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Surviving a Cyberspace Eviction

 

Website hosting is like the weather Ė your host can change direction in a heartbeat. Even if you have hired a webmaster or a company to maintain your site, you still have to be on top of things if the site needs to be moved to another ISP.

 

In February AT&T shutdown of its Worldnet service. They had hosted my websites since I started building them over 5 years ago. Thousands of individuals who had personal and/or business websites were given a cutoff date and told our sites would be gone after that. My two sites, Beyond Words Communication and Studio L to deal with consisted of over 90 pages eachplus numerous images! My first reaction was shear panic!

 

This kind of message is the cyberspace equivalent of your landlord telling you to get out at the end of the month, so now you have to start not only looking for a new place but also packing up (and then unpacking) all your belongings. Plus you never saw it coming. You were blindsided, hit head on, you now feel like a deer caught in the headlights.

 

Here are my 12 tips to help you understand and successfully survive:

 

1. Realize that panic is natural response. Youíve received bad news that you had no idea was coming. You feel either frozen to the spot or you want to run around like a crazy dog chasing its tail. Youíre normal! Reread the communication, get angry, rant, raveÖbe in the moment. Then...

 

2. Donít suffer in silence. Call a friend or a business associate. Talk to someone, not about plans, yet, just get it out of your system. Let them know how youíve been shafted, what b*stards your ISP is; After all the money you invested in them, they are letting you down! Youíve been betrayed!

 

3. Distract yourself for a while. Go take a walk, a bubble bath, listen to music, or watch a movie. Do something that relaxes you and can bring you down from all this negativity.

 

4. Draw up a list. Sit down, either at your keyboard or with pen and pad, and list what has to be done BEFORE the cut off date. You are now taking the bull by the horns and getting some of your power back.

 

5. Make sure your siteís pages are all backed up. Have a talk with your webmaster, or your contact at the company who maintains your site to develop that backup plan.

 

6. Start your search for a new ISP. Donít wait too long to do this because in order to keep your business running you will need your site to be up with the new ISP BEFORE the old one is toast.

 

7. Feel your anger. You have just been given the project from hell, the project you did not ask for, the project that will consume a lot your time and energies. Once again, donít go it alone. If you are the sole maintainer of your site, get a friend or your significant other to be a sounding board. You will need them in the coming days!

 

8. Draw up a project plan. What has to be done first, next, last, and especially when the sites are running parallel.

 

9. Practice patience. Once you have signed on with your new ISP, the fun begins. Either you or your webmaster will have to make sure that ALL your pages are uploaded. That means testing every link on every page. (once again, youíll rant and rageÖdonít take it out on the webmaster!)

 

10. Redirect traffic to your NEW site. As soon as you can, have your old site redirect to the new one. Change all the links on the main pages to go to the new siteís subpages.

 

11. Plan for the aftermath: You will have to change the site addresses on all your materials, you will have to notify everyone who links to your site about your new address. After the cutoff date, you will have lost a valuable aspect of your business: your cyberspace address! (OK, here we go again with anger as you do Google searches and see all those nice hits that are now USELESS)

12. Reward yourself. When itís all over and youíve successfully relocated your site in cyberspace, do something good for yourself. You and your website survived this eviction, so celebrate! Go to a nice restaurant, buy those pair of shoes, take an overnight trip. Youíve been in crisis mode, now itís time to relax.

 

Fortunately I do not run an online store, or make sales directly from my website. I probably lost some prospects but mostly it was time lost that I could have spent on other projects. It wasnít an easy journey but I survived and my businesses survived. So if you are facing a cyberspace eviction, take a deep breath, reread this article, and give me a call. Iíll gladly help you get through this, no costs to you involved.

 

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