A few months ago, I wrote about the importance of backing up your site so that should your hosting fail, you have a copy of your site to restore. This article will go through the additional contingency plans that we should all have in place.
The importance of contingency plans
If one component of your site fails, what will you do? If you don’t have contingency plans in place you will suffer an increase in downtime if something untoward happens to your site.
If you have plans in place, as soon as a component fails you can replace it and keep downtime to a minimum.
Areas requiring contingency plans
As a minimum, you should have contingency plans in place for any failures in the following areas:
- Web hosting
- Revenue streams
- Staff / moderators
Web hosting contingency plans
It is important that you research and find an alternative web host so that your site can easily be moved should something go wrong with your current host. Just think about how much research you undertook to find your current host. Sometimes it can take days or even weeks to find a suitable web host for your site.
You will want to research a host’s specifications, reliability and support capabilities along with the all important price factor. It is also worth finding out what other people have to say about a host.
You hardly want to be going through all this after your current host fails. You will not carry out comprehensive research and will more than likely end up making a bad choice.
Spend the time now to research and find an alternative web host that you would be happy to move to should something disastrous happen.
Revenue stream contingency plans
Always have a backup plan for an alternative revenue stream. You may have discounted one in the past as it pays out less than those you currently use. You should still keep them in mind though, should the worst happen with your current revenue stream.
Again, do your research now – run some tests with a variety of advertising networks. Should something happen with your current revenue streams, it will then be quick and easy to replace them and minimise any financial loss.
Software contingency plans
What software is your site running? What would happen if that software were to be discontinued? What if an exploit is found in the software and the author refuses to release a patch? Always have a backup plan in place – research the alternative software packages available to you before you need them.
Some may even come with ‘upgrade’ scripts enabling you to easily transfer the data from one software script and database to the new one.
Do your research now and have these alternatives bookmarked or written down so you can move over should the worst happen with your current software solution(s).
Staff / moderator contingency plans
Do you rely on your moderators or staff to keep your site running smoothly? What would happen if one or more suddenly left? Perhaps they will resign, or perhaps they will all leave simultaneously and set up their own rival site!
It is essential to have a contingency plan in place should any of your staff leave. Have a plan in place for how you will recruit new staff or moderators – perhaps prepare a shortlist of people to invite should such an exodus occur.
Make sure that you are not overly reliant on a single staff member – make sure that if any of your staff members were to leave, you would be able to take over their role at least for the short term.
Your contingency plans
Has your site suffered because you failed to have contingency plans in place? Have you made contingency plans? Do you think the whole concept is a waste of time and effort? Whatever your opinions, share them by leaving a comment below.