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How to Prevent a “Red Sox Collapse” with your Internet Business

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

Red Sox Collapse David OrtizOn Wednesday night, the Boston Red Sox made baseball history with a complete collapse in a single month.

At the start of September they had a nine game lead over the Tampa Rays for the final playoff spot.  And on the last night of regular series they lost their final game; thereby eliminating themselves from the playoffs.

Sidebar: Okay I know some people don’t watch baseball (or have it their country.)  So here’s an article that described what happened.  Sorry to my overseas friends.  I couldn’t think of a football, cricket, or rugby analogy :-)

The “Red Sox Collapse” will become legendary because they’re a really good team.  They have excellent hitting.  A great closer.  And an okay starting rotation.

In other words, there should be no reason why they missed the playoffs with one month to go.

But it happened.

What’s my point?

With an Internet business you could experience the same thing.  One day you’re making a solid income with a loyal group of followers.  And then suddenly you get hit with a disaster – Something that destroys part (or all) of your livelihood.

You can minimize  disasters that happen to your online business.  In fact, there a number of ways to prevent them from happening in the first place.  My advice is to always have a “worst-case scenario” for when something goes wrong in your business.

Today I’d like to talk about five different disasters that can happen with an Internet business.  In addition, I’ll provide some ideas on what to do in case YOU experience it yourself.

Disaster: “My only source of INCOME has completely disappeared!”

You can quickly lose a source of income.  Sometimes overnight.  I’ve seen it happen to countless people; countless times.

Just imagine if you live in California and make money by promoting Amazon.com products.  Then one day Amazon decides it will no longer pay affiliates from California.  So in a single day this income is GONE.  The scary thing is this is something that happened a few months back.

Solution -–>

Memorize these simple three words:

Diversify.  Diversify. DIVERSIFY!!!

Never have one source of Internet income.  This is a disaster waiting to happen.  I recommend  building a network of different revenue sources:

Sometimes you can’t control when an income source will dry up.  What you can do is build multiple sources of revenue.  That way, when the inevitable happens you’ll still have a leg to stand on.

Disaster: “My only source of TRAFFIC has completely disappeared!”

This disaster is sometimes directly related to an income source.  We all rely on web traffic for the growth of our Internet business.  And often this traffic can go away as quick as a flick of a switch.

Just ask anyone who relies on Google for 100% of their traffic.  Seriously; Google doesn’t care about your business.  They don’t like something about your site?  Presto!  It’s gone from their search engine listings.

Are you scared yet?  You should be…

Solution -—>

Again…you should diversify traffic.  Never rely on one website to promote an Internet business.  This is called a single point of failure.  One thing goes wrong and your income  is toast.

Definition: A single point of failure (SPOF) is a part of a system that, if it fails, will stop the entire system from working. They are undesirable in any system with a goal of high availability, be it a network, software application or other industrial system.

At the bare minimum, you should get traffic from these sources:

  • Creating a loyal readership by engaging with your audience
  • Building a responsive email list where you’re NOT just promoting products
  • Using search engine optimization (SEO) to rank on a variety of keywords
  • Participating in social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+
  • Creating a multimedia channel like a podcast or a YouTube channel
  • Writing content on satellite sites like EzineArticles.com, Squidoo.com, and HubPages.com

Having lots of traffic sources is the best emergency plan around!  It’s the best way to avoid something catastrophic from happening.

Disaster: “My _____  account has been deleted!”

This is similar to losing a source of traffic…but a LOT worse.  We all use sites like YouTube.com, EzineArticles.com, and Aweber.com to grow our online businesses.

Unfortunately it’s easy to forget that we don’t control these properties.  These sites don’t like something about your account?  It’s gone!  And if you don’t have saved copies; then these are gone as well.

Solution—->

Always maintain a copy of any content you’ve created.  Keep these in a well organized folder which you can access at a moment’s notice.  In fact, keep a separate copy in a back-up disc or thumb drive.

If have you an email marketing program like Awber you should also save a copy of your lists at least once a month.

