Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Google’s Sandbox is not the place to play

I learned a pretty big lesson yesterday. For one of our redesigns in motions, I’ve included the live link to the pages for folks to review our work to date. I’ve just learned that this is poor form.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reaching out to various folks for their input and feedback. Well, with our work on the National River Cleanup Week taking shape, I wanted to share my efforts with our designer in Wyoming for his thoughts.

Over the last couple of years I’ve learned a great deal from and have a lot of respect and admiration for the services they provide to progressive nonprofits. succeeds in providing nonprofits the technical expertise with a persistent 30,000' view. In my experience, either you’re a skilled developer or a keen strategist, rarely both.

Anyhow, when I shared my efforts to date with, I learned of the potentially negative implications of making your test URL links live:

As soon as the Google bot indexes your blog, it will find the page links to NRCW and then attempt to index the pages. You don't want your NRCW pages indexed yet because they aren't complete--those may lead to broken links later if Google fails to remove them, which it frequently does, and thus you may end up in Google's sandbox--one of my clients just emerged after 18 months for a similar offense! Also, I will have to disconnect the form now; we don't want the public accessing this form because I haven't installed any security protections yet.
A fairly large bonehead move, so I removed any and all National River Cleanup links from the blog and from now on will only have screen shots. This blog is about sharing my experience and learning from others, but I don't want to bring down the house in the process.

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