Last month I started working with a client to recover his website. He phoned me in a panic, ‘Lara my website has gone? How can I get it back?’
The client had a website for many years but it had gone offline. When he contacted his webmaster it seemed that the webmaster had disappeared too and his phone number disconnected.
The client is not a tech-savvy guy, he doesn’t really use the internet but he has a business and had a web guy who did his website and sent him invoices for digital services.
The web guy handled it all for him, my client knew he was getting work from the internet but he didn’t know much about how.
We have since recreated his website and scoured the internet looking for where the business promoted and trying to gain access to things like the Facebook page and google map listing. It’s a lot of work but in the end, his business was suffering without an online presence.
I like to empower small businesses, mentor and share knowledge. As the saying goes, Knowledge is Power so here is some of the things you can do to safeguard this stressful situation happening to you.
With your own accounts, you will never lose your access and I recommend you gain a basic understanding of the services you have outsourced.
If you have your website developed by a professional it doesn’t mean you need to learn everything about web design or development, just enough to know what to do in the event of something tragic happening.
A great website is a dynamic website.
Technology is always advancing. As a website owner, you want your site to safe, secure, unhackable and updated using the best options available to you. Maintenance plans save you many headaches that can come with website ownership. At Minx we include the cost of most software licenses with our care plans which can be quite a saving.Check out Minx Website Care Plans
Minx Website Owners Manual
At Minx, we create a website owners manual for our client at the end of every web development project. Clients are given their logins, a list of themes and plugins used in the website.
If a client is maintaining their own site we list details of weekly, monthly and annual tasks, links to training videos and a list of contacts with who to contact if an issue occurs.
Our basic Website maintenance package being on your hosting and our higher-priced package includes hosting on our VPS server. You will have full access to your website and full ownership so even if I did disappear you could still access it.
Small businesses do go out of business and sometimes without giving notice. Whilst I have no intention of ever closing Minx Digital you never know what may happen in life.
As a business owner, the only way you can keep full control of your business is by having your own accounts and learning the basics of the products and services you are using in your business. Outsourcing is needed in business but you can outsource, be involved and be aware.
I am currently working with another client, a corporate business of 40 staff. They employed an IT company to look after all their computer services including email, domains and hosting. They are being ridiculously overcharged but now they can’t fire them as the IT company has never provided them with administrator logins and they won’t hand them over as they know they are going to be fired as soon as they do. Its a nasty situation but these things happen.
This company is paying $30,000 a year to a company because they don’t want to lose their websites and emails
The only way you can control your business is if you have ownership and knowledge in all parts of your business.
When your business relies heavily on the internet, digital marketing and your website, you want to do your best to ensure, nobody can take any of these things away from you.
What to do if your website has gone
Restore a website backup
If you have your own hosting account, you can restore your last backup.
With most hosting companies these days, restoring a backup is as simple as pressing a button and waiting 10mins.
With our maintenance plans, we also take an off-site backup once a month for our clients. This is just an extra precaution.
If you are relying on someone else and you can’t get access or a platform deletes your site due to their Terms and you don’t have backups, you may be very upset!
If only you had taken screenshots of your site….
View the Web Archive
If there is no backup to restore things get a little harder but the situation is fixable in most cases.
Wayback Machine is an internet archive of more than 431 billion web pages. And it doesn’t just take a screenshot, it stores the entire website. So you can browse through it just like you would if it were still online
Type in the URL of your website and see what comes up. Hopefully, you will find all of your site pages and you can download them and recreate them in a new site
Wayback machine is fun to play with but also very useful if your website disappears.
You need to either recreate the website or design a new one.
New Website – DIY
Things to Consider
DIY looks like the cheapest option but is it? There are many ways to a website but do you have the time to learn how to create your own site?
I regularly under estimate how long a task will take and I have been developing websites for 30 years.
For example, the days it rains, my internet service is super slow. Sometimes things on the internet just go terribly wrong and I spend hours doing something that I didn’t envisage like an SSL certificate error or a site needing a CDN that keeps going down.
Do you have a free 40 or so hours or is it better to use that time on your genius so that a web developer can use theirs to create your perfect site?
Is your site as awesome as your brand?
Web Design can look easy on all the ads for platforms like Wix but they can be a little tricky especially if you don’t have an eye for design. Will your design show your professional business in the correct light or will your business look 2nd rate?
Functionality, UX, UI, SEO
Having worked in web for 30 years I know that I must commit to learning and reading about my work every day to stay up-to-date. Website fashions change and the way people use the internet also changes.
Will your design be what people want to use? The UX (user experience) of a website affects SEO too. If you have an online store and people don’t like it (poor UX) they won’t buy your product, they will go to your competitor instead.
Take a crawl of your website so you know what you need to create. I suggest using www.screamingfrog.co.uk on the web archive page to get a list of what you need.
Choose a platform
Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, Weebly are some of the well-known website building platforms. Some of the newer builders that aren’t quite as well known are Webflow and ShowIt, which has some gorgeous feminine templates.
Whilst WordPress.org has the biggest learning curve of all the platforms, it is the best option if you aim to scale your business.
WordPress.org is self-hosted WordPress, whereas wordpress.com is a similar platform to Wix and does not allow sexwork websites so if you go with wordpress.com your website may disappear.
The Dreaded Ts & Cs
Check the terms and conditions of Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly, Webflow and ShowIt and double-check your business is allowed. Some business types are not
If you do decide to go with Wix or Squarespace be aware they do delete sites without warning so always keep a backup of your content just in case. Sometimes webarchive.org won’t have the latest version of your site.
I know of someone who was using shopify to sell cigars, the buiness is 100% legal but shopify removed them.
Squarespace has been in the news lately for deleting a Doctor’s website + they have pretty bad reviews all round.
