To say that the last two weeks have been hellish and challenging would be an understatement, and it is with a heavy heart that I write this post.
You may have noticed that things look a little different around here, that’s because I have rebuilt my entire website working around the clock, for the last week. 18 days ago, I attempted to log into my website and was shocked to find that I was blocked from my content, soon after this, I found out that my website had been deleted….. years of blog posts that I written and poured my heart into, all of my subscribers, my blog stats, the links that I had set up from Pinterest and features from other bloggers were gone and my online income also disappeared … with just a few clicks by someone who was angry at me.
Here is a screenshot of my previous website it’s the only remaining token of what is left.
I have gone through many difficult experiences in life, (as we all do) along with the pain there are valuable lessons to be learned, when I look back I can always see the blessing in disguise .. and this is no exception.
It is not my desire to hash out publicly, the conflict I had and what went wrong, or to point the finger and say that it wasn’t fair…. I might write about that someday, but not today .
I do want to tell you what I learned from my crash course in web design and how you might prevent this from happening to you.
Make sure you are the one to register your domain name, don’t allow anyone else to do this for you.
When you register your domain, have the email contact set to your email address only, do not allow anyone else to have access to it, including a webmaster, a designer or anyone who might be helping you with your site. If you do need help try to work with the person as they help you, and by all means, change the password as soon as they have completed their work.
In my case there was a domain name that I owned since I was 27 years old, shesellsseashells.com it is a highly desirable name and I could have lost it along with debisdesigndiary.com because it was under someone else’s control, the codes and passwords were all going to this person’s email address.
Make sure you are the person to register with your host, and do not allow your designer or anyone access to your host username and password.
In my situation another person set up my hosting for me, this person was the only one who knew the password and all information was going to a contact email address that I didn’t have access to.
After my website was deleted I contacted the host and asked them to restore my files they told me that my name was not anywhere on my account and there was no record or evidence that I owned any of the content and everything concerning my website was in someone else’s name. In fact the host representative told me that this person was a very good client and they did not feel comfortable discussing anything about my account with me! At this point, I hung up the phone and cried.
By now you are probably shaking your head and saying to yourself, Debi how could you be such a fool?
….And you be would be right, I was very foolish and naïve also way too trusting and more importantly I was afraid.
IMO, Fear should never be a motivating factor.
Most of my life I have been afraid of computers, in order to understand the tech world, I had to twist and contort my mind into some kind of brain yoga. When I owned my old PC working on it would often bring out profanity that I didn’t know existed in my vocabulary . I barely understood how to cut and paste and didn’t attempt anything beyond a basic email. Before my last website I did have a blogspot site that I created by myself, but I would dread posting because it would take hours of frustration… uploading photos, creating links or adding any kind of fancy doo dads to make it look pretty seemed impossible.
So would it be a surprise if I told you that I built this entire website in 10 days without Photoshop or any knowledge of code? ( and yes I created the shopping cart the header, the slideshow,and all the pretty buttons on the homepage too!) ( I did have some help from Claire, Claire paints the awesome signs at my shop, she is a very talented artist/ graphic designer who pitched in to help me in some of the areas I was stuck on).
Here’s what changed my entire world,
Two years ago, my old PC got it’s 5th virus and I had come to the end of my rope… I slammed the lid down on my laptop and marched over to the Apple Store. I was the only one in my family who did not own a Mac and all I heard was how great Apple products are and how easy they are to use.
I took a computer savvy friend with me and purchased a Macbook, I took my new laptop out of the box and attempted to open it from the wrong end ,my friend laughed and made the suggestion that I sign up for Apple’s one-to-one support. The annual fee is $100 you can take as many classes as you want in that time frame.
I was not looking forward to attending my first training session, but I had paid the money and I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I rolled into Apple with my shiny new laptop feeling very fish- out -of -water-ish. I remember very clearly on the first day of class, my trainer’s name was Rick and he asked me, ” what do you want to do with your new computer, do you want to learn the basics or do you want to go beyond that?” My reply was something like, “oh no I just want to learn what I have to for my business. I don’t like computers, the less time I spend in front of the screen the better!”
Rick was super patient with me and very helpful and I was surprised at how easy it was to accomplish the things that I needed to do, before long I was back at Apple learning how to create videos and other fun things, in fact, in the last two years I have attended 52 sessions at Apple and counting.
Flash back to two weeks ago, I’m staring at my computer in disbelief, the screen says ACCESS DENIED and the realization hit me that I needed to create a new website as soon as possible. I started searching for options, I didn’t have a budget to hire someone to build a whole new site, at the same time I couldn’t afford to wait, my website generates income, it drives traffic to my store and helps me build my YouTube audience among many other things.
I soon found out that there are affordable alternatives and it ‘s possible to create your own website without a web master AND you can make your site look custom without understanding HTML code or photoshop!
The idea of running my own site started to look very appealing, there were many drawbacks with my old site, when I wanted to make changes it was costly. I had to rely on my webmaster to make the changes for me, as a creative person there are always things that I wanted to add or embellish and from a practical standpoint there are many things that need updating all the time, like class schedules and new products. When I asked my web designer to show me how to make changes on my own, he would remind me that there was a fee to teach me. He also told me to be careful, attempting anything on my own could do damage to my site that could potentially take hours to fix and cost me more money.
There were also storage issues, and updates and backups that need to be run all of this took my web master’s time and cost money.
Pro Photo is a service compatible with WordPress that allows you to purchase a designer template and customize it to fit your business, and they also offer excellent support!
Watch the Pro Photo video here,
After watching this video I signed up with Prophoto and had a template installed, from there I was able to customize it to reflect my business using a free online photo editing site, Pixler.com.
I am really happy with my new site and I can hardly believe that I was the one who created it, I also think my friends and family are in shock!
There are still things that need to be added or tweaked but all of that will come in time. A family member helped me get the files to my subscribers and my blog content back.
You may notice that many of my older blog posts do not contain photos that’s because the content transferred without the photos and all the older images need to be reinserted one by one… I am slowly working on this.
All in all, even though the situation I found myself in was extremely hard and painful, I do consider myself pretty fortunate to get my domain names, blog content and subscribers back. Some have asked me to reveal more about what happened and why my website was deleted, I would say that that isn’t necessary, if you take the precautions listed above, it is very unlikely that you will find yourself in my shoes.
So now I have a site that makes me happy, A lot of the old problems have been eliminated and instead of paying thousands of dollars, I paid $200 for this site, Boom!
The biggest lesson I have learned here seems to be a reoccurring one in my life…
Our world is changing quickly, we no longer have to take the traditional path, whatever your dreams may be, know that you can make them happen if you are not afraid to try,
you don’t need to a publisher to write a book…
you don’t need network to produce a show…
you don’t need a webmaster to create a website…
What are your dreams ?
Thank you so much for reading my post I am so glad you are back I missed you!
Please take a look around and let me know what you think of my new site. My online shop is up and working for any of you who have been wanting to try CeCe Caldwell paint. I’ve got two new classes scheduled this month just click the class schedule for all of the details!
PS. I’m also starting from scratch, rebuilding my page views and blog stats so if you like what you see here, please subscribe and share this post with a friend.