An email blasted into my inbox from a somewhat former client today. He was panicked, “Facebook deleted my profile, I missed the appeal date and can’t get in. I’m worried about my business page! Can you help?” I get about a dozen variations to this each week from clients who just went away for a while, didn’t need my services regularly, or were referred to my by my clients. Because we are on good terms and this person still truly trusts me, I was able to get into his business page on Facebook. He’s building a new profile with an email other than @yahoo.com and we’ll get him access soon. Not all of the SOS emails and calls are that simple. Many times it’s related to soon-to-be-former hosting companies, website maintenance providers or former agencies that have disappeared – taking with them all of the passwords and access to all online profiles.

LESSON 1: Have a back up person you trust as an admin for social media pages such as your LinkedIn and Facebook business pages.

Pay them the 15 minutes of time once a month or so to run through everything to make sure it works as expected.

It’s understandable that not everyone wants to know how to manage all aspects of their online marketing strategy. It’s time-consuming, and the best practices change frequently enough it can be daunting to keep up. If you only use social media because you’re supposed to as part of your online marketing strategy, it becomes such a dredge you drag your feet through with a digital ball-and-chain attached to your fingers as you post your obligatory posts. Understandable, yes, but that doesn’t get you off the hook. This is still YOUR business. You need to always have full access to the highest level of YOUR stuff. It’s not just websites that are focused on product orders and fulfillment that matter. This is your reputation when you are sleeping and no one calls you to get to know you. You must have a list to it all. Any company that helps you with these tasks must give you full control and access, even if they continue to help you with the regular tasks.

Another client that I hadn’t heard from in two years called me – panicked. Seems to be the usual tone. I start by letting them get the frustration out, lay blame where they think it is. Then I ask them to tell me the story of what happened. What led up to it? Were they changing hosting companies, providers, domains? This client was stunned that the emails from GoDaddy were real. She really did need to pay for hosting and domain renewal. She thought they were scammers so she sent all GoDaddy emails to spam. She never saw it coming until a prospect mentioned they couldn’t get her site to come up, and her mail was coming back as “undeliverable.” My client just thought it had been a quiet week or two.

LESSON 2: Visit your own website weekly, fill out your forms monthly – ALL OF THEM.

The grace period for the domain was gone. She was VERY fortunate that none of the bots slurped up her expired domain. She was able to buy it again. Her site was gone. There were no back ups because she stopped paying for them over a year ago. No one had worked on her site for over a year. She had nothing. I knew how to get her OLD site back to a degree. Her site wasn’t super complex – a few forms, slideshows, videos, not a full ecommerce site or something with a complex private section for members. Basic brochure site with a blog. “I can rebuild it in a day or two.” I reassured her. She calmed down, didn’t care how, she was grateful. I’m grateful she knew to contact me. I had her purchase her domain and put me in as the tech back up for it. We found her a good hosting solution and started fresh. It was a great opportunity to thin it out, lose many outdated content that wasn’t generating and traffic. We got the mail set up with Google within an hour and she was able to do her best to get going again. She had been using Google before, so it was a matter of setting up all the verification with her domain records.

LESSON 3: Paying Google to host your mail gives you access to their support team.

They have always been helpful and solved my issues with mail and business profiles. It’s worth it!

You never have to accept from a supplier that they will set it up FOR YOU. It’s YOURS. You need to be the main email account, the main admin, the credit card you can enter yourself if you don’t completely trust your supplier. But if you don’t completely trust them, why are they your supplier? Even if you don’t ever login to the back end of anything, you can. Any web services provider should be willing to show you how to EASILY edit your own site. You should never have to ask them to make text edits for you – ever. When they build something for you, it needs to be done in such a way that you can pop in and make a quick change. These are the most common rescues I make – people who get a website built by a provider they can only email and don’t have access to make any changes to plugins, templates, basic content other than blog posts. That’s just wrong. If this is you, you are being held hostage, digitally.

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