Danger: the following post contains semi-techy talk.
I shouldn’t be writing this just before going to BlogHer11 as Yahoo Contributor Network is going to be there as a vendor or contributor or something and may want to shoot poisoned darts at me if they connect this with me the person. (Which they won’t. They don’t care about me. I’m one among 3000 attendees, firstly, and secondly I’m sure this will not be the most critical review they have ever received.) Actually it is only part of Yahoo that I do not care for at all! Yahoo’s Business Domain Web Hosting has been a thorn in my side on more than one occasion. I’ve migrated two sites for clients over the last couple years from Yahoo to other blogging platforms. Yes, they host more than one platform theoretically – but more on that in a bit. All I am at liberty to say is one was an organization/association and one was a sole proprietorship. Both migrations were bee-achh-es for different reasons. But I just want to warn folks. Do not plan on recovering anything in useable form from the Yahoo hosted site other than text. Their site building options, in totally non-tech speak, all seem to be filtered through an old sieve left over from Geocities days. I built a Geocities web site way back at the turn of Century. And just in case you haven’t grasped how quickly time moves, that was almost 12 years ago!
My client was totally copacetic with me creating a new site by migrating text, downloading images, and relinking the links to the new site. It is a simple procedure on most sites.
ASIDE: I dislike doing FTP as it always reminds me of trying to teach some people at a library back in 1993 or ’94 what FTP was used for and how it worked. It was really difficult to be high tech back in the Stone Age. Teaching anything involved pounding my head against the wall several times per session.
I should have been able to do simple migrations within a tried and true template I use for WordPress in these instances. I had done a mock up and the client was happy. She was digging around in the Yahoo site as I wanted to do a redirect from the Yahoo servers to the new site until the contract for hosting services at Yahoo expired. Yahoo does not allow you to do that. What the client found out while digging was that Yahoo offers WordPress as blogging software through their business hosting services. I already had the site on a free non-public WordPress hosted site and just needed her to do the point the DNS servers to a new host or switch registrars if that was too difficult. Clients always find this to be ridiculously difficult. Because this client was an old and dear friend I couldn’t just tell her, “Sorry, too late. We have already agreed on the services for which you contracted and those do not involve *fooling* (word substitution made to maintain P/PG site status) around with anything on Yahoo.” So I wasted several days and many, many non-billable hours finding out that there was ONE wordpress template to which Yahoo would allow that worked with the features (sidebar widgets) needed by the client. By the way these are not the same subset of templates to which WordPress, as a host, gives access. And those templates are not the same subset of templates to which self-hosted WordPress software allows access. Once I got all that straightened out, I realized that Yahoo does not allow a WordPress blog to be a landing page. It has to be a sub-directory of a main site built as a site with one of their archaic page builder / site builder interfaces that does not allow access to any kind of a C-panel type interface. I was going to have to hand code a page that looked like the blog and redirect links with double updates every time any change was made to the landing page. I was getting stressed. I was supposed to be on the road to San Diego for a business trip in less than 48 hours for which I had done absolutely no preparation. At this point, I finally (lesson learned on both our parts) told the client that I was ditching Plan B and shifting to a Plan C as it was too late to navigate back to Plan A that would require them to complete a task (new host or new registrar) that had caused a hiccough to the client in the first place. Plan C simply was me registering a new domain, putting up the new site on it, putting up cleverly created click to redirect page while I figured out Yahoo and redirecting name servers when time allowed. It was all up and running within 24 hours from that statement. Of course some nodes on the ol’ internet backbone took a while to recognize the name server change, but there is not a darn thing anyone can do about that.
I am so glad I am a domain name reseller. I am so glad I am a host. I don’t usually sell these services as I only want to provide great service to a very few clients and be able to do everything quickly for both clients and for myself. I also like to do them transparently so the client actually owns their domain name and I have just acted as a broker with eNom and not listed myself as the domain registrar which as I found out a few years ago many unscrupulous hosting providers will do because they do not want to pay to be domain name resellers and cannot register domains for others without that. So, domain-registration-naive clients think they own their domain names because their business name or brand is in the URL and the domain is their intellectual property. I lost a domain name that was important to me early on when I did not understand how totally unethical and shifty many hosts actually were. Then I had to coach one of my very first professional clients through the harrowing process of extricating her blog and her domain name from her former IT Guy (please note… not an IT Gal.) He actually said, in his role as hosting provider, that it was unheard of to allow a client access to a control panel for their domain. There are so many bogus operators out there.
Any way, I made the road trip to my meeting. Client is happy. I’ve learned many important lessons.
just as mucheven more than you usually do to friends using your services than you do to regular old clients.
- Yahoo web hosting is using software (mySQL I suspect) that is at least 6 or 7 years out of date.
- WordPress software probably has as many “versions” as their are hosts who provide WordPress blogs without access to a control panel. I mistakenly thought up until August 2nd that there were just .org and .com differences. Silly me.
- Always charge twice as much as you think you should.
- Standardized websites I offer in the future will have well defined template choices from which the client may chose before the contract is signed.
- I still love creating standardized websites that clients can manipulate via a simple word-processing like interface while providing the peace of mind to them that they will be able to find dozens of professionals, besides me should they choose to do so, to update or change templates for a reasonable fee because of the standardized software and templates used to create their site and the fact that I give them a summary of all the passwords, accounts, hosts and domains, that they or their business will need to change, maintain, and possible sell down the road.
- I need to update my price list on this website a.s.a.p.