Does Your Web Design Team Trust Their Tools?

Earl Nightingale, the grandfather of the self-improvement genre, once told a story about a man’s local business and its storefront.

In the display window, the shopkeeper had a large grandfather clock, and early every morning, he noticed that the same man walking by would stop and set his watch to the clock.

One morning, the shopkeeper was standing out front his display window, and when the man stopped to set his watch, the shopkeeper asked the man why he did this.

“I’m the foreman at the mill across the street”, the man replied, “It’s my job to set the mill’s clocktower so that everyone’s schedule stays on time”.

“That’s funny,” said the shopkeeper, “I set my grandfather clock to that clocktower each morning”.

As Earl Nightingale closes this story he adds, “a perfectly logical thing to do, but the two of them could have been of six months”.

Do androids dream if you don’t let them?

Recently we launched a web site design project and everything in the process seemed to go smoothly. We followed the steps in our checklist, crossed our T’s and dotted our I’s, and said: “Job well done”.

Except, the next day, I found Google hadn’t crawled our website. (A digital marketing agency‘s worst nightmare!) What went wrong?

The last step in any launch is to turn off a little WordPress setting that we use during web development. It’s a checkbox that reads, “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”. If that’s checked, no matter how hard Google tries, they won’t crawl the website.

So, did we forget to turn this setting off? We double-checked. Nope! We followed our checklist and did everything right.

When we changed this setting, WordPress was supposed to update a file on the server called “robots.txt” which tells bots (such as Google’s crawler) if they can access the site.

But this time, everything didn’t go the way that it should. WordPress ran into a bug, and the system silently made no changes to that robots.txt file.

As soon as I noticed this, I updated that pesky file myself and presto! Google had found us. (Our digital marketing team can sleep peacefully once more.) It was an easy fix, but it got me thinking.

Check the source.

Our web design and development team relies on so much software. These tools are complex. That complexity can accomplish great things, but it increases the chance of something going wrong. Software can report data with ease, but when something goes wrong, software tends to obscure it.

When it comes to the really important metrics, do you ever check the source? Can you check the source? We can’t always take our tools at face value.

We all love technology, but it’s no secret that it breaks from time to time. How much trust are you placing in your tools, when others are placing their trust in you?

You can be sure we’ll be adding some failsafes into that checklist.

Do you work with checklists, but still run into unknown unknowns? Let us know! Stop by our marketing agency in Downtown Vancouver and let’s chat! (P.S. We always have chocolate.)