Why I use WordPress.org
WordPress.org is open source which allows all the cool nerd brains in the world to create awesome WordPress things. Some things are in the WordPress Repository but some aren’t but you can find them with GitHub (a website used by millions of developers)
WordPress is touted as the best for SEO (search engine optimisation), which helps websites rank high on search engines such as Google.
WordPress is also the most popular CMS (content management system) in the world. This makes learning how to do pretty much anything with WordPress as simple as a Google search away. If you need help, you can hop onto YouTube and there is so many channels dedicated to WordPress design and development.
A large percentage of the internet is done with WordPress including fortune 500 companies. Billion-dollar businesses use WordPress as its extremely flexible and scalable.
Trusted by the Best.
37% of the web uses WordPress, from hobby blogs to the biggest news sites online.https://wordpress.org
The reason I am a WordPress Developer is that I come from the era of websites being created by writing the code.
WordPress is a CMS that helps you manage all the files, images and scripts so you don’t have to know how to code or manage all the elements in the backend of a website.
I like to be able to choose my own hosting, optimise my server and pages and work on every aspect of my build. I also like having access to all the integrations and plugins that come with using the largest and most popular opensource platform.
WordPress Plugins take your website to a whole new level!
WordPress Themes and Plugins
I have been working a lot lately with workflows, automation and integrations and I have built quite a few WooCommerce stores in the past year as well.
WordPress give you limiless possibility and when you think you have seen it all, someone creates something new to WOW.
If you want to add a form of 40 screening questions and conditional logic. No problem
Want to sell products on your site? Lets do that!
Want to add a membership area or community forum? Yep, WordPress can do that too.
Can you see how plugins can take an otherwise basic website and hurl it into a whole new level of awesomeness?
Pretty amazing right?
This week I have updated the Minx website with an animation on the SEO page, updated the new website questionnaire. I also added an online booking system so people can book services and discovery calls without never-ending emails back and forth to arrange a suitable time. The services I offer, integrate with my calendar and also integrate with Zoom.
Perhaps you’ve sifted through the thousands of WordPress plugins and themes out there and are wondering which ones you actually need for your site? Overwhelmed by all the choices?
With 1000s of plugins and themes with both free, freemium and paid, it’s easy to be tempted by them all, not knowing what to use or wasting a tonne of money on things you don’t need or won’t use.
Although it can be tempting to add a bucketload of them to your site, it’s important to only use what you need. The more plugins you add to your site the less secure and slower it becomes.
New Website – Professional
Hiring a Professional
Before you hire someone, make lists of what what you need. This will help you make the right choice from a massive sea of Choice!
There is a lot of web developers, designers and freelancers on the internet but if you don’t know what you need, you may end up with a site that you neither need nor want!
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Sites such as Fiverr, freelancer or Upwork may have cheap offerings but sometimes the end cost is far greater than imaged. What you thought and what you receive can be very different and you may not have the ownership you were lead to believe.
I had an SEO client spend $3000 on a website on Upwork. When I started my SEO audit I found the Upwork seller had created many duplicates of the client’s website. Duplicate sites are really bad for SEO but the seller hadn’t done anything wrong as there was no contract saying the site would not be reproduced.
Going offshore can bring many challenges such as contracts or service agreements being difficult to enforce when you are buying from a nameless person with nothing more than a PayPal account.
Just as you can pay for work that you never receive or it so poor you can’t use it. I outsourced some content creation earlier this year, by having my details on a contract they were able to use for identity theft and I lost $2000. I spoke to Paypal and my bank but they said there was nothing they could do
Australian Web Development
If you are going to go Australian, are you happy with remote or do you want a local office to visit?
These things are all important questions to think of before you decide on which way to go.
From an SEO perspective, it’s best to recreate your site with the same site structure and content. Google sees code and content so you could give your site a design refresh without affecting any SEO goodness you may have. If you don’t keep the same site structure you will have a lot of errors on your website
2020 surge of suppliers
It’s a shame to see that new wave of Digital Agencies that are basically just solo salespeople selling offshore services for a profit. In many cases with no care about the quality of the work they are providing, selling sites for $4000 that they paid $400 to have created in India.
Since the start of 2020, I have also noticed a massive surge in the numbers of website creators and SEOs in the industry groups, forums and communities I am part of. Often they join so they can ask questions and people like me can answer them so they go back to their client with the answer I gave ha
Unfortunately, there are a plethora of inexperienced newbies charging $2000 for a website or $2000 for SEO monthly retainers to unsuspecting clients. SEO takes time so you can pay out thousands before learning its doing nothing.
Today someone rudely contacted me via private message asking me to review a website. I asked who are you and why would I do that? He said ‘you are an experienced developer so I want you to check it before I give it to my client’ …. umm WTF? I was a bit flabbergasted to be honest haha
In every industry, there is good and bad. Some people are great at selling (my worst skill) and some people do great website development (this is me or I maybe I am delusional lol )
I have a few ways you can check the work of a web developer or designer to see if they are skilled or BS.
Builtwith.com – Check out the plugins that are in the site – If the list is long, its not good
WordPress Theme Detector – Check if they are using quality themes or free, outdated junk. A WordPress site must have a theme, they are not the same as the template.
What is the best WordPress Theme?
Lightweight themes that are fully customisable with clean code are best for SEO, UX and your clients. Minx.net.au is built with Kadence
A quality developer will know that site speed is important for conversions. With these 4 sites you don’t need to know much, just look for a good score. A’s, high percentages and green is good 🙂
Amazon’s calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. Google has calculated that by slowing its search results by just four-tenths of a second they could lose 8 million searches per day–meaning they’d serve up many millions of fewer online adverts.www.fastcompany.com – Mar 15, 2012
I hope you found this post helpful
Until next Time