I mean, outages aren’t rare. It happens all the time. Our websites go down sometimes. Services stop working for a few minutes to a few hours. But that doesn’t bother us because intellectually, we understand that technology isn’t impervious to failure.
The reason why Facebook is such a big deal is that, unlike your or my blog, Facebook is big. Huge! But precisely because it’s as big as it is, when the platform goes dark for over 5 hours, it matters. And there are lessons to be learned from the incident.
There are the obvious ones, like, maybe don’t use Facebook to access all of your accounts across various platforms. Or, don’t build your business solely on Facebook. And a bunch of other things, but I won’t bore you because I’m sure you’ve been reading all sorts of esoteric articles about this incident already.
But, I want to point out a few things that us bloggers should take away from this incident and adopt business practices to safeguard ourselves. We already knew all of this, but a gentle reminder cannot hurt.
Back up your work
We enjoy ownership. That’s why so many of us own our own websites. But think about it. Do we really own it? We rent servers from hosting companies. As much as I love SiteGround, this Facebook incident is a reminder that even my awesome hosting company can malfunction.
So, what should you do?
Save your work!
A good hosting company like SiteGround will save your website database and files every single day, for free! But, these are saved in their server. What happens if their servers go down?
So, make sure you have at least another backup method in place. You can do that easily with a plugin like UpdraftPlus. Once you set it up, you can forget about it. Doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes to set it up, so why not, right? Also, with UpdraftPlus, you can save your backup copies in multiple locations simultaneously for extra precaution.
Sure, even UpdraftPlus can malfunction, or the external Cloud services can go down, or your local drive can fail. But still, chances are that not everything will stop working at the same time. (Unless, of course, you’re Facebook and you own Instagram and WhatsApp and run everything from Facebook… but we’re measly bloggers, so we don’t have to worry about that!)
Don’t put all the eggs in one basket
For us bloggers, our blog is our home. The main business hub. The headquarter.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a branch office on a different platform.
The best home away from home for a blog is, naturally, the email list platform. For me, that’s ConvertKit. But, is ConvertKit invincible? Nope! I mean, can ConvertKit break? Sure it can!
So, what can you do about that?
Export your entire list about once a month. It’s easy and you can do that with just a couple of clicks on ConvertKit (and on any decent email list platform, really.)
So, make it a habit to do that, set up a reminder, jot it down on your monthly blogging to-do list.
Pinterest is great, but do work on your SEO
When I was a brand new blogger, Pinterest kept me afloat. It’s mighty difficult for a brand new blogger to start showing up on the first page of Google or any other search engine for the matter. But Pinterest is a different type of search engine and it’s a lot easier to leverage that platform to get traffic to your blog.
That’s what I did and I did it rather well!
But who’s to say Pinterest won’t ever break? And what if it breaks not just for a few hours but for a few days? What then?
Well, that’s where SEO comes in. Keep working on your SEO from day-one. No, that doesn’t mean you’ll show up on Google from day-one. But if you keep up the good practices, then eventually you’ll start gaining traction.
I’ve been blogging for three years now, and finally, I’m at a place where more than 50% of my website traffic is organic via search engines, a.k.a. Google. It didn’t happen overnight, but at least, if Pinterest goes down for a few hours now, my website traffic won’t drop down to zero.
Understand the platforms that run your business
We treat Facebook and Instagram as two separate platforms. In many ways, they are, even if they’re owned by Facebook. But on October 4, both Facebook and Instagram went down.
Understanding the tools you use to run your business is crucial because it allows you to make smart decisions.
If you depend solely on Facebook and Instagram to run your business, think twice. Because at the end of the say they’re both run by the same system.
Basically, when you think about multiple platforms for your business, consider completely different platforms.
I’ll give you a simple example.
My online courses are on Thinkific. I use Thinkific’s native email system to communicate with my students. But what happens if Thinkific goes down (has already happened a couple of times, btw.) Then how do I communicate said downtime with my paid students?
Well, it so happens that Thinkific integrates seamlessly with ConvertKit via API. I have set it up so that every time someone purchases a course, they’re automatically added to my email list (on ConvertKit) with a unique tag. That way, unless both Thinkific and ConvertKit (two completely separate platforms) go down simultaneously, I can still communicate with my students one way or another.
Hindsight is a bitch. If a Silicon Valley company like Facebook can suffer from oversight, any of us can, regardless of what precautions we take.
But still, it’s best to do what we can when we can.
Also, while this Facebook incident was a harsh wake-up call, don’t get too paranoid. Do what you can, and leave the rest to providence. Or luck. Or chances and coincidences… whatever floats your boat.