If you want to make money from your website, one thing is for sure, you have to mind your website. You have to keep it healthy, fresh and welcoming. If you ignore these things, you are sure to lose readers and your website popularity will surely suffer.
Google has a program where they monitor websites. If you have a virus or some kind of malware on your site, when your site shows up in Google search results, there will be a big warning there that “This site may harm your computer.” Additionally, if you decide to go to the site anyway, when you click on the link to go to the site, a warning screen pops up to make sure you realize that the site may harm your computer. If you still want to visit the site, you can click on a button that says “Visit this site anyway.” Frankly, few people will push that button when they are warned that going to your site could harm their computer. To be honest, most people will never return to the site, because they are afraid to do so.
Yesterday, I happened to visit a friend’s website and the warning came up. His site was infected with malware and may harm my computer. I called my friend on the phone to let him know. He told me there was no malware on the site, and I should not worry. He said that when the warning first started happening, he checked the site and found nothing, so it was wrong. I’m sorry, my friend, but if Google makes such a warning, you can bet that they know what they are doing. If they put up such a warning on a site that had no problems, they would be opening themselves up to a huge lawsuit. I advised my friend that he should really dig deeper because he could count on the fact that there indeed was a problem with the site.
The important thing about this situation for my friend was that this was his business site! When your business is involved, you have to be doubly vigilant and keep the site healthy.
What to do
So, if your site is identified by Google as a site that has a problem, what should you do?
Well, obviously, the first thing to do is to check the site very closely and determine what the problem is. This may not be easy to do, but it is very important that you find the malware or the hack to your site, because if you don’t, you won’t get the warning removed from Google. You can bet that you will lose at least 90% of your site traffic if you don’t take care of this. For a clue, check Google’s Webmaster Tools, as sometimes they will give you a rundown of what problems they found on the site.
If you are using something like WordPress or Joomla or some other such system for your website, check the plugins especially for malware. This is often where hackers find a security hole in your site, and when they find such a hole, you can bet that they will take advantage of the opening.
After you have identified and fixed the problems, again, you should go back to Google’s Webmaster Tools and there you can report to Google that the problem has been fixed. Google will then re-scan your site, and if they find that it has been cleaned up and is now safe for visitors, they will remove all warnings and your site will again be in Google’s good graces.
Take this seriously
If you have websites, and particularly if your sites produce your income or part of your income, you really need to take this very seriously, because having such warnings pop up can really damage your site’s popularity and your reputation. It will certainly scare potential visitors away, and many will never return.