2 years ago a new client phoned me in a panic ‘Lara my website has gone? How can I get it back?’ luckily I was able to recover his website for him.
This particular client had a website for many years but it had gone offline. When he contacted his website developer it seemed that the web developer ghosted him. The phone number was disconnected and all!
The client was not a tech-savvy guy, he doesn’t really use the internet but he has a business so knew that a website was a must. His past web developer had created his website along with invoices for the digital services that they had done for my client.
So the web dev handled it all for him. My client knew he was getting leads and work from his website and other platforms but he couldn’t tell how much was derived from his website performance.
Since the ghosting, we have recreated his website and scoured the internet looking for where the business was promoted and trying to gain access to things like the business’s Facebook page and Google Business Profile. It’s a lot of work but in the end, his business was suffering without an online presence which needed to be changed stat!
I like to empower small businesses, mentor and share knowledge. I would never want anyone to go through what my client had gone through. The headache is not worth it.
As the saying goes, Knowledge is Power so here are 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 Lara P Digital we include the cost of most software licenses with our care plans which can be quite a saving.Check out Lara P Digital’s Website Care Plans
Website Owners Manual
I provide a website owner’s manual with all Websites projects. Clients are given their logins and a list of themes and plugins used on the website.
If a client is maintaining their own site I 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.
My basic Website maintenance package is 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…however it would take a natural disaster or a life-threatening situation for me to ghost a client.
Small businesses do go out of business and sometimes without giving notice. Whilst I have no intention of ever closing Lara P you can 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 however, when doing so, 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. It’s a nasty situation but these things happen, unfortunately.
This company is paying $30,000 a year to this 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, that 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 my 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 on a new site
The 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 may look like the cheapest option but, is it? There are many ways to a website but do you have the time to move through the learning curve and put towards creating your own site?
I regularly underestimate 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 to put towards creating your site or is it better to use that time on your zone of genius and outsource the task to a web developer who can create a site that performs well and looks great?
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 your needs.
Choose a platform
Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, and 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 have 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.
The Dreaded Ts & Cs
Check the terms and conditions of Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly, Webflow and ShowIt and double-check if 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 business 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 around.
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, you can find them on 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 are 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
I am a WordPress Developer because I come from the era of websites being created by writing 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 open-source 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 gives you limitless possibilities 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? Let’s 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?
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.
What is the best WordPress Theme?
Lightweight themes that are fully customisable with clean code are best for SEO, UX and your clients. LaraP.Digital is built with Kadence and it is my preferred theme for many reasons.
New Website – Professional
Hiring a Professional
Before you hire someone, make lists of what you need. This will help you make the right choice from a massive sea of choices!
There are 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 imagined. What you thought and what you receive can be very different and you may not have the ownership you were led 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 is it so poor you can’t use it.
I outsourced some content creation 2 years ago and by having my details on a contract they were able to use it 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 with an 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 them.
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 it’s 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 are good and bad. Some people are great at selling (my worst skill) and some people do great website development.
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 on the site – If the list is long, it’s 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.
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 are 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 and if you were looking for a reputable website designer, who can whip you up a website in a day (no jokes!) you can check out my Website in 1-day package here!
Until next Time
Let’s get your website sorted!