Backing up a list is easy to do.  Simply go to the subscribers section and find the search option.    Then select Stop Status is Subscribed.  Finally; select the Export CSV option and save it into a folder:

Aweber Save Subscribers Function

If your Internet business relies on content or a database; then these things need to be saved into a secure location.

Disaster: “My blog is gone because the Word Press database crashed!”

Blogs run off a database.  If something happens to that database then you risk losing your entire blog.  That can be a terrifying thought if you’ve built up a large audience.

Solution—->

The simplest solution is to regularly back up your database.  I use the WordPress Database Backup Plugin.

Once uploaded and installed on a blog; you’ll go to Tools menu and select the Backup option. From there you can choose to save this file to a server, email account or to a computer. My suggestion is to do TWO of the three options.  Preferably have one copy stored online in ‘the cloud.’  And another stored on your computer:

Back your Word Press Database

Do this at least once a week.

Disaster: “I’m Being Sued!”

Yes, you can get sued with an Internet business.  It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong.  Someone doesn’t like something you’re doing online?  They’ll sue you! 

Sad to say; that’s the world we live in.

Solution—->

Bottom line… Your entire online business should be structured through a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC.)  An LLC is a the best way to legally protect both you and your assets.

I won’t pretend to be an authority on this subject.  That’s why I recommend this in-depth free podcast that talks about this subject.

This will NEVER Happen to Me…

Don’t think these things can happen to you?  Well, I’ve experienced EACH of these disasters during the last seven years.  Stay online long enough and you’ll probably experience the same.

At the start of this post, I mentioned the recent collapse of the Boston Red Sox.  Let’s pretend that one month ago they could look into the future.  I imagine they would have prepared for this disaster and made a plan to prevent it.

It’s time to make your emergency plan!

My advice is to take a hard look at each part of your Internet business.  Like your blog, web traffic, or source of income.  Ask yourself a simple question: “What would I do if I woke up tomorrow and it was gone?”  Then take action to prevent or minimize this situation.

As Benjamin Franklin once said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

In other words, it’s always best to prepare for the worst case scenario.  On a long enough timeline; something will happen.  So be prepared!

Take Action. Get Results.




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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

paul wolfe

Steve

Great advice for all of us! I try and back up my Aweber account every week!

I thought of a 6th one – it’s a variation of getting your YouTube account or similar deleted. It’s if you get your payment account suspended – like Paypal, or Clickbank or an account like that.

It’s never happened to me – but I’ve seen enough horror stories at places like the Warrior Forum to make me begin moving away from Paypal to 2Co.Checkout. Amazon also have a digital payment scheme that is apparently easy to set up. There are other payment processors too – but that is something else that you should plan for and have alternatives in place.

Paul

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Steve Scott

Yup I feel like I have had all the bad things happen me. My worst “paypal” encounter was to have it shut down due to “unusual activity” (I was using it traveling abroad). To their credit, it got fixed fairly quickly.

Youtube, though, is where I have had a big issue. As I am sure you know I am not a spammer. But within the last few months I had my whole SSS youtube account closed. They told me the video that caused this and as far as I can tell the only reason is that I had “make money online by…” in the title.

In hindsite, I see that those can be dodgy keywords…but what I “said” wasn’t dodgy at all. Well, not going to rant now. Although it is tempting.

Fortunately, I did have a copy of everything, so I -could- open a new account tomorrow and re-upload everything with new keywords. And likely will sometime soon. But I think I am also going to host videos on Amazon cloud now. That way I do not rely on anything I am not 100% in control of.

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paul wolfe

Steve

You weren’t the only one who got cleaned out in the ‘YouTube Purge.’ Darren Rowse (Problogger) had a similar fate befall him – though he was able to leverage the power of his audience to get it reinstated reasonably quickly.

You’d probably find that if you appealed – especially if your video is a non-spammy one – that you may get your account reinstated.

Having back ups of your videos is very, very, very important!

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Steve Scott

Actually I remember Darren’s article about that. It happened about 2 days after mine. (probably in the same purge with time delay for the article.)

