That’s a scary thought, isn’t it?
Even scarier is that the answer is yes – you could. You could also lose all of your blog posts.
(The good news is, it’s preventable.)
An article I read earlier this week told the sad tale of a disabled veteran who ran his entire business through Facebook. He had 1.8 million followers and was making a decent living.
And then… Facebook did their October 11 purge and his business was gone overnight. Everything – all the blog posts and all of the followers.
Last year I read another sad tale, this one about a real estate agent. The company she worked for merged with another and overnight her email address and her contact list disappeared. She couldn’t email any of her past clients, current clients, prospects, or people in her sphere. Perhaps even worse, if they tried to email her, their messages bounced back with a notification saying that email address didn’t exist.
These disasters didn’t need to happen.
The sad thing is, both of these scenarios could have been avoided if the people had maintained control of their own websites and their own lists.
The disabled vet had his own website, but didn’t use it much. He hadn’t made the effort to get his Facebook followers to opt in to a list that he could control and download now and then. He hadn’t put his blog posts on his own site.
The agent didn’t have her own website. All of her contacts came through a company-owned site and her email address and address book were tied to the company.
Both the veteran and the REALTOR® were independent business people who chose to be dependent on someone else when it came to marketing and contacts.
Could this happen to you?
Could a decision made by a person you don’t even know wipe out your business in an instant?
- It could if you’re relying on any social media site to present your information and maintain your contacts.
- It could if you’re depending upon a company website or a company owned website to run your business.
- It could if you’ve opted to use a site where you pay a monthly fee for usage. What if that company went out of business? It happens.
Years ago, when we first started using computers in our real estate office, our ISP went out of business. There was no warning. We just turned on the computers one morning and had no Internet access and no email. Fortunately, that early in the game it was not a disaster.
Be safe: Own your own URL and own and maintain your own website. Blog on your own site, then direct your social media visitors back to your site to read your posts. Or, if you use a site like Active Rain, post first on your site and then on Active Rain. If nothing else, keep a copy of every “evergreen” post in your own files – just in case you need to recreate them someday.
Use a service to maintain your lists and send your email messages that will allow you to periodically download that list to your own computer. Then keep a backup copy on a disk, a thumb drive, or an external hard drive. I took my own advice and downloaded my lists on Sunday.
Owning and controlling your own website
You don’t have to be a computer programmer to take control of your own website. WordPress allows you to use “What you see is what you get” to do almost everything you could do with HTML. My own websites started as HTML, constructed by my son. With trial and error (lots of error) I learned to add content. Now I’m slowly transferring everything into WordPress because it’s faster and easier.
You may believe strongly in hiring experts to do the things you don’t do well – or things you’d rather not do yourself. I agree. I also know that if you’re not techie you may absolutely require a guru to set up your home search and your lead capture functions.
You may also want to hire an expert to write your web pages, set up your mailings, or improve your search engine optimization.
That’s OK, because those experts are working for you, not someone else. Do remember, however, that you should make an effort to understand the program. People come and go, so don’t rely completely on someone else’s knowledge to keep you in business.
By the way – This is not an advertisement for WordPress, and I suppose there may be other platforms you can choose from. I’m not techie enough to know.
What I do know is that whatever you choose, you should purchase it, not rent it or borrow it.
Don’t leave your business in the hands of someone who may decide on a whim to delete your content – and don’t leave it in the hands of strangers, or even friends, whose business decisions could put you out of business.