It is really easy to keep score in eCommerce.  You look at sales and you see how well you did for the day.  This post is painful to write.  Unfortunately, I have no one to blame but myself.  So, here it goes.  

The “Big Idea”

A few weeks ago I got a notice that my SSL certificate was up (SSL is a security certificate).  I mentioned this to my partner and he suggested we get an EV SSL certificate.  An EV SSL is an SSL that gives you the little green bar in your browser.  It is super extra special secure and give the user a visual confirmation that the site is secure.  I thought this was a great idea, so I spoke to my tech contractor and he suggested a company called Comodo.  Reputable, cheap, and I could get the certificate in a few hours.

Sounds perfect.

I go to the site, buy the certificate, verify everything and in a few hours….bam! I have my certificate.  I contact support from my host and they install it for me.  Good to go.

A few days later, I am going through my Trello list and tackle the task around adding a trust graphic that I get for free with my certificate.  A trust symbol is a great way for users to know that we are not a scam site.  I am convinced based on my research that it really can be from anywhere, but this one was from Comodo and said that my site was scanned everyday to be virus free (it is scanned by them).  Sounds great.  I go to Google Tag Manager, drop the script in a new tag, publish, and voila! I have a floating trust symbol at the bottom of my screen.  

I look at it on the desktop & check mobile, looks good.  I write down the date in my “important dates file” and go to bed.  For those of you that don’t have a date file, let me tell you what it is.  I write down the date of anything significant that happens on the site.  Not things like changing an email address, but things like upgrading Google Analytics, adding a trust symbol, publishing a new sitemap, etc… This way if something goes wrong, I can see if it ties back to anything I did.  I didn’t know it then but this saved me.

Houston, we have a problem

About 5 days later, we are having some conversion issues.  By issues, I mean conversion is taking a dive.  When I say taking a dive, I mean one day it was great and the next was in freefall.  What the hell is going on?  

Hmmm…A few days earlier, I deleted a bunch of blogs based on an SEO recommendation.  How could that be it? Coincidentally, Google did an algorithm update around the same time and traffic was inconsistent.  OK, that could be the issue but conversion shouldn’t suffer.  A bit strange to all of a sudden get bad traffic.  We are having some issues with our ad agency sending low quality ad traffic but its not new.  Hey partner, can we dive in a bit here?  I will write more in another post but this is where having a partner who is strong in your weak areas is key

Diving in

Thankfully we just finished a Google Analytics upgrade and we are confident our numbers are correct.  We start going through where conversion is taking a dive.  Desktop, ok, browser specific ok, tablet no good, mobile, no good….hmmm…All O/S? Android ok, IOS….50% down.  WTF?

I go through the checkout process (see my new amazing floating trust symbol…man that thing is awesome!!) and can’t checkout.  Click Click Click…. You have to be kidding me.  The bottom checkout button (there is more than one) doesn’t work.  When did this start?  5 days ago.  Didn’t I put the trust symbol on then?….I check my date file….Yup.  You have to be kidding me.  F@#$%#%!!!!!

I removed the tag and bingo! Checkout restored.

Looks like I didn’t follow the cardinal rule of tech…Always be testing.

5 figures in lost sales 5 days….a very expensive lesson learned.

Anyone else have a story to share?