Pennsylvania Bed & Breakfast Doesn’t Disappoint
In 2012, I redesigned a website for bed-and-breakfast that had once been an 18th-century farmhouse in rural Bucks County, PA. Ever since launching the original website in 2007, I worked with the owners to achieve two goals: 1) make the B&B easy to find on a map, and 2) make it as easy as possible to make a reservation.
In January, because there hadn’t been any updates in a year, I once again recommended making sure the site was still “web-worthy.” Even though the site seemed to be working normally, I was sure updates were inevitable. Old software on a WordPress site poses a real security threat if it’s not updated; paid software updates offer developer support.
The updates quickly got complicated. The hosting service hadn’t made any full backups of the site, so any changes had to wait while I set up a backup solution.
Then the reservations software “malfunctioned.” When the calendar year changed from 2019 to 2020, dates in the reservation software had to be edited to match the new year. The owner wasn’t sure about how to do that. After all, if you do something only once a year, how can you remember?
During 2019, the reservation software had recorded 244 reservations. With reservations good for several hundred dollars each, the website had become very lucrative for the owners. But with Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend just around the corner, the calendar wasn’t recording weekend rates!
I was able to make all the updates and set up weekend rates the week of Valentine’s Day. I also sent new instructions to the owner on how to update the calendar.
Then all of a sudden the site went down! After checking with the hosting service, I learned that during the SSL certificate renewal, the server had been misconfigured. After a few phone calls, the issue was resolved and the site went back up.
Rooms at the inn were already booked solid and the holiday weekend was a success.
What seemed like easy updates turned into a race against time. A simple website “oil change” turned into four major issues that could have cut off revenue. They’re highlighted in bold (above) and can be summarized as:
- No regular schedule for updates
- No full backups
- No review of how revenue-generating software can fail
- No idea what to do when the site goes down
Ask yourself the question: How many of these four situations could you have handled on your own? And if you can’t do any or all, do you have someone you trust who will take care of any—or all—of these situations quickly and efficiently?
If you’re not sure, please contact me at (414) 771-8906, email firstname.lastname@example.org—about a preventive site review. The site you save may be your own!