When Something Needs Fixing, Try the Simplest Solutions First
Note: I actually wrote this about four months ago and never published it for some reason, hence the odd time-frame references you’ll notice.
During the decade I spent working in retail sales/management in the auto repair industry, it was often a duty of the position I held to explain the various car repairs that were necessary to get the clients’ cars back up and running again.
Anyone who’s ever spent any time diagnosing and performing auto repairs knows that it isn’t an exact science, especially when you consider today’s sophisticated technology. Whenever the time would come in the diagnostics process where it was time to try something, I would explain it to the client this way: Whenever it’s not possible to diagnose the problem 100% accurately, you have to try something. When this is the case, you start with the simplest solutions and progress from there.
Sometimes I need to be reminded to follow my own advice.
Since I launched this site seven days ago, I’ve gotten several hundred visits from a variety of sources; emails I’ve sent, Twitter retweets, blog comments I’ve left for other writers, etc. I’ve already began to establish external links and my blog posts have enough keywords that they should be beginning to rank in the search engines. Yet when I check my blog statistics, none of the traffic I’ve gotten in the last week has been from search. NONE OF IT!!
I actually first noticed this fact the other day, but I didn’t think anything of it until today when I realized it’d been a week without a single hit from ANY of the search engine sites. So I started to do some digging.
The first thing I checked was my “Google XML Sitemap”, a useful plugin that rebuilds and resubmits my sitemap to Google anytime the content of my blog changes. Everything seemed fine and the last update was today. Weird.
The next thing I looked into was whether the site needed to be submitted manually. So I went through and entered the site manually to Google and Yahoo, and I subsequently added my application ID in the appropriate box in WordPress. Still nothing.
So I then messed around with a variety of other ideas I had as to why the site wasn’t registering in any of the search engines. I finally resorted to the wordpress.org codex, a useful troubleshooting resource that has gotten me out of a jam or 10. I looked around and found a few potentially helpful tidbits when I stumbled upon a post suggesting that perhaps the blog privacy settings were set to exclude search engines.
No. It. Couldn’t. Be. That. Simple.
So I hopped back into the dashboard and clicked on the ‘privacy’ link. I was almost hoping this wasn’t the solution because it’s the first thing I should have checked. This is what I saw:
In summary, I spent two hours screwing around to solve a problem that literally should have taken 90 seconds to locate and fix if I had used my head – and got to feel like a dumbass in the process. Oh well – at least I got a bit of material for a blog post out of the deal.