Friday, August 2, 2013

Online Solutions for Troubled Times

Today's massive meltdown of hosting services such as Justhost, Hostgator, and Bluehost as well as a bunch of other services controlled by Endurance International Group and technically owned by all the same people that was caused by only God knows what but blamed on a "router" caused a multitude of small businesses to be without their websites, emails, and now telephone services for basically 6 to 8 hours.  Consumers cried foul, asked for their money back, tried to switch services and cancelled numerous accounts citing loss of dollars, missed opportunities and unprofessionalism as main reasons for taking their business elsewhere.

Yes, today's outage was an inconvenience and horrible for all those impacted.  However, server outages happen daily across the globe in one form or another to a lot of people.  Some last only a few minutes, some a few hours, and some days and weeks.  Websites get attacked and hacked, emails get blocked as spam, mechanical and technological failures occur and have always occurred.  Yes, it seems like hackers are growing, spying is everywhere and every single day someone somewhere is attacking your wordpress blog with spam comments and causing your site to crash. However, we are also becoming more and more addicted to instant access to our websites, emails and other Internet-based forms of communication.  We want to pay $2.99 for our website and have it never go down.  This reasoning is a bit unrealistic and sets you up for gross disappointment.

So, how do you save money and not have a server outage ruin your small business?

First of all, accept that server outages are going to happen and you will lose some business when they occur.  That is life. These losses can be regained in the future so don't despair for too long.

Second, don't put all your eggs in one basket.  Meaning, don't buy all your services from one cheap-o provider.  Diversify your communications.  Have backup free email accounts like yahoo and gmail for if and when your work email goes down.  Don't set up your VOIP phone service with your website hosting service and with your Internet provider.  Have different accounts.  Yes, they means remembering to pay multiple bills.   However, when one goes down it doesn't mean all go down.  If your office Internet goes out, you can go to a coffee shop and still read your emails and work on your website.  If they are all the same provider, you don't have that option.

Thirdly, develop a presence online in multiple forms.  Have a social media site as well as a website. Chances are pretty good that your website and your Facebook and your Twitter are not going to all go down at the same time.  Use your social media sites to keep up with your clients during website server outages and communicate with people who have questions.  These services are also useful when your telephone service goes down and you can't be reached.  You can quickly post that you are still open for business and give alternate ways in which you can be reached.

Lastly, maintain a positive outlook.  Doom and gloom never got anybody anywhere. So, don't you start.  These situations are momentary hiccups on the road of life.  Treat them as such and deal with them with a calm attitude and before you know it all your invaluable technological services will be back up and running at 100% with no worries for you or your clients.

You don't need to go out and buy the most expensive web hosting service you can fine.  Because, chances are, that service will go down at one point in time.  Instead, plan for the inevitable and work with what you got and take advantage of the multiple of online solutions for your business.

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