It’s been a few days since I gave you an update regarding how I’m getting on with my challenge so I thought I’d begin by giving you a brief update:
As I mentioned a few days ago, I’ve been quite unwell recently. So for pretty much a couple of weeks now I’ve had a real struggle in keeping up my momentum and dedicating the necessary time and effort into what I’ve wanted to. In some cases it just hasn’t been possible. So what has this meant?
Expectedly, I’ve had a considerable slump in traffic. A couple of days ago I managed to get cracking again and I saw my traffic pick up again. But over the last couple of days I haven’t been able to really work at things as I’d like to and I’ve seen my traffic slump again. However, I’ve been encouraged by this. How so?
Well, it’s just driven home what I already knew – that the methods I’ve been taught and I am implementing work. What I accomplish regarding my implementation of these methods clearly has a direct correlation with my traffic figures. So while I already knew and understood this, it’s actually good to see the change of figures and to be able to pinpoint what I was/wasn’t doing that directly affected the results.
So apart from that, things are still pretty much the same and, when I have been able to, I have been carrying on implementing what I’ve been doing regularly up to now. I’ve had a few different ideas about others things I could do to drive traffic but I haven’t been able to get into those yet. However I still want to give these things a try and hopefully I should be able to do so in the coming days. Also I shall be doing something that I believe I really need to do, but more on that later…
Invariably, there are bound to be ‘hiccups’ from time to time. I found myself confronted with such a ‘hiccup’ a few days ago.
So, on Wednesday I woke up, got up, came downstairs, brewed a pot of tea and had my breakfast. Next I switched on my laptop and checked up on my website-related stuff. This is pretty much my daily routine at the moment. On this occasion, upon trying to log in to my WordPress dashboard I was greeted with a lengthy wait until the request eventually timed out. I then tried to go directly to my website but was greeted with nothing but a blank page. The first thing I tried was to take a look using another browser. Nope, still just a blank page.
I was able to log in to my CPanel without any problems, could see that all my files were there, so that was a relief! Next, I logged in to my domain registration page just to make sure that nothing had gone wrong with the DNS settings but nope, everything was fine there. Next, I logged in to my hosting account page. I was able to get in there without any problems and couldn’t see any information posted there about any problems or planned maintenance. Also, I did a check to see if the rest of the Internet could see my site and it turns out that yes, it could. So I knew that the problem must have been something to do with the upgrade and not an actual problem with the host itself as, evidently, my site was accessible, there was just nothing visible!
The next step was to check my host’s social media pages. So, Facebook – no mention of anything there. Twitter – just the same, no mention. However, when I checked my host’s Twitter page that’s dedicated to server status I saw an update from the day before that gave a “reminder” about a massive php 5.3 update that was about to take place. “Reminder”? Surely to have a reminder one would have to have had some information in the first place? As I said, there had been no information on the my host’s website, nothing previously on Twitter and nothing on Facebook. Perhaps I’d had an e-mail about it? Yes that would be it because, of course, if there are planned or suspected outages then my host will surely contact their customers, right? Wrong. I checked my e-mail – nothing.
So, while I wasn’t panicking, I was rather concerned that anyone trying to visit my blog would just see a blank page. Not good! This concerned me even more when I saw how long ago the ‘reminder’ had been posted and that, by now my site had been down for at least 2 hours to my knowledge. Goodness knows how long it had been like this in total. Requests for info via Twitter weren’t getting me anywhere so I submitted a support ticket via my main hosting account page. I have to say that the response was pretty quick and it turns out that, for some reason, my site had been having problems with the php upgrade so they now had to downgrade me back to 5.2 to get things working again. What the problems exactly were and why they were happening, I wasn’t told. There was also not so much as an apology or explanation with regards to why I (and, no doubt everyone else) wasn’t kept in the loop about the planned upgrades. Needless to say I am NOT a happy bunny about this! Of course I understand that faults occur and that upgrades have to be done, but the first thing that should be done in such instances is to keep the customers informed. As an absolute minimum that’s just polite!
So, before the issue was resolved, what did I do about it? Well I very quickly knocked up a temporary landing page and had to very quickly learn how to do a redirect. I had never done this before and was concerned about messing things up. Of course, if I’d have been given advance warning then perhaps I could have prepared myself in the eventuality of there being any problems. As it stands, I had to think on my feet and come up with a solution VERY quickly, right on the spot. One thing, though, that this has taught me is to have a contingency already in place in the eventuality of this sort of problem. However, I didn’t so I had to come up with something there are then, so now I’ll explain what I did:
I quickly knocked up a basic temporary landing page in HTML explaining that, due to matters beyond my control there were some site issues and, in the meantime, if anyone wanted to get in touch with me they could do so via links to my Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages. I then uploaded this to my server. Next is the interesting part, as it’s something that I’ve never had to do before and didn’t know how to do:
Firstly, I located my .htaccess file as this is the file that contains the instructions as to what to display upon landing on my site. It needed to be ammended to include an instruction to temporarily redirect all traffic to my new, temporary HTML landing page rather than the index.php page as normal. Just to be doubly safe, I downloaded my .htaccess file to my backup folder on my computer, which then automatically and securely uploaded it to my online cloud storage with Spideroak. I then created a backup folder on my server and made a copy of the file in there too.
The next job was to insert the code and to ensure that it was done correctly! I opened up the .htaccess file in the online editor and added the following line to the bottom of the code: redirect 302 /index.php http://glenn-shepherd.com/temppage.html
Please note that, if you need to do this yourself you bear in mind that 1) these instructions are for websites that are hosted on Unix/Apache servers, 2) that you take careful note of the spacing between the words in the above line of code and 3) ensure that you do a 302 and NOT a 301 redirect! This is important because this tells the search engines that it is only a temporary redirection. A 301 instruction indicates a permanent redirect, which is fine if that’s what you are doing, but in this scenario it’s only a temporary thing so you need to ensure that you do a 302.
In addition to the above three points I should include a 4) if you don’t know what you’re doing or don’t have the confidence to perform this coding then please DON’T! Enlist the help of someone who does.
So, once my site had been fixed then I went back into my file manager via CPanel and simply moved the backed-up .htaccess file back into the root folder and overwrote the ammended file, thus restoring things back to how they were. The only difference now is that I have my emergency, temporary landing page ready to go now in the event of it being needed.
So I hope that I haven’t bored you with all that ‘techie’ stuff and that, more importantly, it’s useful. And now, to conclude with some interesting stuff…
Something Cool is Coming…
Okay, I’ve talked a few times before about things I have in the pipeline. Well, I’ve found myself changing my mind umpteen times. Not that any of my ideas have been bad, but I’ve had a few changes of perspective. And these ideas may still come to fruition (one for sure, something that I’m working on for a little way off in the future yet). But recently something occurred to me that a lot of beginners are crying out for and it’s something that I can absolutely provide. Hopefully I can help a lot of people with this so I’m looking forward to getting all together and getting it out there. Oh and did I mention that it will be free? I don’t want to give too much away right now, but suffice it to say that it will be a course that will be created especially for beginners. Interested? Then don’t forget to bookmark my site, connect with me via the social media buttons and subscribe using the box to the right —->
I’m excited about this, I think that this is something that will make a big difference to a lot of people!
Until next time, bye for now and don’t forget to comment! 🙂