by Rob Sullivan
If you are a hosting company you may want to stop here because I am going to rant a bit on hosting. This is not a hosting issue in general, but there are specific cases where I become frustrated with web hosting companies.
Take a case which happened today: We have a long term client who is consolidating 2 high traffic sites into one under a new domain. This is a pretty straightforward - the design company takes care of the integration of the content (since it is a new domain with a new look etc.) and the hosting company is supposed to make the necessary hosting changes to redirect spiders and users to the new site from the old sites.
The new site implementation was pretty straightforward and the client now has 1 really nice larger site instead of 2 smaller ones.
The problem arose when we requested (via the client as we had no direct contact with the hosting company at this time) that he needed to place 301 redirects on the old domains to the new domains.
So the client went to the hosting company and explained what he wanted them to do. He understood why it needed to be done. All that was required was to tell the hosting company to implement the change.
What did the host say? No problem we can do that for you ASAP! Nope. Wrong.
They said why?
Now I'd understand the desire to know what the client is thinking, (you know, just to be sure the client understood the implications) and so he explained the need to permanently redirect users (and the all important spiders). And they again asked why?
At this point I was thinking why do they care? They have a client who obviously understands the reasoning, and he has explained it to them. If he is sure he wants this to happen why are they questioning it? They even went a few steps further and tried to talk him out of it, even though the alternative (a 302) wasn't acceptable.
My point is this: We made a recommendation which the client whole heartedly agreed with and completely understood yet the host questioned it, even though they are aware that he is technically savvy. They also know of us and what we do. I could understand them questioning a client with an obviously bizarre request (such as "I want to take my site down and redirect my traffic to Google") but a simple redirect on 2 domains the client is no longer using? What's to question? Even then, if the client is adamant, then why question it?
Once they figured out they couldn't convince him to change his mind (he was adamant that the 301's must be in place) they changed tactics - telling him how long it would take ("oh this will take hours of work and cost you lots of money. Are you sure you still want to do this?").
I don't know about you but I've worked with web servers before - both Windows and Apache among others and to implement a 301 takes about 60 seconds if you are slow.
In the end the client did get what he wanted but after numerous phone calls between our office and his hosting company, but this was all unnecessary in light of the fact that the host should have just let this client, who is knowledgeable and knew what he wanted, have his way. He is the one who is, after all, paying their bills (at least part of them).
Apparently they're unaware of some of the basics of customer service. And in the end, it could cost them this hosting account, because the client now has a very sour taste in his mouth over this whole issue, which could have been solved with a "yes" instead of a "why."
Head Organic Search Strategist
Enquiro Full Service Search Engine Marketing
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