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How to change a website without tears - do as I say, not as I do!

A couple of years ago, I wrote a series of guides for a site aimed at small businesses, all about website and email management. One of these pieces was about changing websites, transferring hosting and so on.

The guides assumed a fairly limited level of technical knowhow, and one of the points I made is that you should make changes at a quiet time (for instance late on Friday evening) and be prepared to work over the weekend. The reason is that things might not always go according to plan, and you need time to correct any errors. I also said that you should tell your clients in advance, just in case the technical issues work ran over into Monday.

Excellent advice, as I am sure you will agree. However...

When I revised my website design a couple of weeks ago, I changed the website and email hosting at the same time. I had everything all lined up, ready to go, and then decided - for reasons which I am still not quite sure about - to press the button at about 10:30 on a Tuesday morning. And I didn't tell anyone I was going to do it.

Predictably, my email system went offline for about three hours until I fixed the problem, and even then I could only access emails using Webmail. It took me another half-day to configure Outlook. I had two days of being inundated with spam emails, and for a while, one of my secondary domain names refused to point at the new website. Chaos, expletives deleted and all that good stuff.

Everything's sorted out now, and no lasting damage has been done. But it is a timely reminder that giving good advice to other businesses is all fine and dandy: but you also need to follow it as well.

Lesson learned.

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