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Ways to kill a website. Have you killed a one? how?

Let's discuss beyond the obvious, what ended up being a terrible idea

     
5:33 pm on Dec 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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There are lots of threads on what you should do to build, expand and maintain a website. A lot of that is really obvious, some are general good ideas but sometimes we risk ourselves killing a website with what it seemed to be a good idea, just because readers won't always react the same way, and SEs are not people.

So, any stories of something "good" gone wrong?

A few:

#1. Redesigning a website. Sure, keep it fresh, do it right and as some old threads said "redesign from time to time". Well I had one website with good traffic generating good income, too simple, an ugly duck. So I decided to bring a new design with all the traditional checklist points: clean, valid html, usable, redirects, etc. Despite the site being what I would have done from scratch on a new project... everything went wrong and traffic vanished. I never figured out. Later I tried another redesign, a fast site with new, fresh content keeping what I already have. Same result... So the site stays at this day with the same simple old design.


#2. This is not mine, but from the company I worked for. They decided to buy a BIG webserver to config everything from scratch aiming for speed and low cost as the overall result. Everything went wrong!. Then migrated the sites to a couple of servers. FAIL. Then everything to a new BIG server: worse!. Their OLD idea of building all the minor sites (with not so high traffic) into "X CMS" (won't say the name) sounded perfect but it became a nightmare (for them). Since then the traffic of all the websites went to another planet... Oh look at all the money they saved! (some offers allowed 30 days money back guarantee, some didn't)


What about you?
10:20 pm on Dec 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'm a little more old-school: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Sometimes chasing incremental gains can only lead to alienation of both users and SERP results.

One client with a late 1990s "table layout" web site desperately desired a cool new look thinking of all that lovely new traffic, etc. I counciled against it: 1. because of their business and products and 2. their numbers were better than any of their competiters.

I gave them what they wanted with one caveat: I could not gaurantee any results and, toward that end, double coded their site with an intro page "Click here for the old look. Click here for the new look. Click here to let us know what you think!"

Turned out few liked the change... it was too much, too quick. Fortunately the site did not unduly suffer, and some eleven years later, I am still gradually migrating the site to the "cool look" and no traffic loss.

Best way to kill a site is to make it unrecognizable ... and worse to do that over night!
11:28 pm on Dec 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It's a simple multi-step process

- Let old email expire, but don't check to be sure hosting company doesn't still have it as your contact.

- Have credit card that handles your autopay bills hacked and cancel it.

- Don't have valid credit card on file when bill comes due.

- Don't have valid email address on file when hosting company tries to contact you.

-Don't delegate someone to watch server while you're away on long trip.

- Don't notice that server is down because you're on said extended trip with limited internet access.

- Be too busy to get it back up before Google swings through a couple of times.

- Get it back up, with significant traffic loss.
7:47 pm on Jan 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Don't have valid credit card on file when bill comes due. - I killed a site like this...
5:43 am on Jan 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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- I've learned you can kill a website from a poor migration without doing the proper 301 redirects.

- Forgetting to renew the domain (happened to a coworker recently.. not good)

- Having a bad backlink profile that looks like Spam targeted exactly to your keywords (after Penguin/Panda)
 

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