Thursday, November 10, 2011

Website Blacklisting? What Is That...

Are We Online's Website Performance Monitoring and Content Checking can help your online store convert more sales this holiday season.

Being blacklisted is one of the worst things that can happen when you run a business website or e-commerce website. From a basic user experience perspective, nothing can break trust quicker than people interpreting your website to be spam, malware, a phishing site, or even worse a hacked website. Website blacklisting doesn’t just happen, and with Are We Online’s website monitoring utility and website content checking tools you’ll be a step ahead in the game of preventing it.

How Does a Website Get Blacklisted?

Most people run legitimate websites designed to offer quality content, services, and goods, but sometimes the content can be delivered in such ways that have all the signatures of spam and malware. Other times, people intentionally hack into websites, alter their content, or redirect the website to another phishing site and steal people’s information or deliver unwanted content.

Once people and search engines start visiting your website, and it’s been hacked, is spammy, or installs malware, they report it. Your web site can become blacklisted rather quickly. Here are a couple scenarios showing how that can happen:

  • People report via their browser (or search engine) that your website has spam, malware, or content designed to phish.
  • Your website finds its way on to one of the blacklists and malware lists around the internet.

How Can I Tell If My Website Has Been Blacklisted?

You can manually test if your website has been blacklisted by visiting your website in any modern browser. If you can access content without any warnings, you’re good to go. If you go to your website and you see this type of message:

Firefox's website spam, blacklisting, or malware warning.

There’s a good chance you’ve been flagged as spam or malware, or even been blacklisted.

Alternatively, you can have Are We Online monitor your content and validate your website as being all good. Our service scans the most important spam, malware, and blacklisting databases to validate that your website isn’t listed amongst the ranks of “bad websites”.

Additionally, Are We Online’s website content checking and website content monitoring service lets you select which keywords you want to have validated on each page. It’s a pretty simple process. Say you pick a keyword phrase in your footer, we’ll use our website as an example. We’ll say that the keyword phrases the content monitor should check for are:

  • 1901 S. Congress Avenue. Suite 350 ( our address at the bottom of the page )
  • has your website been blacklisted ( a random line on the page)
  • Are We Online's Website, FTP, and Email Server Monitoring Features (a heading on the page)

How Can Are We Online Help My Website Not Get Blacklisted?

When the Are We Online content monitoring utility crawls your web page, it will make sure that those phrases show up exactly as you have them typed in. If they don’t it’s normally a good sign that

  • Someone has changed content – who isn’t an administrator
  • Someone’s redirected the homepage away from where it should be

Spammers and people that develop malicious malware are notorious for hijacking websites and pointing them to their websites. It’s a damaging tactic that can easily ruin your website’s credibility. Are We Online’s website content monitor and blacklisting notification is designed to help you act quickly if your website’s attacked.

Imagine if your website was attacked on a Friday night, and you didn’t find out until Monday. How many customers – or worse, potential customers – could have been affected?

Do you have a blacklisted, spam, or malware website horror story? Drop a line in the comments and we'll offer you ways to help prevent it from happening again.

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