Like you said, he was just big enough to slap them back into shape. I tried to talk my way back in and it didn’t work. Admittedly, I have not pushed the issue hard yet.

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James Pruitt

Yep, a lot of IMers got hit in the YouTube purge. somehow I slipped by, probably because I don’t have enough on there to make a blip on their radar.
This is a great post Steve. I am always telling folks to diversify, but some people simply don’t get it. Oh well, leaves more for me to snatch up I guess.

Thanks for the tips on setting up the LLC though, I had been thinking about it, but I was putting it off till I was making more money. i will get on setting that up soon now.

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Steve Scott

James,

It is certainly worth it to set up an LLC, if just for peace of mind. It isn’t extremely difficult or expensive and while hopefully you never need it for legal purposes, it is like shutting the barn door after the horse got of it you get it AFTER you have a reason.

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Cristina Ansbjerg

Have you also been sued?

Great article. These are the kinds of things we tend to forget… until they happen.

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Steve Scott

Cristina,

Yes, I have been sued too! When I first started online.
(way before I started Interent marketing).

The first thing I did was sell jewelery. I would buy wholesale from a lady in Romania and resell on a website I built.

(Since this was early 2000′s I was actually ranking quite well for jewelery keywords)

Anyhow, a lot of the jewelery had an “evil eye” design. Some businessman said the evil eye design was a trademark infringement on his companies design. (even though I have never seen this design or company before or after).

Anyway he gave no cease and desist order and even though I volunteered to immediately take it down (and just lose all the money I spent on the jewelery) he wouldn’t budge.

Of course I was not guilty of anything so I was never judged against. But I still had to hire a lawyer, etc. and built up a few grand in costs.

And of course I got right out of selling products unless it is as an affiliate or info product.

Fun story now…it sucked at the time.

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Joe

I never knew the life of an affiliate marketer could be so perilous! The real tragedy here is that even if you are completely innocent of all charges (as you obviously were), you still rack up thousands in lawyer costs. With lawsuits it’s lose-lose. At the very least I hope the other guy lost more money than you did.

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Joe

Great post Steve! I’m really glad you left a comment on my site, otherwise I would of never found you!

Following up on your point about backing up your database. Not everyone uses Wordpress (althought they should). If you don’t use Wordpress, there are other options.

1. Your webhost may offer a backup plan. It’s worth the cost.
2. You can usually use some command line wizardry to dump your database periodically. This is a bit more challenging but not impossible.
See:
http://wiki.dreamhost.com/Migrate_MySQL#Creating_the_MySQL_Backup

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Steve Scott

Thanks Joe!

Before wordpress I would always individually save pages right before I uploaded. That way it would take some restructure time. But you wouldn’t lose all the precious content.

Like you said even if you pay for a little bit o’ storage. backups are essential. the peace of mind is well worth the cost.

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Raj

I want to Add one more: Hosting provider taking your site down. That too can happen! I guess with sufficient experience, even if a site is totally down its possible for web masters to build one more, this time with more confidence and much faster than the last one. Every bit of our online experiences teach us something new. But still, all the work done hitherto is gone, and you cannot help it!

Reply

Steve Scott

Raj,

True,
A hosting provider could take it down. But if you pay this is less likely than this happening on a free venue.

Add in that the provider could crash itself. Or close up shop. NO matter what the reason…you are out in the cold.

All great reasons to take that little time and make sure everything is backed up periodically.

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Beth Parker

These are great tips. Google controls so much traffic that it is hard to diversify, diversify, diversify when it comes to traffic, but we still need to try.

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Steve Scott

Beth,

Yes, with Google at the reigns (they own YouTube too) it is hard to ever completely diversify. But the attempt must be made. With a strong social media and Email list, a hard slap from Google will still hurt but it won’t crash a great income to zero in a day.

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James Pruitt

Thats funny. yes google gets a lot, but less than 20% of my traffic comes from them. there are TONS of ways to get traffic that have NOTHING to do with Google. The SEOs just seem to have the loudest voices when it comes to traffic generation techniques. however, if you really want a great business, you don’t have to worry about what Google thinks.

