Can I stop people from finding my website until I finish it?

Believe it or not, this is one of the most asked questions I get asked on a daily basis.


Nobody is going to find your website. That is the harsh reality of the Internet.

People think they can open a website, tell the search engine what they want them to send people to buy and collect the money flowing in from all the sales.

Based on the early 2008 reports, Google Inc pays about $1.5 Billion to acquire traffic each quarter. Now you expect them to bring you traffic when they are paying people like you to send them traffic.

Lets look at a different scenario. Lets say you get a phone installed in your home for a new business.

How many people are calling on the first day or week to buy the service you are selling? I could be wrong, but I would guess none.

So why do people think that the Internet is any different? It is not.

Until you get your name out there, until you create a customer base, until you advertise, you wont have anyone going to your website.

99.99% of new website owners give up in the first few months because nothing is happening. No people are showing up, no sales are being made and there are no big paychecks showing up in the mailbox.

So what are you to do to get traffic?

Well, look at google, they buy it. For just $1.5 Billion.

You can buy it from them at a slightly higher price, or you can advertise, advertise or you can advertise.

The next thing people do is buy 10 websites since one is not getting traffic, maybe if they have more websites then they can get more sales.

Hello! Is there anybody in there?

I don't care how many phone lines you install in your house, you still wont have people calling to buy your product.

I always cringe when people ask if they can prevent people from getting to their website while they build it.

Since they have not typed even one word on one page and they are already concerned that they will have too much traffic and people will be buying their product before they are ready to sell it.

I can be pretty certain that they don't understand that it will take some hard work to actually get people to the website and it will only be a matter of time before they give up.

I had one client with a retail store. He called me after 6 months and complained that he did not have any sales on the website.

I asked how he was advertising it. Did he have the website printed on the sales receipts, was he e-mailing his retail clients, was he doing any advertising. At which point he told me that he did not want his customers to know about the website which had the same name as the retail store. He wanted to let the 2 businesses run on their own.

Now, he went to the store every day, hired employees, ran TV ads, newspaper ads and paid $3000.00 a month for a store front and he was expecting his $20 website to do all that by itself without anyone even working on it.

After 10 minutes of him screaming at me that this website was a horrible waste of money for him I was just speechless and in shock.

For some reason people think the Internet is magic. That it will do everything for you, pour customers into your lap and feed you endless piles of cash.

Now, had this gentleman advertised his website while advertising his store, he certainly would have made back the $20 a month he was spending on the website. After all, that is one sale in most cases.

I guess what I am trying to say is that you should not expect anything from your websites.

You would not buy a wrench and wait for it to fix your car, you would not buy paint and wait for it to jump on your walls. So why would you buy a website and expect people to be there the day you open it?

Close my website while I update it?

Worse than that I have people that have had sites up for 10 years that want to take it down wile they work on it.

That means anyone that tries to get to the website will see it is offline. The search engines will remove it from the searches and customers will assume you went out of business.

If you are redecorating your store, do you close, lock the doors and turn off the lights?

Nobody would ever do that because people would get the wrong idea.

But forget what people think, how many people are using even your website?

If it takes one day to update the website, will you lose a million visitors? Probably more like 20 and that is not enough to worry about those 20 people seeing some changes as your website is updated.

If you had 10,000 visitors you a day you would never consider closing it, would you?

When people see movement they know you are busy. They will come back later and see what is new.

There is no crime in making updates, people expect it and there is no point in doing that under the cover of night. Just make the updates as you normally would in restocking shelves at a normal store.

People like seeing changes, there is no reason to act like there is some secret about it.

The worst thing you can do for a website is to take it offline!

In fact, when payments are not made, website hosts like us take websites offline. In our case, we get people screaming that the page in google, yahoo or bing is the offline page and not the one they had up.

Guess what?

That is tough luck, because you let the website expire and google came and saw it was closed. Now it could be weeks before the content is updated in google. Now the tag line in the SERPS is "Website is OFFline".

Needless to say, customers are never happy, but they really can't blame us for them not paying their bill.

The reality is, even being down a few hours can damage a website and anyone that has had this problem knows better.

So don't ever ask your website host to turn off the website while you work on it. You will not be happy with what results. Work on the site while it is online and don't sweat the details.



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