If I had a nickel…tips for transitioning to a new web provider

If I had a nickel…tips for transitioning to a new web provider

Have you ever switched hosting providers? Hired a new webmaster? Lost an employee…along with the logins to all your online services and social accounts? Sucks, doesn’t it? I mean, you have a business to run, the last thing you want to do is neglect or look bad in front of customers because you don’t have your online act together.

Introducing: “If I had a nickel…”

We have been on both sides of this discussion, as providers helping our clients move to new providers, and as the new provider for a client who has dumped, been dumped or simply parted ways with a web services provider. Years of hard lessons are now coming to you, free of charge so you are prepared to make that switch when the time comes.

The complete “If I had a nickel” series:

  1. Transitioning to a new web provider
  2. Everything you need to know about Local Search
  3. Making the most of analytics and web stats
  4. What you need to know about plugins, site performance, and security
  5. Image copyright, licensing, and doing the web & social the right way

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Your Hosts:

Stephan Hovnanian is a web strategist and email marketer for Shovi Websites, author of the Google+ Pro Tips series of ebooks on Amazon, and host of a weekly webcast called Google+ Business Spotlight. Stephan distills the content and advice out there on the Web into useful and applicable ideas to help your business make the most of its online presence.

Susan Finch of Susan Finch Solutions has a background in public relations and advertising since 1986, and is a “gentle guide for clients trying new venues online.” She engages those skills as she helps create an online presence that will appeal to existing and future clients and/or investors. All these factors are considered before she constructs a suggested plan for clients. It goes way beyond an online presence.

Featured Expert: MaAnna Stephenson – BlogAid

Website | Google+ | Facebook | YouTube | LinkedIn | Twitter

MaAnna is a geek who can still speak in plain English and helps solopreneurs, small businesses, and non-geeks create sites that gets noticed by search engines and readers. Whole-site setup, consultation and training including WordPress, SEO, content, conversion, security, performance, MailChimp, and memberships.

Watch: If I had a nickel…

Show Notes and Highlights

(mm:ss timestamp refers to the above video, hit “Play” then scroll to that spot using the timeline)

4:30 Topic 1: WordPress hosting

If somebody’s looking to make a transition, what are some of the biggest pain points that happen when making a transition, and how do we avoid it? Not having your own login for WordPress, web hosting, domain registration, and any other account you have for your online presence is detrimental. Here’s a free checklist you can use to take stock of what’s going on with your web presence, but do yourself a favor, and watch these segments.

6:50 Topic 2: Domain name registration

How involved should a web professional get with respect to the domain registration?

This is your responsibility, you should register it and make sure everything is in your name. Make sure you have a non domain level email address as at least one of the contact emails.

14:00 Topic 3: The value of quality service providers

Key takeaway at 14:00 from MaAnna relative to choosing a cheap or hands-off approach to domain registration, hosting, etc. You’ll save money on domain registration but you’ll have to pay a hefty price on an hourly basis to have a professional fix it.

16:45 Topic 4: Who set you up? And what happens next if you’re down?

You are always going to be making changes under duress, and if your hosting is down, you can’t even migrate. So the real important takeaway from this section, and we covered a variety of different scenarios, is to know your logins, and make sure those logins have the highest level of administrative capability.

18:23 Topic 5: How to help yourself get help

Your website is an integral part of your business, so make sure you have processes and sites bookmarked so when you need help, you can do a little self-diagnosis before going to DEFCON-5 and enlisting the (possibly paid) support of your provider. We talked about several techniques and resources in this segment.

22:50 Topic 6a: What should a business owner look for in a new web solutions provider?

References are essential, of course. Testimonials are usually written in the “honeymoon” phase of a client relationship, so find clients that have been around for awhile and reach out to them. Another important point to remember, is that each business has specific needs, which is why they’re making a change from their current provider. Look for someone who can meet these needs, because otherwise you wouldn’t have to change. And the needs aren’t just related to your website, think about how this new provider would fit into your company culture, because they are going to be an extension of your team. Things like timezones, support processes, even billing could play a part in finding a provider that will be a good fit.

26:35 Topic 6b: Identifying expertise and specialization

Just because you’re hiring someone who works in online marketing doesn’t mean they can handle ALL online marketing. The online space as a whole has become so sophisticated that companies and individuals are specializing, so you might find out you need to hire a team of people to meet your goals.

32:45 Topic 7: Identifying your needs

To meet your goals, you need to set your expectations, and understand what it’s going to take. You might want to hire a consultant to help you get to this point if you are unsure of your goals for your online presence. Also, identifying your needs goes beyond just a wishlist of features, colors, and looks. You will want to know who will own the code of any licenses and plugins used to build your site, how migration and backups will work, etc.

34:20 Topic 8: Cleanup and Migrating and Shared Hosting

Before you make a move, go into your hosted email and clean it up. Delete your old add-on domains that you bought and aren’t using. Back up anything you can back up, including databases, and don’t need for your website. Are there still old files from previous versions of your site on the server? Get rid of them, they might even be affecting your search ranking and/or site performance.

There will come a time when you outgrow shared hosting. When that time comes, and you’ve cleaned up your accounts, consider the added security of cPanel and either a virtual dedicated server or a box of your own.

41:00 Topic 9: Investing in your online presence

Your online presence is a vital asset to the success of your business, why wouldn’t you also support that asset financially? Why wouldn’t you have a complete handle on what that online presence looks like, how it operates, what resources it requires, and what it’s supposed to do for your business? Chew on that.

The complete “If I had a nickel” series:

  1. Transitioning to a new web provider
  2. Everything you need to know about Local Search
  3. Making the most of analytics and web stats
  4. What you need to know about plugins, site performance, and security
  5. Image copyright, licensing, and doing the web & social the right way
About Stephan Hovnanian

I own Shovi Websites, a website design and email marketing company located outside Boston. I spend my days managing websites and staying up to speed with all the latest trends across the web so you don't have to.

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  • http://art-faux.com/ Arthur Morehead

    Hey Stephan, Do you do analysis on self hosted WordPress.org sites?

    • http://stephanhov.com/ Stephan Hovnanian

      Depends on what kind of analysis you’re looking for, although MaAnna is a whiz at WordPress.

      • http://art-faux.com/ Arthur Morehead

        Stephan I just now saw your reply and did not know I had to be here on Disqus to get it (it’s confusing) I wouldn’t have even seen the notification had I not been here trying to find a way to reach the Artist Magazine. Anyway is there a way you could help me with this or send me MaAnna info. via email. The time you have to put into this to keep on top of the searches is crazy but with a few things I have found (Friends+Me, Buffer, etc.) sure makes things easier.

        • http://stephanhov.com/ Stephan Hovnanian

          Hey Arthur! You can reach MaAnna via her site, http://blogaid.net, best of luck!

          • http://art-faux.com/ Arthur Morehead

            Thanks Stephan still waiting to hear back from her