Englesos' BELIEVE IT......OR NOT!
We all make excuses, sometimes true ones; sometimes questionable - other times blatant porkies that need stepping on good and hard.
Here are a few you may get to hear (because I have heard them both first and second hand) and a little background for you to construct a suitable response for when your webmaster lays them on you.
Your site was sabotaged on Google/Yahoo!/Whatever but I'm working on fixing it..............NOT!
The hell it was. Google and the like are getting increasingly hard to manipulate and so talk of malign individuals damaging your progress with some form of internet voodoo is tosh. The only way to sabotage your site is for your webmaster to use dodgy (Black Hat) techniques for furthering your progress which will almost always backfire and hurt you progress even perhaps to the extent of getting you banned.
I can promise you top rankings on Google/Yahoo!/Whatever..............NOT!
Oh yeah? You just get that in writing specifying for which search terms you want to be top. If your website is http://www.throckett.net then any Google search is going to make you number on for that unique domain name even without my multi-thousand Euro help. Likewise "throckets in Cyprus" is of limited value without the extra "t" and if you are not in Cyprus.
Demand relevant search terms and set a specific time frame then watch the guy say er...well...umm and back away.
The server was hacked. That's why your site was down for 48 hours..............Believe it.
It can happen - just not every month. Irritating as hell but true.
The server was hacked. That's why your site is lost and you need a new one..............NOT!
With any reputable hosting company there is a backup system to prevent this happening - if the site is dynamic it might get lost in the event of a total and near-biblical catastrophe engulfing the data centre but HTML is still on the webmaster's computer so if it really IS lost then it is his/her fault.
Your dynamic site's software is nearing end of life and needs an upgrade..............Believe it.
Nothing is forever - consider windows 3.1, 95, 98, Millennium and XP. If the site has been up and running for a few years then it may be time for a design/software refresh anyway.
Certainly a decent hosting company will have doubts about hosting antique scripts if only from a security viewpoint.
For a site that (technically) lasts forever - choose HTML.
Obviously if the site is only six months old then we need to ask why the webmaster was installing borderline extinct software in the first place.
Regular content updates help with Google placings..............Believe it.
As far as anyone knows what these guys want, yes - they seem to like fresh content. Rather than coughing up for updates though, consider asking for a blog like Wordpress, for example, that you can use for chatting to your readers about what you think and feel on a more spontaneous basis.
The server does not have a statistics package..............NOT!
Yeah - right. And my webmaster's car has three wheels and no heater. Yes I know it's possible, but is it probable? And who is the webmaster stupid and short sighted enough to buy/use it? Regardless of the facts of this issue - they HAVE to be kidding one way or the other.
The server does have a statistics package but you cannot have access - it's only for webmasters. I'll print you a (heavily edited) digest..............NOT!
So I own the car - complete with wheels and heaters - I'm just not allowed to drive it without the webmaster's kind permission and even then the webmaster will be holding the wheel.
Sounds fair to me......
The server does have a statistics package but they are of limited value until the site has been up for a while
Let the data accumulate for a few months before you can make meaningful decisions based on performance. Get together with your webmaster and talk things over at that time with a view to where you are going from here.
Downtime happens once in a while for server upgrades and the like..............Believe it.
It does happen - once in a while - as server software gets upgraded of the technicians stick in a new disk or more memory.
But like being hacked, once a month is not acceptable. Once in the proverbial blue moon - OK
So, that's it for now. Every time I go to close this article out I think of another one but I need to draw the line somewhere - so it's drawn.
I think the gist is that the site is there to work for you, and whatever the excuses are for it failing to do so, ultimately that failure is unacceptable. So if your webmaster just says "well - er - um" then there is a problem here.
However, if your demands are too unreasonable then surely you will rapidly run out of webmasters willing to deal with you and wind up with a DIY monstrosity of a site after learning the hard was that number one on Google is not as simple as sending them a stinky e-mail so they have to apologize.
A cooperative webmaster will work with you to achieve your goals and expect paying for the trouble he or she takes. Listen to them, seek competent advice - not just any moron who says that he knows all the secrets despite the fact that his site is number 2,500 on Google, and develop a relationship that will benefit you both.
It's a learning process and a process of development for both of you - Believe it.