Technology: love it or hate it, you have to live with it. Sometimes I have the desire to go live on a cruise ship — off the grid. But, alas, I have a business to run and clients to serve.
However, it does get a little difficult when your business email stops working or your website domain name (URL/web address) all of a sudden points to the wrong site. Or the posts that you thought were scheduled to go out didn’t. Even the incessant error messages can drive you crazy.
Major Website and Email Issues Story
I used to host my website with Siteground. I moved it from GoDaddy on the advice of a friend of mine who’s a website specialist after my site was hacked twice in 2014. My domain name (the .com web address) was still registered with GoDaddy and pointing to the site hosted (residing) on Siteground.
Everything was running smoothly until I started getting notifications from Sucuri (ad), my security company (also signed up for that after the hacks), that my DNS address had changed for my azsocialmediawiz.com domain. I thought it odd, but didn’t think too much as I was busy doing work for clients. (The DNS address is like telling the post office where your house is located.)
Where did my site go?
I wanted to copy a blog post of mine to re-post it on the SCORE blog and my site wouldn’t come up. What was coming up was my old giselleaguiar.com domain and subdirectory which I had set up when I first started my business. Yikes! What’s going on! Since it was a domain issue, I logged into my GoDaddy account and looked around to see what could be wrong. Not finding anything out of the ordinary, I called tech support.
They said it was a Siteground issue. So over I go to Siteground and started a support chat. There were a few issues and they cleared it up and my site was back up.
Then, every time I wanted to send an email from my business email, I’d get an error message that iMail (the email program for Mac) couldn’t connect to the server. That happens every so often and it usually clears up on its own.
Now, my email was left at GoDaddy and everything was working fine till Siteground made some changes to the “MX”. I won’t go into detail, but it has to do with which mail server your domain name is pointing to. So after the tech support person at GoDaddy told me to go to Siteground, I decided to move my email over to Siteground — have everything in one place. Sure.
Now that you’re confused, let me interject something here.
The reason you want to have a business email address with your domain name is that it looks more professional. Having a Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL address is OK, but to look more legit for branding purposes and to give yourself credibility, it helps to have and address like “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
With that said, I was getting anxious that anyone who’s been trying to reach me via email was not getting through. I emailed my clients and some business contacts to use my Gmail address (it’s a backup – which is why you always want a backup email). I switched my site’s contact form to go to Gmail as well as my email on Facebook and LinkedIn.
So after spending hours with the Sitegound tech support, it seems my Mac’s iMail program didn’t like their servers or firewall and we couldn’t get the mail setup. I tried to go back to GoDaddy, but that wouldn’t work. Eventually, I ended up having Siteground set up a forwarding to my Gmail account. So now my business email forwards to Gmail.
I have since moved to LightningBase (ad), which makes my site load faster (which helps SEO), but I still had issues with the business email. So, it still forwards to my Gmail account. Sometimes, we have to settle.
Lessons learned with all this technology fun:
- Always have a backup business email. Since you need to set up a Google account for Google My Business, you might as well have a Gmail account. It’s accessible from anywhere and easy to setup on Outlook or iMail.
- Have everything in one provider. Some of my web friends would disagree, but after this incident going back and forth between 2 service providers was a pain. I would have moved my domain name to Siteground, but I had just renewed it for another year on GoDaddy. I didn’t want to go through the hassle of changing it.
- If you don’t know what you’re doing with the technology, don’t be afraid to say so and get help from trusted sources. Watch out, because there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there who just what to take your money. If it sounds too good to be true it is.
- Back everything up. I lost files when a hard drive died and lost some emails when I switched providers.
- Block off time regularly to check on your technology. Make sure your website’s being backed up and it’s secure. If you would feel more comfortable having a specialist just make sure your website stays secure and running properly, I recommend OnSiteWP. They specialize in managing the security and backups of WordPress websites.
- Security is important. I use Sucuri (ad) and if it wasn’t for their warning messages of the DNS changes, I would not have known that there were issues.
- Don’t yell at the tech support people. Stuff happens. Their job is to fix problems and make you happy. I have to say, even after all my frustrations, both Siteground’s and GoDaddy’s tech support people were gracious. And they worked Saturdays and Sundays, 24 hours a day. AND now with COVID-19, most are working from home and there are delays! Be patient!
- Have a plan for when stuff happens. Living in Phoenix we don’t get many natural disasters, but I’ve lived through 6 hurricanes in my lifetime. It’s happened that major tech companies have been hacked or have lost power and they’re down for hours. Be prepared to work around it. Know where your website or ecommerce hosting provider is located. Also know what their tech support hours are and have their support phone numbers in your cell phones. And be prepared to spend some time with tech support.
Rely on 24/7 Tech Support
If a technology company doesn’t have 24/7 tech support, don’t use them.
As entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, we’re working odd hours as well as weekends. When something crucial is down, we need it fixed right away.
I’ve had my business email address for over 6 years. It’s everywhere — directories, business cards, flyers, social media profiles — everywhere! Having it down was crazy! It wasn’t till a client called me that he tried to email me and it bounced that I knew I had to drop everything and deal with it.
We can plan to retire off the grid, but in the meantime, learn to live with technology — it’s all around us and like it or not, we need it to function.
When Third Party Tools Disconnect
I depend on a lot of “3rd Party” tools. These are tools like HootSuite, Buffer, Dlvr.it and others that are major time-savers when posting to social media, creating and curating content. The way they work is through an “API” connection from each of the social networks.
These are notorious for disconnecting themselves. LinkedIn disconnects every 3 months and the tool will send you an email that you need to reconnect LinkedIn – pain!
What you have to take into consideration…
You’re working with a few entities that each one, by themselves, can malfunction….
- On your end – your computer and your Internet connection.
- The social media network – they are down, having issues or are updating their systems.
- The 3rd-party tool – they are down, having issues or are updating their systems.
Yes, the social media networks have their down-times, too. Not too long ago, I was trying to update a client’s Twitter and I kept getting an error message. I tried again, and again. I finally gave up. Then, I made a note that I still had to do the update and the next day, it worked fine. They must have fixed the problem.
Don’t Ever Disregard Emails from your Service Providers
I could tell you some sad stories of folks who have lost their domain names, websites or both because they disregarded the renewal email from their domain name registrar or hosting service.
All thought that providers were trying to sell them other services and just deleted the crucial messages. Yes, they do that, but you can usually opt-out of their marketing emails — usually at the bottom of the email.
I know many of you have chosen to create and manage your own websites for budgetary reasons, and that’s fine — if you know what you’re doing. Hey, I myself admit that there’s a point where some of this techie stuff is beyond my realm of expertise and I have to go to the expert. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Moreover, in the long run, it saves you time, money and most of all, stress!
In conclusion, be patient. I know that when you’re main source of drawing income stops, it can be panic time. However, again, be patient and find an expert to fix things.