The other day a client of mine called because she wanted to unload a WordPress site that she had purchased from some Internet Marketing gurus and transfer her posts to another site that I set up for her. I told her, no problem. All we had to do is go into Tools on the dashboard and export the posts from the old site and import them onto the new site. Unfortunately, when I logged into her old site, I found that there was no way to export her posts. The Tools function was missing. Instead there were all sorts of bells and whistles that had been added to the dashboard. Most were overkill and were costing my client a pretty penny each month, not to mention the fact that she had spent several thousand dollars taking the guru’s course in Internet Marketing.
There was also no way to go into the site from the back end (the server) because apparently it was a multi-site deal. HMMM. That meant she would have to copy all her posts and pages and then paste them into her new site. What would have taken just a few minutes was going to be a time consuming chore. Bummer! Her old site wasn’t all that fancy looking to begin with. In fact, it was pretty plain. Her new site, even though it hadn’t been up very long, was getting more traffic. Do you think she may have been taken advantage of? I’d say so.
If a high profile Internet guru tries to convince you to spend a bunch of money to set up your site, and does not give you access to the back end. (the server) I would run away fast. You will do much better setting up the site on your own or with the help of someone you trust. (at a reasonable price)
My very first blog was set up on a program that worked outside of WordPress and it was connected to thousands of other blogs. I didn’t understand WordPress at all at the time so I thought it would be an easier way to go. Plus some Australian guys where all jazzed about it and I felt they knew a whole lot more than I did. To log into my site, I had to do it through their interface instead of through the WordPress admin page. After a while, I discovered how to log in the regular way and never used the outside interface again. Thankfully, I was using the free version of the program and hadn’t opted for the upgrade. I finally decided to drop that blog and set up my own site using a different topic all together. Live and learn.
It’s important to have control over your site. That means having access to your hosting account. What would happen if you suddenly decided you didn’t like your webmaster? I just changed the passwords on another client’s site because she was afraid her former web guy would blow it up. What if something awful happened to your webmaster? This is especially true if you’re hosting your account on their server rather than your own account.
In order to truly own your website, you need to keep track of a few things, even if you are completely techo-phobic and would rather have someone else manage your site.
- Know the username and passwords for your blog, and your hosting account.
- Know your FTP username and password.
- Have access to all of your website files that are hosted on your server.
FTP (file transfer protocol) is a way you can upload large files and backup your database without logging into the server. You can do this by using a program like Filezilla (which is free) Your FTP program will ask you for your domain name (youdomain.com) a username and a password. Chances are, if your blog is set up the way you like it, you will never have to use FTP. However, if a plugin decides to go rogue and knocks your site offline, you could bring up your website files and delete that nasty plugin. If you know nothing about your file structure, I would not advise you to start randomly deleting your website files. That could be a major disaster. However, it may be worth it to learn how FTP works. The main thing is that your site is secure from others accessing it if you don’t want them to. (as in the example of the webmaster you just fired)
Think of your website as your piece of real estate on the Internet. Would you rent it out without having a spare key? Didn’t think so.