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Computer key labelled don't panic

Don’t Panic! These words do little to help when something goes wrong. Your instinct IS to panic.

Everyone who has ever owned a website, social media account, or email address has, at some point in time, had a moment of sheer terror: the white screen of death, a misspelled post, or an email sent to the wrong recipient. It’s a moment when panic sets in, sweat appears on your brow, adrenaline courses through your veins, and you fall to your knees tearing at your shirt crying out “why me???” (OK – maybe not that last part, but you get the idea.)

So what do you do to address these issues? How you respond says a lot about how you are as a business person, how you work under pressure, and how resourceful you might be.

  • The Website White Screen of Death: Here’s where running frequent backups of your site will pay off. So MAKE SURE YOU RUN FREQUENT BACKUPS OF YOUR SITE. No backup? Contact your hosting company. They usually maintain backups of their servers for at least 30 days. While you may lose some of the work you’ve done recently, you will at least get a decent working copy back up quickly.
  • Website Down – No Backup Possible: Here’s where a nifty little thing called the Way Back Machine comes in handy. Did you know that there are archives of most websites online? Go to waybackmachine.org and type in your website. You can go back YEARS and see sites as they were. This comes in handy if you ever need to copy the text/images from an old site. (It’s a hoot for me to go back and see sites I built in the late 90’s!)
  • Social Media: Did you post something you wish you hadn’t? Don’t despair. Even though people may have seen it, you can always delete and repost, or, depending on the site, edit the post. A good rule of thumb here is to read and re-read everything before you post it. It’s easier to post the correct thing than to go back and correct what was already posted.

  • Email: There is really very little you can do to mitigate having sent an email that you wish you hadn’t. I can’t stress enough how much you should proofread everything before you send it. Then proof it again. If it’s important, it bears review.

The bottom line is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Planning will always beat fixing. 

And, of course, we’ve all been there, and most people will understand.