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.
In my search for a new site, I noticed that my friend, Christine Rose Elle has one of the most beautiful websites ever! I emailed Christine and she directed me to http://www.prophoto.com
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.
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Welcome back to blogland, Debi! I know it has been a really bumpy road, but I’m really impressed by your humility in learning from mistakes and allowing that experience to grow you and shape you to be a better blogger and person moving forward. What an example you are to us all! Hearing your story makes me want to learn more about the back-end of my site…I do feel a little bit powerless when it comes to coding and design, but little by little, step by step, right? Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us, and congrats on the new and improved site! Looking great! (And I love pixlr.com by the way. It’s the best!)
Debi, your abilities only surprise you, not the ones who know you. You are a creative person who loves to learn and teach. Your world is wide open.
OMG Debi, that is absolutely abhorrent! What is his reasoning for deleting all your content? I think you should file suit. There ARE backups of your content on the server. There absolutely are and do not let anyone tell you there aren’t. You CAN show that you are the rightful owner of that domain, that you’ve been using it for years, etc. And any court will force him to transfer ownership to you. Network Solutions is who you need to be in contact with. If all else fails, try the Internet Wayback Machine http://archive.org/web/web.php to grab screenshots of your old site.
I was just faced with the daunting task of developng a website for my 13yr old Massage business. So glad to read your info, very helpful, wise and encouraging !
I agree with CeCe, you are one talented lady who is not afraid to try. Tenacious is the word!
Debi…..There is nothing that a determined woman cannot achieve!
I have to say that you have really inspired me. I am so lost as I try to build my blog. I have been in some kind of stasis with it because I keep telling myself I need to hire someone to build it for me on WordPress. I am totally defeated every time I even attempt to make changes and give up, overwhelmed. Your story, as ugly a thing that happened to you…it’s inspiring. You came back 10 times better. Yourr site was very nice before, but now…as soon as I clicked on the link out of our painting group I nearly gasped! It’s beautiful! So I am sorry this happened, but I am also in awe and very proud of you. Way to overcome all of it..
You are awesome! Thank you for inspiring me 🙂
Debi, your new site looks amazing! What an inspiration you are! REALLY! I mean that! One of my fave quotes of all-time reminds me of you and this ordeal! “You’ve always had the power!” ~ Glenda, the Good Witch.
Oh dear Debi, I am SO sorry that this craziness happened to you! Your work is amazing and this new site looks terrific! Keep pushing forward and know that we are all here supporting you along this crazy journey.
you know the old saying: “where there is a will, there is a way” and it looks like you found it. Kudos to you. Congratulations. You’re one tuff cookie.
You are such a Sweet Pea. You remind me so much of myself:) I mean that in a great way. I am geeky and awkward and shy. AND YOUR VIDEO HELPED ME GET BACK OUT THERE TO INSPIRE OTHERS AFTER A LONG HOMELESS BOUT AND ILLNESS AND BRAIN TRAUMA, I am right there by YOU SWEETHEART and am sending Light and Love to You. Thank You for your courage. Nellie
Hey Debi! I am so sorry to hear about your website. Ugh. But so happy you had success with Prophoto! And the new site looks great!
Can’t wait to see you!
This made me cry. So sad yet inspiring.
So happy you have resolved your issues! I had just recently discovered your blog and was sorry when your site was unavailable.
Thanks for sharing this valuable information.
Well, I think your new site is simply brilliant and you are a doll for sharing your knowledge 🙂 Good wins in the end, I truly believe that!
You are a bright light. I’ll meet you someday. I’m sure of it.
Love, Love, Love the new site! You go girl!
Mwah, Mwah, Mwah!!!!! Those are big kisses from me. It looks gorgeous, fun, junky, vintage, and has your signature all over the place here. I could totally hang out here and put my feet up while I am at it. You did such a beautiful job!!! Such a very good post too, so valuable for so many people. I am sharing this at my FB page. Yay!!!!
I’ve never met a person – who I haven’t actually met yet:) – who has inspired me more!!! Debi, your story is so awesome it makes me want to order some CeCe Caldwell’s Paint from you – even though I already a retailer and distributor of it! You go girl!!!!
She believed she could
And she did!
Congratulations, the new site looks amazing. As I read what your (webmaster?) did to you, I felt positively ill. I know exactly how that feels as something similar happened to me once. I’m so proud of what you’ve done to overcome. You are an inspiration. I wish we could all have a go at the guy who did this to you though!
I look forward to following you on your new site, and your inspiration may have me giving the old college try to my site again!
You are the epitome of strength and determination and creativity. Don’t look back. You have a whole world out there waiting for you and what you can teach!
Congratulations Debi! The new site looks fantastic. Your hard work and perseverance certainly paid off.
Oh heck no.. I would have demanded some feedback. I am so sorry this happened to you. At least something good came out of it all. Love your new site. Thank you for the feedback.
I’m sorry this happened to u! But it only made u stronger in the end! 🙂 Glad your back! I enjoy all u do and hope to get the courage myself to do this!
Congratulations Debi! Love your new site. Many thanks for sharing your experience.
