This is rather embarrassing to relate on a public forum but since there’s a useful lesson for you and I, keep reading and I’ll spill the beans!
For a few weeks now I noticed from my web traffic stats that a certain goal mapping product I sell was not doing so well.
Ho hum, I thought. Plenty of visitors to the sales page and I know what my conversion rate is; so what’s the problem?
Ah, the credit crunch! Of course, silly me, that must be it. Consumers now strapped for cash are stockpiling beans and candles, just in case 😉 No way will they be buying information products online until those good old economic boom days return; and feeling rather smug with my one minute marketing analysis I returned to other tasks.
Meanwhile my web stats continued as before and yet sales of that product went into a nosedive. Looking for someone or something to pin the blame on, I searched online Internet marketing forums and sure enough there were people lambasting the same credit card processor as I was using.
Now, all I got to do is nail these guys as to where/how their e-commerce order processing is fouling up. Maybe I can even get them to compensate me!
While those thoughts were running ragged, and before I went to their contact page, I scrolled down to what some veteran forum member I respect had to say.
DID YOU CLICK YOUR ORDER LINK RECENTLY?
Duh! A trapdoor opened up in my stomach lining somewhere as I read this. And I audibly cursed as I clicked on my own sales link and got a great fat PHP error!!!!
Feeling rather rattled at my lack of oversight and control over the most important part of any business making the sale, it then took nearly 24-hours (on and off) to find and repair the problem. Rather, MY problem.
What happened was that my web hosting company for this sales page recently upgraded me to a new and faster server. They even sent me an email at the time and recommended checking that nothing was broken.
I remember reading that email, doing a quick mental check and then archiving it.
Because that server upgrade broke some security software being used to encrypt scripts my goal setting site makes use of. Once I discovered that, it took about an hour to get the right security software (compatible with the faster server) and things magically started working.
A sale came in shortly after! Like a rainbow after a downpour 🙂
So what’s the big lesson?
Well, actually there are two of them. Here goes:
Don’t ignore feedback and information from others with whom you have a mutually beneficial relationship. (My ISP host offers my site to the great big world of Internet users. I pay them money for this. Win-Win!)
Check regularly that what you think works actually works! In my case, I need a daily system (preferably automated or outsourced) that clicks on the sales links and checks all is well.
If you’re an IT employee in these trying times I hope you connected with the analogy of my e-commerce mistakes and possibly your ongoing career self-management.
Number #1 is obvious but requires discipline to keep on track.
Is your resume updated?
Do you keep detailed records (while respecting your employer’s confidentiality agreement with you regarding business sensitive information) on the projects you participated in and of the contribution you made? (Hard to remember months/years later when you may most need this information for a resume update.)
Number #2 is more subtle but anyone who has been on the job market recently will get a big shock if they’re missing a vital skill set on their resume or their marketable knowledge has decayed and become worthless (equivalent to an employer/recruiter clicking on YOUR career sales buttons and getting errors and blue screens galore.)
So, when was the last time you updated your resume?
(I updated 3 different resumes yesterday for roles I’m interested in. Yes, I’m a closet slash careers guy. Career coaching is just one of the roles I enjoy doing.)
PS: For the curious, the nixed goal mapping site I mentioned is at http://goalcreationmaps.com.