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Steve Scott

I wish I could say less than 20% of my traffic came from Google. But I am always working to make that number lower.

The more means you have of people finding you the better (and safer) you are!

Thanks for dropping by James!

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paul wolfe

It’s weird with Google traffic. The ONLY thing I do that vaguely has Google in mind is to fill out the ‘SEO’ boxes in Thesis on each post. That’s it. Don’t spend any time creating backlinks – ever.

And still Google accounts for 25 to 30% of my traffic. Utterly weird!

Paul

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Jimmy

Hi Steve,

How are things going? I have being following you on your last three posts. Awesome stuff. Thanks for the great tips on blog conversion. I learnt quite a lot of new things there. Will inlcude them for implementation a little down the road. Also appreciate your advise to diasater proof our blog even though my business is an infant.

Currently, I am active in two areas that will probably need some more advise from you again.

1) I finally got my aweber subscription up and running with two subscribers so far. Quite an achievement for me. The nest next step is the newsletter. You have anything on writing great newsletter to engage my audience effectively? You know stroke them and take care of them as if they are my own new born infants.

2) I am running an interview series on bloggers’ journey. The whole idea is to document the valuable lessons of these bloggers so that others can learn specifics from them while starting up. I just did Fred Tracy. Do drop by my site and have a look. Justin Mazza is next with a few more in line. I would like to invite you on this list as well. You have been instrumental to my development so far and I would love my readers to hear your story. I know you are super busy with all your blogs. The last thing you need is another interview. But if you can, it would really be great.

Cheers

Reply

Steve Scott

Jimmy,

Doing alright! busy busy busy. Seems like the hours in each day get less. LOL

1)
Anyhow, I do not have an article on newsletters per se but you can apply a lot of the ideas from a good auto responder sequence to a newsletter.

Mainly the idea is:
1. Be personal
2. Be Real
3. If you sell, soft sell

I think you can get some good info from this post:

http://www.stevescottsite.com/build-affiliate-autoresponder-sequence

And here is another (same thing…not exactly on point, but I would say most applies to a newsletter)

http://www.stevescottsite.com/14-ways-to-revive-a-lifeless-autoresponder-sequence

Like I said, it is not “exactly” on point…but many of the theories and practices are the same.

2)
I should be able to do a quick interview. Just shoot me an email and I will try to schedule it in. I am not sure of the format. If you just want to send the questions I will write you up some answers and get it back in a few days. If you want to do it on Skype I will work it into the schedule.

I checked out your site (while writing this response) It looks like you did a little redesign. It looks nice. (At least I think so…I could be wrong)

Anyhow I grabbed your feed (which I don’t think I saw last time) and added it to my feedreader. I am horrible about finding sites if they are not in the feedreader, so it should all be good now! :)

-Steve

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Jimmy

Hey Thanks Steve.

I really appreciate your help. Will shoot you the interview questions through email. You can check out the type of questions I will ask on my site. I just did one with Fred Tracy.

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Justin | Spiritual Development

Hey Steve,
I live in Baltimore and I was pleased to see the Orioles prevent the Red Sox from going to the playoffs. Not having a salary cap in baseball definitely gives a big advantage to those with deep pockets but it doesn’t guarantee success.

One thing that I had always known when it comes to money/income is to diversify. When we only have one way to earn or get traffic we are leaving ourselves completely vulnerable.

I started my LLC for my online business back in May of 2011 and it was definitely one of the smarter moves that I have made.

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Steve Scott

I am a Yankee fan, and we also take some glee in the Red Sox not making it.

But as a Yankee fan -cough- -cough- I think I am permanently barred from blasting any team for having a bloated payroll and buying championship teams.

Yup, it is all about diversification. Anytime you have all your eggs in one basket it is simply inviting failure.

Thanks for dropping by Justin!

