After I did some looking around in her hosting account, it appeared her domain name and hosting account were also gone.
Further investigating revealed that they had been gone since March, so a total of 4 months had passed before she realized that her website had been removed from the internet! Her domain name and hosting account had both expired, and while they were set to auto renew, her credit card on file had also expired so her products could not be renewed.
Thankfully, her domain name had not been snatched up by someone else, but what if???
While I wish I was a big firm and could diligently monitor all my clients’ sites on a regular basis, it’s just li’l ol’ me here, so that’s not a very feasible option.
Not to mention the fact that my clients are all business owners, not hobby bloggers, so one would think they would have an active role in their own marketing and be busily promoting their website and building their web presence, right?
Yes, they’re busy running their business, but making sure your website is not just working for you, but WORKING, is pretty important stuff.
So what can you do to monitor your own website?
There are several steps you can take to make sure your website doesn’t literally disappear into thin air.
- Set up an account with a website monitoring service. There are many that offer free plans that will notify you if your website is down. Three to try are Uptime Robot, Monitor.us and Site UpTime.
- Pay attention to your emails. Most hosting companies will begin sending out emails 90 days prior to your product’s expiration date. And they will keep sending them, even AFTER they’ve expired, for a period of time. Usually it takes 30 days after expiration before they will finally pull your website down and remove your products. This gives you a total of 4 months during which time you can take action and prevent theme from expiring. Even still, you can usually get your site back, but you’ll pay a hefty fee for it. Or, if you have a backup of your website you can restore it yourself. You DO have a backup, right?
- Be active in social media and driving traffic to your website. Honestly, this is the single most important thing you can do. Not only does being active on your website increase your SEO rankings, but if you’re actively driving traffic to your site you will just know if it goes down, because the people you’re sending there will tell you. If you’re not blogging, start! This will make sure you’re active, keep you monitoring your site, and really help to drive more people there, which is the whole idea.
- Use a security plugin or add-on such as the free Wordfence for WordPress. You can adjust the settings to set up a firewall to help thwart hackers and notify you of attempted log ins by unauthorized users, or malicious files that may have been inserted that can take your site down.
Your website can work wonders for your business, but only if you pay some attention to it! Websites do not fall into the category of “Build it and they will come.” They require time and nurturing, but since a website is the most important marketing tool available to you, they are well worth the effort to properly build and maintain them.