What if your blog crashes and you lose all your content?
What if you lose your email list? What if your main source of traffic fails?
What if you had an influx of bad PR?
Without contingency plans, these issues could very well turn into an online zombie apocalypse.
I bet you have a contingency plan for things such as a fire in the office or if management is on long-term sick leave?
What many online businesses fail to do is to prepare for online disasters such as dropping from organic search listings or your website crashing.
I have compiled a list of disasters that could potentially happen and plans to put in place, so your world does not end.
1. Backup Content
If you have been blogging for some years, then you are bound to have hundreds of blog posts on your blog.
The worst thing that could ever possibly happen is your website crashes, and all those blog posts disappear forever leaving you to start all over again.
That’s if you could start again and not go into a state of catatonic shock which I think I would probably do.
To avoid this downright terrifying ordeal, I regularly backup my blog so that if something like this ever does happen, I will be able to recover from it without going into a state of catatonic shock.
I would recommend backing up your blog at least every week but every day is better, depending on how often you blog.
How To Backup Blog Content
Now that you know why it is important to back up your blog; let me explain how to do it.
Before you get started, get yourself organised by creating a folder on your computer with the same name as your website.
I like to create folders in the cloud with tools such as Dropbox in case I ever spill my coffee on my laptop (which has happened before).
Each time you run a backup, you will create a subfolder that has the date of the backup for easy future reference.
- If your blog is hosted on WordPress, log into it and click “My Blogs” if you have more than one blog.
- Once you are on the dashboard of the blog you wish to backup, click on “Tools” in the left column.
- You should see a submenu appear with the option to “Export”; click on this.
- When the page loads, simply click on export and save to your subfolder.
You can also install the WP-db-Backup Plugin that will back up your blog automatically every day, week or month.
One more WordPress blog backup I like is Backup Buddy.
It’s one of my favourites while it’s a paid tool, it just works.
2. Backup Your Email List
As the same with your blog, if you have been running an online business for years and have built up an email list made up of tens of thousands of contacts, how infuriated would you be if you lost every single one of them?
I would most likely consider retirement and living the rest of my days in a tent.
Just like a zombie apocalypse, you wake up to find that the email provider you use to collect your email contacts and send emails has had a meltdown and everyone’s email lists, performance history and templates are gone forever.
This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if you regularly backup your email list so you can load it up to another email provider.
How To Backup Email Lists
You will be pleased to hear that backing up your email lists is very easy and quick to do so it is no big deal doing it every day or ever week, depending on how much your list generates new contacts.
You can download an app called Zapier which will automatically copy every contact into your chosen storage folder; again I would recommend using a cloud-based storage solution like Dropbox.
If you prefer to take matters into your own hands, you could export the email list and do the same as with the blog and create a folder named “Email List” and export your email list each day or each week and save it as a subfolder with the date you have done it.
Most autoresponders make it very easy to export your email list onto your computer so you can use it for Facebook Advertising and other custom audiences.
3. Avoid Facebook Ad Account Being Shut Down
If your main source of traffic or one of your main sources of traffic comes from Facebook ads, it would be a nasty surprise if you logged in one day to find out that your ad account has been shut down.
In fact, according to PageFair, it is estimated that ad blocking cost businesses $22 billion in 2015.
Facebook is notorious for having extremely strict compliance rules and don’t take no messing from anyone… unless you’re spending over $1 million a month of advertising that is.
This Might Help…
How To Avoid Being Shut Down
If you follow these tips to help prevent a Facebook ad account shut down, you should be on Facebook’s safe side:
- Keep up to date with Facebook’s official guidelines and Ad Policy Center. It may be a boring read, but it is certainly more enjoyable than having your ad account shut down and losing traffic and sales.
- Use ads for blog posts and webinars and not just for products and service pages. Facebook’s number 1 priority is the end user, not you. If you’re promoting valuable content, then this will result in positive signals.
- Do not have pop-ups on your landing page and videos that have auto-play. The user should always have control of what they want to read and/or watch.
- Ad text and images must not be misleading in any way nor must it use deceptive claims such as “click here for immediate access” when on the landing page the user actually has to sign up to gain access.
- Always try and log in to the Facebook account from the same computer and the same location so as to not flag warning signals.
4. Plan For A Bad PR Crisis
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”?
While all publicity is good for business, positive publicity is the type of publicity you really want.
You don’t want your first interaction with potential new customers to start off with a negative, and so it is important to have a plan in place if this bad press day ever comes.
How To Deal With Bad PR
If you have seen an influx of bad press for whatever reason, one of the best things you can do is counteract it with positive stories.
The worst thing you could ever do is go on the defensive as this will just draw in more negative comments and could lead to the ruin of your business.
If you have done some great community work in the past, remind everyone about it and ask your social following and customers whether they’d like to join in and do another one.
Also, look to improve on the product, service or customer service that was the origin of the bad press, so it does not happen again.
Listen to the feedback and action on it rather than being defensive or believing that you know better.
Many of the success stories I’ve heard from software companies, include CEOs and founders getting into thick of support tickets and finding out what issues are causing grief for their users.
5. Plan For Google Search Issues
I always tell marketers and online businesses never to have all their eggs in one basket, i.e. never rely on one source of traffic to keep your business running.
We all know how temperamental Google algorithms can be and so if one day all is going well with your online business because you are on page 1 for all your target keywords and 90% of your online sales originates from organic search results, and then one day it’s all gone!
A new algorithm has hit and now you are nowhere to be found in the organic listings, and all those sales have gone.
I have been a bit extreme with this example, but it still surprises me how many online businesses rely on one source of traffic for the survival of their business.
How To Plan For Google Search Issues
The contingency plan for this scenario is to build up your presence on other marketing channels, so if your organic traffic did significantly drop one day, you would still have sales coming in while you work on fixing the issue.
A great way of doing this is to build your social media following; they can be very loyal to a brand if you interact and build rapport with them.
No traffic source should amount to 90% of your sales or even 80%.
Even the ratio out by increasing activities on other channels so if disaster strikes on any of them, you are not left with a huge hole in your online revenue.
Zombie Apocalypse Survived
It’s not in the imagination that these things will happen they can happen in real life to anyone of us.
If you believe that “this will never happen to me” and, therefore, won’t need a contingency plan, then that is your choice but it’s an avoidable risk.
It’s always best to be safe than sorry isn’t it?
I believe so, which is why I have a plan for most types of online apocalypses.
Have you ever experienced a disaster such as any of these?
How did you overcome it? I want to hear all your stories by leaving your comments below.