Technical Survival and Common Wisdom

When you’re marketing online, “common wisdom” tells us that you have to be everywhere – Blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Article Directories, Forums, and the list goes on. An entrepreneur could easily spend all day just writing out their to-do list without getting a darn thing done!

So step back and ask yourself 2 questions:

1)     Do I really need to be everywhere?

2)     What’s the benefit of being where I am online?

There are lots of great answers to these questions, but right now I want to talk about the benefits of being in several different places online as a form of “Technological Survival”

Yep…turns out that the time-tested advice of not putting all your eggs in one basket actually makes sense for your online business. And even though I’m a big advocate for having as much control over my business as possible, the reality is that if you’re online you are going to have to (and you should) properly leverage some third party systems.

Consider this Scenario in your Online Business

Just imagine if you woke up one morning to discover that your website was down. Not working. Doors shut. Not a single person trying to get access to your website or buy your products is able to get through. In fact, they get a lovely message that says “Server Unavailable”

Now…as most of you know – technology always works so of course this would never happen, right!…..*sarcasm intended

Now imagine that after 4 more hours your site is still down. Then, an entire day goes by as you work with the technical support team at your hosting site, and pray earnestly to the internet gods that this one last trick is going to get you back online, back in business and back to serving your customers (and making money).

Are you sweating yet?

What would you do? And…what would you do if this continued for several days before the problem was discovered and corrected?

Well, this has happened to me…a couple of times in fact with various customers. Yes, I have been up at 3:00am, on Skype, with a tech team as they speak to me in foreign tongue using words that sound like “squirrel” and “migraine” and “cashew” [aka sql, migrate, and cache]…but at 3:00am it’s all Greek!

And most of the time it has little to do with anything we did to the site! It just sort of, well…happened.

The Case for Being Everywhere…

Well, not quite everywhere…but a few key places. Let me share with you some of the benefits of having an online presence in more places than just your blog. And, I’ll also share some survival tips for keeping your business humming along should you wake up on the wrong side of the technological bed.

1)     Backups: First, be sure to get backups of your website on a regular basis. I would put this into your calendar to do about once a week and yes, you can have someone on your team do it for you.

2)     Videos: You should be using video for marketing your business and you should be using YouTube to host those videos. Can you host them on your site? Of course…but you can get more leverage from YouTube. Plus, if your site goes down, and you have established a footprint on YouTube where people come to find you, then your business can continue to deliver value even if your website is down.

3)     Facebook: If your customers are on Facebook, you should be to. Ditto for Twitter. Your community will still be able to find you if you are having a technical glitch on your website.

4)     Email management: Aweber, Constant Contact…it really doesn’t matter. If you’re collecting emails in your marketing (and you should be), then your email service will allow you to keep in contact…constantly! (pun intended!)

What to do In Case of Online Business Techie Emergencies

This list is in no way exhaustive…and I would love to hear your tips as well, but here is a great way to keep your sanity and keep your online business running if your website should go down. Some of these tips are for when the delay is for an extended period of time (like hours and days)…not just a few minutes:

1)     Breathe

2)     Approach the whole thing with a “solution” mindset…not a “Heads are gunna roll” attitude. Trust me, how do you think I got a tech person to Skype with me at 3am…for hours!

3)     Wine helps….

4)     Check the Twitter hashtag for your hosting company – if they are having problems (which happened recently with Bluehost) most likely people are already tweeting about it and the company itself is giving updates.

5)     Then be proactive and let your customers know what’s going on.

6)     Make a video giving a quick message: “Hey, you’ve probably noticed the website is sick. Not to worry, we are working on getting that fixed! In the meantime, be sure to check out our training videos on YouTube, or go on over to Facebook to get the latest and greatest information…” or something like that. The main point is to let people know that you are still in business.

7)     Do the same on Facebook and Twitter. You can put the link there to your Video.

8)     Email your list.

9)     Take notes. Pay attention to what parts of your online business are affected when your site goes down.

  • Is it just one of your sites?
  • One of your webpages?
  • Does your email get affected (such as support@yourdomain.com)?
  • When the problem is fixed, what do you have to do to get everything back up and running?
  • If you needed to migrate the site, did everything make it?
  • What didn’t make it?
  • How can your online business system be improved if it happens again?
  • Did all of your Opt-in pages go back online?
  • How about download pages, and thank you pages?
  • Do all of the plug-ins still work?

10) Then, debrief and improve your system.

This is an opportunity to get very organized especially if you have a large site and/or if you have multiple sites that you work with all on the same server. It might be time to put things on a dedicated server or use more than one. That’s a decision that you’ll need to make.

For example, your main money site may be hosted on one server and your secondary sites all hosted on a different one.

In any case, this is not a reason to panic. It’s just the price of doing business online. And the truth is that given the amount of worldwide website traffic it’s a miracle that any of it works…really!

Keep backups, have a plan in place to contact your customers, and keep track of where your key webpages are. Then…get on with the business of delivering amazing value to your customers.

Until next time…

Dawn

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