You are truly truly an inspiration…Great advice. I am glad to have it. You go girl!
I am a webmaster and I sorry you had an issue like this. we are not all like that. I always make sure my clients own their name, unless they tell me to buy it. they still have admin access to the name.
your not dead in the water just yet.
they wayback machine has a june 18th 2013 backup. the pics are not there but all your text is there. I would jump on this fast in case it disappears. just [Command-A] on the mac to select all on the page. copy it and paste in it a notepad (like notepad++) and save. each link at the top should link to its section but i am not sure if its all the data. Its better then nothing.
I tell everyone to BACKUP!!! all the time and make your site back up in atleast 2 location. online and on computer. for a secure way have a usb drive you can back up to and store it in a fire safe so no matter what you dont loose your data. no need to pay for online storage.
I hope this helps out some.
hi Dennis! thanks so much, for taking the time to provide this for me, i didn’t know about the way backup machine. this does help a lot I am doing back ups as well. lots of lessons learned. xo Debi
I am sick for you that this happened, but good for you for rebuilding your site!! Your webmaster is a despicable human being.
So so sorry you had to go through all of this mess! I hope your new site is double of the old. Sometime things happen for the better. I know you will rise above it all! Best of Luck!
YOU are AMAZING!!!
Debi, congratulations! You have endured great hardship – and look what you did with it! Your site is wonderful. Yes, this is the blessing from the whole ordeal. Great job!
Love the colorful, new website, Debi!
Keep up the good work!
You are so amazing that everyone has said every thing in every way possible with nothing but positive-ity! Congratulations on a job seriously well done!
You are so amazing that everyone has said every thing in every way possible with nothing but positive-ity! Congratulations on a job seriously well done!
Debi, you should be proud of this accomplishment. I get so overwhelmed and frustrated when it comes to this stuff that I throw in the towel, You have a great new site, now kick your feet up for a minute and admire it.
debi, I am so sorry you have been put in this position. But what a resourceful person you are now for yourself. You are also an inspiration to others who are hesitant to move forward.
I am proud of you setting this new blog up all by yourself.
I pray that the heartache in losing your old blog and all its posts will be lifted. God Bless
Oh Debbie, I can’t believe some ass deleted years of your hard work. If I knew this person, believe me, they would feel the wrath. How could someone do such a horrible thing and then sleep at night? Congrats to you for bouncing back and taking hold of the reins. You’re in control now and I am certain everything will be better than ever! My Hubbie and I own a business and we will be building our new website, very soon, so thank for the website building tips. They arrived just in time!!
Deb- you are awesome! and yes- I too believe that in the end the good prevail and karma is around the corner! hugs to you!
This is my first visit to your website, and it certainly won’t be my last. It’s beautiful! Way to go!
Congratulations and thank you for the uplifting and inspiring post on what could have been (rightly so) a vicious rant about how you had been wronged, it speaks volumes to your character.
BRAVO!!! Congrats on pulling up your big girl panties and showing the world how to make lemonade out of those lemons WITH CLASS!!! I learned so much from what you shared that I’ll be doing the same thing real soon!
I’m in Susans shop (Room With a Past), so glad you girls got to spend more time together with C3! Karen is a master at dumpster diving and I’ve learned so much from her classes….would love to have been with you guys! Come up to the bay area soon to see us!!!
Whoa so proud of you Debi
Cannot imagine what a shock to see access denied on your OWN blog
The new site looks great and is a inspiration to us all
You Go Girl
Thank you for the information, makes you realize how careful we need to be, but also to be confident to be in control! BTW your website likes awesome 🙂
I know I’m a junk hoarder, been collecting since the 80’s, hung onto my treasures, now boxed n stored in the barn. I have so much, I just hit a wall. People like me, needs a person like you. I too was nervous around a computer till I realize it just a machine. Today I’m self taught n show family n friends, how to make this machine work for them! All in the name of love.
I’m so sorry this happened to you. I would like to help in anyway I can – not technology mind you ; ) . Please contact me at Toni@designdazzle.com. I can pin, tweet, Facebook etc any of your favorite posts. Let me know how I can help…
Kudos for your determination. You’ve made a great comeback.
Oh, Debi, I am so, so sorry this happened to you but thank you so much for sharing your story and your new look rocks it!
I’m very happy that you got everything back… plus, in the end, you won because now you aren’t dependent on ANYONE else and are doing it on your own. ALSO, you were incredibly SMART to move over to a Mac… much easier to use and never any technical issues that comes with using a PC.
This exact same thing happened in a book that I’m reading right now… a Nationally known blogger, like you, had her blog stollen from her… right along with all of the sponsorships and content. You should read “Ladies Night” by Mary Kay Andrews.
PS~ I really like the look of your new site better anyway! Great job!
Debi, thanks for sharing your process and for informing us how we can avoid making those mistakes.
Just found you today and already you have taught me so much, you are a creative, generous, kind and intelligent being. thanks for beeing. < 3
I am unable to find the KIT for the online painting class…..do you still offer them, I saw it on a video….