FAIL! Or How I Lost New WA Sales.

Last Update: March 18, 2016

So for the past few months I've been getting a steady amount of traffic to my site (and my WA review) as well as a steady amount of clicks on my affiliate links hence a steady amount of new WA referrals.

However, I noticed that for the past 2 weeks my number of referrals dropped significantly. I couldn't understand why this was happening as my traffic was the same.

After digging around I decided to look inside Google Webmaster's tools and saw that Google sees 79 errors on my site (404 - page not found). Hmmm.... interesting.

This is when it hit me. About 2 weeks ago I did some custom redirections between domains (you shouldn't worry about that as you shouldn't be playing with that) and I somehow managed to mess up my affiliate links.

My review was still there, hundred of people per day were seeing that review. Many were clicking on my affiliate links and they were all taken to the nasty: "Sorry, this page does not exist!" page.

Wow.
I guess this more of a rant than anything else, but maybe it'll serve as a reminder to some of you ;) Track your stuff. Track your traffic, conversions, websites. Double check everything when you make changes. Try not to mess with code or backend of your sites (and FTP) ;)

Have a great day WA!


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TheCatherine Premium
You should always do a backup before making code changes, but I guess that's stating the obvoius - you have worked that our for yourself
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DianneH Premium
Invaluable advise, thanks for sharing.

Your website is great!
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Djefferds Premium
Very good advice
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jofa Premium
I also experience this recently. This emphasis the important of Google Webmaster Tools. Use it often to track your progress.
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OrenL Premium
Analytics is your friend!
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AndiTointon Premium
I need to write a daily list of important things to do.
Great advice.
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diana57 Premium
thank you for sharing with all of us.

Diana
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helthnwelth7 Premium
Thanks for sharing! For being a newbie, these kind of errors are important to know about! Now I have a difficult time remembering things, so I'm taking note of this! Good luck and looking forward to more reviews!!
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eatsoap Premium
Ouch!

Thanks for sharing with us, it definitely serves as a good reminder for everyone to be careful (:

Good to hear that you're back on track & figured out what went wrong.
Good luck with everything!

Regards,
Henry
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ctay Premium
wow...this is a good lesson to me! Thank you for the share!
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JulietAA Premium
Hope you have all your links sorted now Alex
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Kelly49 Premium
Thank you for this post. Very helpful!
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Nazmi524 Premium
Thank you for sharing Alex. Good sharing for newbies like me.
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Jenna7 Premium
Sorry that happened to you but glad you spotted it.

Question: If I used a link checker to check for broken links and it says I have 34 broken links but GWT says I don't have any, is this fine? I removed some pages a while back.

Thanks.
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Labman Premium
Been there. Still finding some . If I touch everything soon I will have all of my affiliate links with a space in the middle removed. I feel your pain.
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NORZ Premium
Thanks for the tip bro. :)
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TheCatherine Premium
it has happened to the best of us, but we should all learn from it.
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derekmarshal Premium
Yeah, I stumbled across some guys blog on the comments section. The post was about broken link checking and a tutorial style post so..I followed the tutorial hoping to at best be able to give a good comment but OMG! ran the check and found some of my amazon links were 404 errors! horror!

this is a pretty cool tool, far easier to use than G WMT.

http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/
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AlexSol Premium
Pretty nice tool :) Just used it to fix a few 404s that even Google didn't see ;)
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Kyle Premium
Doh!! Happens to the best of us. This still takes me back to Google Adwords I believe in 2009 when I accidentally bid $17 (instead of $0.17) on a one word keyword. Had it running for two complete before I noticed and I rolled through $1,000's in adspend on this one keyword.

Live and learn! Glad you found this one without it going on too long!
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AlexSol Premium
Oh wow! Kyle you win. The biggest amount I lost on PPC was about $800 (yahoo) in a few hours by making a mistake. As you said, live and learn ;)
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Kyle Premium
That sounds like a good one too! lol Maybe we should buy:

