Lessons Learned from Being Blacklisted on Google

When I first started creating websites, I worked with a local developer who designed great sites but didn’t want to deal with creating content. We made a fantastic team! I sold the sites and sent him the design ideas. He developed the site. I created the content.

Everyone was happy with the situation. Until he took a job with a large corporation and stopped developing websites. 

His new occupation presented an obstacle for me because I needed to find a new developer. What I didn’t realize was it also created risk. 

In addition to developing our sites, he hosted them and oversaw their security. When he moved on from website development, he continued to host the sites, but his security oversight was lacking.

Which is how my website ended up hacked and blacklisted by Google.

Luckily I had a new website in the works and another host who agreed to take on my site and clean up the virus mess left behind. It took many weeks (and financial investment) during which time my new prospects received warnings about opening my email attachments. Not a great impression to make when you’re a digital marketing agency.

Today our site and our clients’ sites are hosted by a secure website host. They update the WordPress theme, security patches, and plugins regularly for us. Neither my clients nor I have to worry about our site’s security.

No website or hosting is ever one-hundred-percent secure. Internet security is like a sponge. No one can plug every hole. As a hole becomes larger and more obvious, web developers create “patches” to cover the largest threats. A good website host will ensure those updates are regularly maintained so your site is as secure as possible.

When we develop a website for our clients, I always talk to them about hosting. Our hosting isn’t the cheapest out there. Many companies offer extremely cheap hosting, but they don’t manage any of your site’s updates or security features. If your site is hacked or infected by a virus because the security was more like a diary lock than a padlock, you’re responsible for cleaning up your site or building a new one from scratch.

By choosing a secure website host, you ensure your website won’t be down when you need it most. All the plugins and updates will be completed in a timely manner. And your business continues to shine with its stellar reputation online and offline.

Who’s a secure website host?

Many website hosts promise 99% uptime and virus protection, but unless you want to be responsible for the security of your own site, look for a host that offers more. For a little more each month, web hosts will update WordPress themes, create daily or weekly back-ups of your content, and restore your site if it is attacked. That’s the host you want to use.

For hobbyist websites, paying $2.95 a month for hosting is perfectly fine, but if you’re running a business you need more secure hosting. Expect to pay $30 a month or more for higher-end hosting. Trust me, the extra expense is worth it.

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