It was Good Friday yesterday, and, although I was in the office, I was having a pretty chilled day. I had Facebook running (as I always do) and up popped a notification: I’d been tagged by my friend Kelly from Cygnet North East in a post on the #DoDigital group.
Freddie Matthews of Hanging by a Fred had found out that she wasn’t getting notifications from her contact form on her website and she’d lost at least 30 sales because of it. She’d already contacted two WordPress developers and neither of them could find the problem. She was desperate.
I asked Freddie to message me and give me some logon details for her website and I found the problem within a couple of minutes (I’d had my suspicions before I logged in). Basically, the WordPress mailer wasn’t talking to the host’s SMTP server.
I logged on to the host, changed a couple of settings, backed the site up, then installed a plugin and tweaked the settings on the Dashboard too. It took me a little while, but most of that time was spent downloading various files.
While I was in the Dashboard, I also noticed that the site had been hacked. Freddie doesn’t blog at all, but there were about 10 blog posts on there, some selling products, some just saying ‘”You’ve been hacked by…”. I asked Freddie if she’d like me to clean it up, and of course she said yes.
I’m pretty certain I’ve cleaned the site and closed all the loopholes, but hackers are sneaky so we’ll have to wait a little while to be absolutely certain.
And the outcome…
Well Freddie’s site is now talking to her again, and her sales are coming through. This was her feedback on the original Facebook post:
Finally having a productive day! Things starting to go right I hope! The fabulous Jackie Latham has sorted out one of my major website issues! I’ve made orders, new products, and going to start the paperwork jobs next! I’m on fire ?
Was Freddie to blame for this? No, not at all. WordPress is a fantastic tool, but most people don’t understand the intricacies of things like how the mailer talks to the host, or of how best to keep the hackers out. Freddie had done her best by installing WordFence and keeping her plugins and themes up to date, but the settings she was using weren’t tight enough, and there were problems with out of date underlying software. To be honest, I wouldn’t expect anyone but an experienced WordPress developer to know that kind of thing.
I’m hoping very much to persuade Freddie to join my monthly support plan so that she can relax and know that her site is now in safe hands.
Do you know if you’re losing business from your website? Would you like a website review? Give me a call and I’ll do a free review for you and let you know what sort of state it’s in.
Or why not just sign up for one of my monthly plans? Then you too can relax and know that I’ll worry about your website so you don’t have to.
My name is Jackie Latham and I own and run Jackdaw Web Design. I’ve been in IT for over 30 years, and spent most of that time in operational support looking after British Airways’ intranet site, which is one of the largest in the world and serves over 50,000 employees. Supporting websites is, quite simply, what I do.