and stop all posts.

jetteroheller




msg:1432573
 5:34 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

I found out after 11 days

How can this happen? Even on vacation, I check ever 3 or 4 days

Hobbs




msg:1432574
 5:39 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

They only came clean with a reason after 11 days

Play_Bach




msg:1432575
 5:44 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

> until suddenly the site went offline, and stayed offline

Reminds me of the classic "Crash! The Web Hosting Company from Hell" article by Jim Daniels:
[sitepoint.com ]

david_uk




msg:1432576
 7:19 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Got involved with an e-book. A publisher contacted me with a view to me advertising the book. No problem with doing that, but the book was crap. Somehow I got dragged into re-writing the book for an agreed slice of the profits in addition to commission for sales.

Sounds great, but spent a fair amount of time on the book and it didn't sell one copy! The publisher decided to commission the book without doing any real research as to what market there was for it. I think he was looking at high paying keywords in the main. I did think there would be more of a market than 0 books though!

The other problem was that the ad for the book seemed to be affecting adsense earnings, so it ultimately had to go. I simply chalked the episode down to experience!

mzanzig




msg:1432577
 7:33 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Worst thing ever? Introducing premium subscriptions without having done a full market research for my niche. Slashed traffic by 40 to 50% and failed to monetize in any noteworthy amounts.

Reverted to the old advertising model after about 4 1/2 months, and it took several months to get back to old levels (of traffic).

Yeah, that was my dumbest mistake ever!

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