MarketingMessUps.com

Where we can all share our awesome stories.
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Jim-Bo Premium
ooof
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jallen4 Premium
Thanks for the warning Alex. Don’t mess with code.
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AlexSol Premium
exactly ;)
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Rean Premium
Thanks for the heads up Alex. Glad you got the problem sorted.
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AlexSol Premium
Didn't ave much choice there hehe;)
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KatieMac Premium
sometimes our lessons are a bit harsh hope it is all resolved and thank you for pointing this out for us to see
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AlexSol Premium
It's all part of the business ;)
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mrssno Premium
OOPS - oh goodness - I'm glad you found that quick and had the idea to go and check - instead of assuming it was fate - now you can get back on track. Great job with the referrals! Maria
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AlexSol Premium
I don't believe in fate anymore when it comes to business. If it was working and it stopped, that means there is a problem that can be figured out and solved :D
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Pios2012 Premium
Thanks for reminding us.
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whitsunday Premium
Hi Alex. I think you just touched on one of the deepest fears of a lot of newcomers and old hangers around. The fear of breaking stuff! That is what causes an underlying stress for learners. Its kind of scary to see experienced guys break stuff too.
All fixable though. Janelle.
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mackiejw Premium
Like I always say: If you don't know for sure how to, don't do"!
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AlexSol Premium
I can see that Jaanelle.
However, I am pretty sure most newcomers will never run into this issues because they wouldn't (and shouldn't) mess with such things as code :D
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JauA Premium
Message to self .. don't touch anything!! Regards, Jan
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AlexSol Premium
... or make sure you know what you're doing. Better yet, pay an expert to do what they do best :)
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billybons Premium
Thanks for sharing, Alex! Hopefully you'll fix it quick enough to stay at the top of G search.
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AlexSol Premium
All fixed!
And as I looked at my rankings, some of them did go down. Google does not like it when you have a bunch of 404 errors. However, the rankings went back up today. For some keywords I also went way up in rankings! (was stuck at #9 for months, now # 1) :D
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billybons Premium
The highest I went so far was 14.(Temporarily).
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MyraBeth Premium
Thanks for the warning. I am too 'techy challenged' to do any of whatever you described. At least not on purpose or knowing what I am doing. I can just sit in front of my laptop and things get messed up. I don't even have to touch a key on the keyboard and something will go haywire.

I promise, I won't mess with code. At least not intentionally. :)
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Sui_generis Premium
That STINKS but you were smart enough to find the problem and fix it. Thanks for the reminder to check though. ~Debbi
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TonyHamilton Premium
Thank You Alex for this important information that we should check and recheck our information. It is not a good feeling to lose out on referrals, I also know this firsthand.

Thank you for the reminder my Friend,

Tony
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Fran1 Premium
AlexSol Thank you so much for being kind and making everyone aware of unnoticed problems that can sabotage progress. Your foresight of finding the problem and making everyone aware of it all very appreciable. A BIG THANKYOU.
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AlexSol Premium
I am rather certain that 99% of WA members will not stumble upon such issues because the training here is great. When I first started my site WA training was a lot more basic and less detailed :)
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LesleyHamlin Premium
Thanks for the advice. Hope you get your site straightened out and back to making lots of sales.
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AlexSol Premium
It's back on ;)
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MatteoMeli Premium
Thanks for the heads up Alex mate :)
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mergie1 Premium
And these things happen so easily.
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Bart87 Premium
And none of these visitors decided to contact you?
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AlexSol Premium
Not a single one.

Long time ago my email list stopped working (while I was on vacation). Eventually someone emailed me about it and I noticed that over 600 people were denied access... so 1 out of 600 decided to contact me, lol.
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ColinU Premium
Nice detective work Alex. Just shows it pays to crunch the stats :)
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gmegs Premium
That just plain s-cks Alex!
... that's an area I really don't want to have to deal with.

Really glad all is well now.
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Cathy Ling Premium
Quick questions Alex -

1) When you do redirection, do you mean 301?
2) If yes, what plugin do you use?
3) Would you inactivate the plugin after several weeks or months after the redirection?

Thanks for your advice!
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AlexSol Premium
Yes I did 301 within .htaccess. Basically I moved one domain to my another domain, I did not use a plugin but a single line of code.

However, I forgot that some affiliate links were going through the old domain. That was the issue.
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Cathy Ling Premium
Ok, that sounds hi-tech. Do you have any experience with 301 plugins?
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Sheila50 Premium
Oh Alex,
Sorry to hear about you misfortune, but glad you figured out what was happening.
Thanks for this reminder so I will for sure check out my tracking since I seem to change themes a few times a year!
Thanks
Sheila
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Sherion Premium
I never mess with my codes, etc. I am too chicken. I admire people who try though.
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AriefWibowo Premium
Good you caught the problem early.
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Loes Premium
Glad you've set things right:)
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MarionBlack Premium
At least you found the problem and were able to fix it.
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AlexSol Premium
Lesson learned :)
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Tchelow Premium
Yeah, we have to always be careful when changing backend code or site structure. It's very easy to lose everything you did.
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nudge1969 Premium
Cheers Alex.
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