Quick: what’s at the center of your marketing universe?
Tick tick tick…
Do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of your marketing getting ready to explode if you didn’t immediately answer “my website”.
Without a website you have no home base. No place to send people where you have all the opportunity in the world – on your terms – to convince and convert.
But simply “having” a website isn’t enough. You need to care for your website like the precious possession that it is.
But so many people – too many people – build and run.
And when your website is feeling unloved and untended, things can go very, very wrong.
Just recently I had the good fortune to be invited on Mallie Hart’s “Simmer Down Sassy Pants” podcast where we talked about some of the things that can go wrong with your website. I got a little rant-y about mistakes and preventable catastrophes that I see all too frequently and Mallie gave me a good dose of “simmer down”.
Actually, Mallie agreed with every word I said and threw in her own nightmare scenarios because this is just that serious.
If you’re not scared right now, let me assure you that you should be. Because if you’re neglecting any of these absolutely vital parts of your website then your marketing is going to detonate.
Here are a few of the key takeaways from our chat and be sure to listen to the podcast for the full effect.
Your Website Is Not Tech
Me to client: Let’s talk about content for your new website.
Client: Ok, I’ll set you up for a meeting with my IT/technology/computer guy.
No no no!
Your website is not IT. Your website has nothing to do with IT. Your website may need some variation of technology to function but the fundamental reason that your website exists has nothing whatsoever to do with technology.
It has everything to do with marketing.
The biggest flaw with website-as-technology thinking is that the vast majority of business owners I know don’t consider themselves tech-savvy. Sure, they use a computer and may be a whiz with a smart phone but “computer stuff” has the same effect on their brains as “if there is a bus going 100 miles an hour east and a train going 50 miles and hour west, and the bus leaves two hours before the train then how long until they meet in the middle?” had on my brain in high school
It was probably as hard to read that sentence as it was to write it and that’s how people feel about their websites.
But it’s the wrong mindset. It results in you brushing it off as “that thing you don’t understand” or “the thing your developer/husband/someone else is dealing with.”
Here’s the truth: if it’s your website then you need to make it your responsibility.
If you don’t… well, I hope you’re standing far enough away when it ignites.
Your Domain Registration Is Your Lifeblood
There are some mistakes you can make and repent of later. They may cost you time, money, maybe even an extra visit with the therapist.
But there are some mistakes you will never recover from.
Losing your domain is one of them.
How might that happen?
Sadly, it’s very easy. All you have to do is forget to renew it.
Or maybe you think it’s renewing but your credit card expired so it never actually renews.
And you’ve probably used some random D-List Hotmail address to register it so you’re not getting the notifications anyway.
There are, as we speak, people trolling domain registrations waiting for one to expire so they can snatch it up.
They may do that because your domain is awesome and they have been secretly coveting it.
They may do that because they figure if you want it back badly enough it could turn into a heck of a payday for them.
The point is that if you fail to renew your domain registration and someone else buys it, you’re…. how do I put this delicately… screwed.
Consider the ramifications of reprinting every bit of your marketing materials – letterhead, business cards, brochures, mailings. Consider losing your search rank completely or worse, giving it up to a competitor.
The saddest thing of all is that this doesn’t have to happen. If you have a calendar all you need to do is put the expiration date on it and make sure you check your domain when that day arrives.
I feel like I’m constantly beating people over the head with something related to hosting.
There are smaller snafus, like expired hosting (which will cost you down time as you re-up), like “cheap” hosting (which can also cost you down time as you run out of “resources” or bandwidth or whatever thing your hosting provider told you was unlimited until you used too much of it) and even like an inability to access your site when you need to.
But perhaps the shortest fuse – and the thing most likely to blow your marketing up – is a lack of a backup plan.
This is where business people push the “I’m not tech savvy” panic button and decide that since setting up, monitoring and managing backups is way beyond their technical expertise, they just won’t think about it.
I don’t know about you, but head-in-sand has never worked out too well for me.
I could tell you story after story about people who dismissed backups only to end up with their sites wiped out or irreparably damaged and unrecoverable.
Do you drive a car without insurance? Do you live near the beach without flood insurance? Think of your website backup as your marketing insurance.
Maybe nothing will go wrong. Or maybe you’ll accidentally delete something. Maybe a plugin will blow up you WordPress site. Maybe a server will fry, taking your files with it.
It costs very little to set up and maintain a backup or to pay a managed hosting provider to do it for you. And when you consider it in the context of how much time, money and business it would cost you to lose everything then it seems like such a no brainer that I can’t believe there is anyone left on the planet who has a website without backups.
Ask your hosting provider if your website is being backed up. Ask how often. And if you don’t get a good answer then it’s up to you to figure it out – or hire someone you trust who can help you.
It’s Up To You
I know that for a lot of people a website is some ethereal thing that they’ve paid someone a bunch of money to deal with. And they figure that paying a bunch of money means they don’t have to worry about it anymore.
That is far from the case.
It’s your website. Your business. Your marketing. The most important thing you can do right now is take ownership of it.
You don’t have to be tech-savvy or become an instant developer to understand that you need to renew your domain name on a specific date. That you need a backup of your website. That your website is the central hub of your business and marketing.
If you’re not sure about something, just ask. Ask your developer questions like a two-year-old would ask why the sky’s blue.
Many words later I haven’t even hit all the important stuff we covered in this podcast! So if you really want to be sure you’re not missing something crucial when it comes to protecting YOUR most valuable asset, listen to the podcast and then please feel free to reach out to me if you have any nagging questions or doubts.
It’s that important.
P.S. Hop on over to iTunes and subscribe to Mallie’s podcast so you’ll get all her great content. Give it a rating while you’re there!