The great thing about the world-wide web is that it is, well, world-wide. And it’s a web. Anybody, anywhere, at anytime, can find your website – which is a great thing – if you sell product worldwide.
However there are several big downsides to being exposed to the whole world. The vast majority (99.9%) of malicious site attacks and spam originate from outside New Zealand. Even relatively above-the-board sales emails offering genuine IT, marketing or online services from India, China or the USA are hitting our inboxes in ever increasing numbers.
Website analytics also takes a hit. Imagine figuring out how genuine, local customers are interacting with your site when they may only account for 10% or less of its total traffic. Google Analytics does allow you to filter out traffic from various locations but it’s another cumbersome process to deal with when most business owners simply want to review the basic stats and get on with their day.
Finally, and probably most importantly, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is compromised. Google marks down your website if the majority of your traffic bounces (visitors leaving your site after visiting one page), or are only on your site for a few seconds rather than minutes, as offshore visitors tend to.
One safe and simple solution to the above for those of us only interested in reaching a kiwi audience, is to geo-lock your site. Essentially this means that only visitor traffic from specified locations will be able to see your site. You could include or exclude any number of countries – for example you may want Australia or other selected markets included in your online ‘bubble’.
I’m trialling this strategy on my own site – iconmarketing.co.nz – and will update you on how it goes but early indications are good. Attempts to hack into the back-end are down and analytics is looking much cleaner. For now I’ve allowed Australia and USA access but the rest of the world is shut out.
In terms of setting up a geo-lock for your site, it does depend on your website software solution. There are many options so it’s best to talk to your provider and ask them to set this up (if you have a website hosted with ICON, talk to me today and I will set it up for you for free).
A final caveat. Seasoned hackers that are intent on breaking into your site can get around geo-lock restrictions in the same way that someone really wanting to break into your house can still do so despite locked doors and security systems. It’s just a lot harder. Which means someone else in the street may be the unlucky target.