Reply

Ming Jong Tey

Hey Steve,

Thanks for the reminder. Having the content backup is crucial. My youtube account was flagged once and I was afraid something bad would happen since many of the marketers account got their account shut down without proper reasons…

I once lost all my sites because of the server was burnt down by fire (that’s what they said)…Now, I back up my WP sites once per week and have other html sites stored in my hard drive. I’ll still need to do a thorough review to make sure I have covered all sites.

Cheers,
Ming

Reply

Steve Scott

Ming,

These things are more commong than new people might think! Thanks for sharing your issue too! Covering all your bases just makes sense!

Reply

Ron

Hi Steve,
first of all – very cute comparison with Red Sox. People who watch baseball will immediately get your point because that was what is called “epic fail”. That’s why it is so important from time to time think about Plan B. You never know what might happen next and you have to have emergency plan.

Reply

Steve Scott

Ron,

Glad you liked the reference to the Red Sox “epic Fail”. I am sure non-sports fans and those from overseas didn’t get the referance, but hopefully i didn’t belabor the point.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting,

Steve

Reply

Ana

Excellent tips, Steve. I know from first-hand experience that we must diversify and ABBU (always be backing up! LOL!).

Reply

Steve Scott

Ana,

Yup ABBU, great philosophy!

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Eddie Gear

Excellent write up steve, love the post. I do not know much about baseball, but can sure relate to the article you are writing here. Sending it out to a few friends if that is okay.

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Sandip

Thanks Steve – this post just prompted me to double check that my backups are all working okay :S

Diversifying is essential and that’s what I’m striving for at the moment. The hard part is actually making good money from various sources as one often becomes an expert in a single method that becomes the bread and butter. But I guess if one is going to continue to grow, it has to be done

Reply

Steve Scott

Very true. It is easy to specialize…. to an extent i am all for it too. I think people really can become masters of a single way. BUT…there should always at least be a slight motivation to find other sources too… since it is so easy to get screwed with just one.

Reply

Wayne Lambert

Hi Steve,

Nice post. I recently had two bad experiences with backups.

1) My blog wasn’t backed up properly when I changed hosting providers.

2) My content on my hard drive wasn’t backed up properly, so I needed to use a data recovery specialist which cost me some £380 to recover the data.

You Americans should find yourself a real sport… like football (what you call soccer). Hahaha ;-)

I wrote about the data recovery issue in the post below.

Reply

Steve Scott

Wayne,

Thanks for sharing your own issues with backups. I think a lot of us have had them . Hopefully ameliorated by the fact that we HAVE backups…but perhaps not in every case. As your second ones shows you can even HAVE backups and still have issues.

(I have actually started watching (your) football more often since my recent trips to Europe. (And I played a bit as a kid…but that was soccer) The only thing that drives me nuts watching -that- football are the guys who fall to the ground and roll in pain when no-one is even close. Then pop-up two minutes later and run back to playing. If you are going to act…at least act well. :)

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Wayne Lambert

Yeah, they’d be no good in Hollywood, that’s for sure! :)

Reply

Adrienne

Wow Steve, these are some great tips. Sorry to hear that you’ve had almost all of these happen to you. Dang, that’s got to be rough.

I say this a LOT and I apologize for that but I am truly blessed. I recently heard from some friends of mine they have had their WP blog hacked so they then went in search of plug-ins that will help prevent this from happening. It’s a lesson learned so I’ve implemented some of those same ones as well just in case. But knock on wood, I’m just been very fortunate.

I do back up my blog on a weekly basis and just learned last Friday that I should be doing the same thing to my CPanel as well. Dah!!! I didn’t think to backup my list so I’ll definitely get on that immediately.

As for the not putting all your eggs in one basket, boy is that ever true. If one little things fails, you are totally out of all that hard work and money so it’s best to spread the love around. I have a few things going myself but probably not near enough.

Thanks for this kick in the pants my friend and the wake up call I’m sure a lot of us need. Okay, running over to backup my lists right now.

See ya!!!

