Around 10am one morning this past Fall, I had panicked call from one of my new clients, who I will call Christine.
Christine was near tears as she explained that her web hosting company had mistakenly labeled her account as “terminated” even though she had fully paid for her website hosting services through the Spring. She told me that the host had completely deleted her website.
Calls to the hosting company's customer support (and boy do I use the term “support” VERY loosely) ended with responses of “sorry, we can’t help you” and “you’ll have submit a ticket to our email address” (which I will note, still wasn’t responded to *days* later when we formally cancelled the account).
Christine relies on her website heavily to attract and engage her clients (as I’m sure you do as well!) and was in full-on panic mode, thinking she had lost her primary marketing vehicle and that she would have to invest the time and money to re-build from scratch (not to mention the hit that her SEO rankings would take in the process).
So when she called me, I was incredibly relieved to be able to remind Christine that we'd put a backups plan in place for her when we started working together and that her website was safe.
Because we had that plan, we were able to immediately jump into action, restore her website on a brand new hosting provider and have her back up and running that same day.
Those who’ve spent any time with me know that I tend to prattle on about security and backups on a regular basis... but so many business owners focus almost exclusively on what their website looks like and not at all on protecting it.
If you have a WordPress powered website, it’s really important that you do NOT simply rely on your hosting company for backups. At one time, Christine’s website host used to be AMAZING -- they had stellar customer support and in fact they were a company that I used myself for my hosting in past years. Then they were bought out in 2016 and their service completely *tanked* and things changed almost immediately.
You can’t put the fate of your website in the hands of your website host.
You need to have a solid Plan B.
If you have a WordPress powered website, I strongly advocate getting VaultPress.com implemented. It should only take your web developer an hour to set up (or you can take a stab at it yourself!) and then it’s just $3.50/month for their basic personal plan.
It’s unbelievably cheap peace of mind.
Christine occasionally still calls me brilliant for getting her back up and running so quickly, and while the compliment feels awesome (I can’t lie!), it had nothing to do with brilliance. It just comes down to planning and being prepared and everybody can do that.
So now it’s your turn. Is your wedding business website on WordPress or another self-hosted platform (i.e., you aren’t using a website builder like Squarespace or Wix or Weebly or whatever)? Make sure you have a backups plan in place.
Brenda Cadman is founder of Wedding Business Websites and provides web development and website marketing education opportunities for the wedding industry. She is also the host of Website Marketing for Wedding Professionals, a free community with over 2800 members.