Today I want to talk about backups for your website (frankly for all things technology but that is for another post) and why they are so critical. It is so critical that scheduled, regular backups that they can actually make or break your website and business. People do not think this way if they are not in the gutters with business owners who have not backed up their site and now have a huge issue OR worse NO SITE AT ALL!
I have been in the trenches with business owners who host big-box hosting for cheap with no backups and the person who built their site has vanished like they are on the witness protection program…Did that make your heart sink…It did for me! All of the websites and companies that we have rescued for one reason or another had a few things in common.
One: they thought of their site as something that is a one-time cost with cheap hosting attached but it will somehow print money for them that way.
Two: They thought that the hosting company provided all the things including backups OR they did not know what backups even were.
These two things alone make me cringe as a business owner and someone who helps companies with all of their technology. It should terrify you if you do not have some sort of backups AND a hosting company that is worth enough that they have backups for you.
Okay, the last comparison, I promise. Think of your website as a huge snake that you have, for some reason, as a pet. Everything is just fine most of the time until one day it bites you. The bite will vary depending on where it happens on your body but either way, it will be painful to some degree. Websites have a lot of moving pieces that people don’t ever even see and can cause a little pain and be fixable to cause death to your company. This sounds crazy and exaggerated but I promise if you have seen everything that we have and had to work with the crying business owners who just lost their whole eCommerce business, then you would totally be terrified like we are for companies who do not have backups.
Let’s go one step further and talk about why you shouldn’t just have the initial backup that was taken when your site launched. You need to have regular backups taken of your site. Whether that is every hour or every week, that is up to you but you need it, I promise. There are tons of reasons why you should do this but let’s breakdown three critical reasons why scheduled backups are needed.
1) Your freelancer dude who built your site does not have a plan for backing up your site.
If you are lucky that have provided you a backup of the newly launched version of your site but most do not do this. This friend of a friend who built your site does not have a plan of action if your website goes down or has a huge issue with an update that breaks all the things a year later. Honestly, most people never talk to their builder again when they are doing freelance work or companies that do not provide hosting and maintenance plans.
Over the past 4 years, we have rebuilt tons of sites that got shafted in some manner due to having some issues and NO backups ever. It is super frustrating to watch because you spend tons of time and money building it out, doing the marketing, SEO, etc to get everything moving flawlessly. You are smooth sailing along at a beautiful place and BAM snake bite! Total waste of your whole investment of time and money and successful growth. You as a business owner need to ask these questions to anyone who can touch your site in any capacity so that you know the responsibilities and that most of the time it is only your responsibility (read the fine print).
2) Hackers, Malware, and Software updates are your worst enemies!
These three things can take your site down and are always lurking in the background waiting for the perfect timing and conditions to strike. If you have scheduled backups, this is not as painful for you. You might only be missing a couple of orders or contact submissions which is still a bite that stings but you can be back to business quickly. If did NOT have backups or only one from a really long time ago, then you are going to the emergency room and going to get a big bill if your site makes it out alive.
Hackers and malware are like vultures looking for the vulnerabilities on your site. These vulnerabilities are exploited and bad things happen. They cause varying levels of damage depending on what they do. For example, a hacker can make changes to your site so that your home page is redirected to a competitor in the areas or put things on your site that are not appropriate. There are a million things that can happen but if you have a backup, you can restore your site to the backup and be well on your way.
Sometimes updates can cause the pain. This is why backups and managed hosting and maintenance plans are so vital. Some updates do not go as scheduled, some create conflict, some have permissions go wonky. All of these are things that can happen even if you are monitoring closely and always up to date like the best of them. Things like these are the reasons why backups exist and are critical. You can not have too many backups.
3) Lastly, one of the biggest and most painful ones for a company is when their site breaks due to user error.
This is one that will hit the hardest if you do not have backups. What is a user error? Well, it means that you as the user did something to the site when you were logged in and caused an issue. This issue you could not undo for whatever reason and you now have a busted site that you cannot fix on your own. This means that you can hire someone to try to undo everything you did without being able to know what you did which can be very expensive in cost and time that your site is down. This could also mean that you are fixed up quickly because you have a scheduled backup that you can use to roll back to.
I have been one of the people who have had to tell an owner that they destroyed her website to the point that we can only rebuild it. Talk about heartbreaking for everyone involved. (Happy side note: the owner got a managed hosting plan with us after we rebuilt the site and has daily backups. Hooray!)
So do you have scheduled backups or are you willing to take your chances with your investment?
If you need help getting some backups set up, there are a multitude of services and plugins that help with this if you want to do it yourself. Make sure that you schedule yourself to double-check that the service or whatever you are using is working properly at least once a month if you are going to do it yourself. It would suck if you did all that work to get backups in a good place and come to find out, in an emergency, that they were not working properly. Just be careful.
OR save yourself the trouble, pain, noise, and tons of money with one of our care plans which include backups for your site. Easy Peasy!