Check your website!

Don’t you really appreciate your accountants and financial directors? Or am I the only person who thinks they take all the glory when the company results are good, but are nowhere to be seen when they have forgotten to pay a bill and production of that vital order has stopped! You can believe that sometimes this happens, as cash constraints mean that cheque payments are delayed. Or maybe someone in the post-room forgot to send the letters, and possibly it was not the accountants fault at all? I don’t think so.

Well imagine the scenario. Years of work for the engineers and product manager to develop and establish production of the latest line: an agreed product launch at a big press event, and an agreed marketing strategy to support the product and potential overseas agents, including a rebrand and redesign of the website. The press launch goes well, 30 editors in attendance, and there were no hassles with overhead projectors, snow on the roads, or the hand-outs.

The editors go away, to write their stories. The sales department is all trained up to take the new enquiries, this is just the inevitable calm before the rush. One of the editors tries to write his story, but being lazy, or maybe even thorough, he checks the data against what he imagines will be presented on the website. After a little bit of confusion here, and after checking the web address, he phones the relevant PR agency to ask if there is another part of the group that does actually run holiday apartments and a hotel in Cancun?

How often do you check your own website, to make sure that it still says what you think it ought to say? If you are running the website on a server hosted by a third party provider of webspace, these providers do tend to switch off all your website content quite quickly, if you do not pay the bill for the service. Suddenly your domain name is hosting holiday adverts, or whatever else will provide income from click-throughs.

This did actually happen: maybe you should check with accounts that payments to your webspace provider are highlighted for priority payment? To be fair even the accountants will tend to notice that there is a problem, if the email system runs through the same provider. However, if the website is on a separate system, when did you last think to check to see if it is still there? While doing that, look for it using a different browser, like Firefox, Opera, Safari: habitually using Firefox I have found that some links and images are not shown in this different format.