We had a local business call the other day in a panic. Their website, which was not hosted or managed by Kona Impact, was gone. We quickly determined that the issue was relatively minor, because though they did not pay for their domain registration, and it was still in their registrar’s grace period. All they had to do was to pay for their domain registration and their site became live again.
Here is what every website owner should do every six months. Do not count on your web site designer to do this for you unless you are paying the company to do these services for you; they are not part of most web designers duties unless you have an agreement.
1. Check the registration of your website domain. Go to DNS Goodies and check your domain in the WHOIS box. This will tell you where your domain name is registered, in whose name, and most importantly, when the domain registration expires. We recommend registering your domain for blocks of five years or longer.
Once your domain name has expired, anyone can register the name. Getting it back can be nearly impossible in many circumstances.
2. Check the website hosting for your domain. If you have a webmaster taking care of this, make sure you are paying for hosting. If you have arranged website hosting through GoDaddy or another host, log into the account every six months and make sure your contact emails are correct and your credit card hasn’t expired.
If you don’t pay, your website will go offline. If you use a template system for your website, you will lose everything. If you have a professionally designed website, your webmaster might have a backup. Your hosting company will not have a backup in most cases!
3. Go to any contact forms on your website and send yourself a message. Make sure everything is working.
It’s a common mistake to believe that things on website do not break. They do, and you’ll never know until you test them.
4. Check all links on your website to ensure the site to which you are linking still exists. Your website will get penalized in the search engine rankings if it is low-quality, and links are part of this.
5. Read every page carefully. Is all the information correct? Are there any typos?
6. Look at every picture and graphic. Is there anything or anybody that shouldn’t be on your website anymore?
7. If you have an online store, go through the order process–you don’t need to complete the process–several times with different variations of products and shipping options. Make at least one purchase to ensure that the billing system is working correctly and all the confirmation emails are as they should be.
8. Check every page to make sure it displays correctly in the most popular browsers. Check out Browser Shots as a tool that can make this easier. Remember that all browsers show web pages slightly differently and it might not be worth the cost to go for 100% perfection on these.
9. Check your website on your phone and mobile devices. If it does not display correctly, you probably have an old website or you did not make this part of your web design agreement. In some cases, it might make sense to start over; in some cases your webmaster may be able to implement some code changes to make your site more mobile friendly.
10. Review your online marketing strategies and actions with a professional. It is easy to have an imprecise and ineffective online advertising program and waste a lot of opportunities and money. Hire someone to review what you’re doing, and if you’re not doing anything, consider how you can have a more effective online presence.
These are the things we recommend that every business do every six months. From start to finish, it should take about an hour. This hour might save your business from loosing its website or domain name. It can help you find inefficiencies in your messaging, and it can help you avoid giving your customers incorrect or outdated information.
If you have a website and you want some professional help, give us a call!
Kona Impact | 329-6077