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Building a site? Password protect it

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Wednesday May 30, 2007 )

Just a quick tip I wanted to pass on to those of you who have sites under construction – password protect them. There’s a couple of good reasons for this..

a) You don’t want your competition keeping tabs on what you are doing – word has a way of getting around.

b) More importantly – search engines, particularly Google, can wind up spidering (indexing) the site in that state. This usually occurs if you, or somebody viewing the site, is running the Google Toolbar which tracks your movements around the web. Google notices that the site isn’t in the index and says “aha – ve must include zis site – send out ze robots!”

Whether the MSN or Yahoo toolbars behave in the same way, I’m not sure; but Google having listed your site can have all sorts of flow on effects that cause the unfinished site to also end up being indexed by other search engines.

I’ve seen a few cases where web developers have wondered how traffic started arriving on their unfinished site and it can sometimes have some negative effects; especially if you use curse words as filler text :).

At the very least, it doesn’t give a good impression for people landing on your site to see “under construction”, half finished pages or the old lorem ipsum placeholder text all over the place. Under construction pages should never be viewable by visitors even after the site is launched; if a page is in that state, it should be dropped from your menus until the page is ready to go.

There can be worse consequences from search engines spidering an unfinished site – you’ll be ranked based in part on the content; so there is a chance you may find yourself with a lower ranking than what you may have received if you had protected the site until launch. In extreme cases, depending on the content of your site under construction; it’s possible that it could throw up some nasty red flags that will take the site a while to recover from.

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1 comment for Building a site? Password protect it
  1. Interesting article, would have been better with example of code to password protect your site or blog.

    Thanks

    jimf

    Comment by jim fillers — August 11, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

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