~Adrienne

Reply

Steve Scott

Adrienne,

Fortunately these haven’t happened all at once, but over the course of 7 years and about 4 different ventures. (have to at least look at the bright side) :)

But still I think -some- of these thing happen to most people some time or another. It is like they say for riding a motorcycle. The question isn’t “If” you are going to lay it down sometime…it is really a question of “when”.

Like Paul pointed out in comments earlier, even a “big dog” like Darren Rowse had his youtube shut down at about the same time as mine. He just had the clout and pull to get it reinstated.

Often though, with the online stuff, you can really implement these steps that keep you a lot safer and/or minimize the nasty stuff if you do get hit. It is just a simple matter of doing it.

SInce you do it all, you stay safe. It is a matter of making your own luck! :)

Reply

Bryce Christiansen

Being from Arizona, it was interesting to see the Diamond Backs make almost the opposite scenario happen. They were one of the worse teams last season and now they are a serious contender for the title.

Great applications to our own sites. Determination is a major key to sustained growth and success. We can’t expect all the work we do upfront to allow us to just coast into greatness.

Thanks,

Bryce

Reply

Steve Scott

That is the fun of baseball. A team can go from being bums to being champs in no time flat. Sometimes even within the same season!

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Richard

Good advice on all topics. I backup my wordpress database regularly, but also keep an offline backup of all my posts. I actually recommend backing up all your blog posts offline as sometimes the wordpress backup system can be buggy as well.

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Steve Scott

Richard.

You make a really good point that I just realized I missed:

Offline copies. I back up my stuff online continuously, but also keep a (about bi-monthly) hard drive backup in a safe deposit box. It may seem a little paranoid, but no matter how bad a crash is, and even if my main backup is corrupted I have a none connected backup, that is (at worst) only a couple months out of date.

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Jens P. Berget

Steven,

I don’t know much about baseball, and I had no idea that the Red Sox collapsed, but I really enjoy your analogy. What you’re saying is very important. I have experience some really interesting ups and downs when it comes to affiliate marketing.

I was ranked for the number one keyword for a product review, and in one month I earned close to $1,000 from this review alone. The next month I earned apx $600, the next month $250 and now I’m almost not earning anything. All from the same review. The thing is, I could probably have made some adjustments and increased the “value” of the review, but I didn’t.

So, my take on this is to not only have diversity, but also keep adjusting and keep everything you’re doing updated.

- Jens

Reply

Steve Scott

Jens,

Thanks for your input. I think that is something too. There could actaully be an article in this. (how “passive” income is BS)

Sure there will be natural “boosts” in values of reviews as they are “fresher” but a big part of IM is keeping those things going. It is never enough to set something up and sit back doing nothing and have the money roll in forever. Sure you can make something for a while…perhaps even a long while, but do nothing and it will steadily decline. You have to keep hustling, either reworking the old stuff or creating new. (or both)

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Ralph

Oh my gosh! What a well timed article. I am sitting here realizing that I’ve only backed up about 10% of my blogging articles, foolishly thinking that the blogsite will keep them.

Thanks for the big dose of common sense this morning! Much appreciated. Now, I’ve got to get busy backing things up!!!

Ralph Kendrick

Reply

Steve Scott

Definitely a good idea to back up more than 10%. Hopefully you never need a backup. But if you do it can make a world of difference.

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Darren

Great articles Steve. I’m also trying to deversify my online projects. They are however all doing equally bad. Great strategy though. Everything changes every day and it could easily all fall apart. You may even want to deversify your hosting as sometimes they mess up and it goes down. I don’t have the means to do this but I’m sure some people do.

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Steve Scott

Darren, sorry to hear you sites are not doing so hot. It seems like you run a couple of smaller niche sites. I am starting to do some experimentation with those. Hopefully within 1-2 months I will have a plan posted on how to really grow traffic to those specifically.

At least if it all pans out.

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Greg

Don’t put everything in one basket. Investing in a single business, relying on one money earning activity or trusting too much on your strategy without back-up plans is absolutely not the best way to handle everything. You need to make sure that you can be safe as possible as you could.

Reply

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