A business website is your professional calling card on the internet. Only some small business owners create their online presence, then move on. Or the person who set up the site does. Or the web hosting company closes. Suddenly, your business is wondering how to recover its website! Here’s help.
You know you need a business website to attract leads and generate revenue. A professional website helps establish your credibility by letting people know you mean business. A website is how you:
- Make the first impression
- Establish your brand
- Earn business
- Increase your customer base
- Save time on customer service and support
Keep in mind, “while no website equals missed opportunities, a bad website can actually be worse since it literally makes your business look bad.”
A lost website can hurt your business too. If you can’t access your site to make updates, you could confuse customers and miss the chance to make a connection. If you can’t make payments to your web host, service, or agency, your website becomes unavailable. Worse still, domain squatters may purchase your lapsed domain name intending to resell it to you at a profit.
If you do suffer a lost business website or need to recover lost data, don’t panic! Following these several steps, you can recover a website and get your business back on track:
- Locate old site content
- Identify your most popular site content
- Update site structure
- Choose your new site platform
- Install analytics
#1 Locate Old Site Content
All is not lost! You will probably be surprised how much old content you can recover by looking in your search cache. Your cache for Yahoo, Google, or Bing will show you saved versions of the pages you have visited most recently.
Note: Even if you don’t need to recover a deleted website in its entirety, using the search cache could be one way for you to recover deleted content. If you’re only looking to recover lost data, you may be able to do so in your browser files or by paying for a data recovery solution.
You can also recover deleted content using the Wayback website. Archive.org’s Wayback Machine is dedicated to duplicating all Internet content. This website archive consisted of 477 billion saved web pages in October 2020, and work was continuing! All you need to recover a website from Wayback Machine is a free account and the URL of the page you want.
The Wayback site isn’t the only option to find deleted websites; you can also try archive.is. However, this website doesn’t crawl as deeply, so you’ll probably only recover a homepage.
If you are looking to recover WordPress websites without a backup, your hosting provider is your best bet. If it’s just a deleted page you’re looking for, go to WordPress admin and click on the trash link for pages or posts to see what you can restore. The Google, Yahoo, or Bing cache would again be an option.
#2 Identify Your Most Popular Site Content
If you had Google Analytics on your site, you’d be able to quickly analyze content, user flow, traffic sources, and more. You can go into Google Analytics, click on Behavior, and then navigate into site content to see stats about your landing pages, exit pages, all pages, or do a content drill down. If you had a WordPress site, you might have had a plugin enabled, such as MonsterInsights.
Also, if you have a Google Search account, you can get a Links report to help determine your most popular links. The report captures valuable information such as:
- Which of my pages is linked the most from within our site?
- Which sites link to us the most?
- Which are our top linked pages from other sites?
- Which are our top linked pages from a specific site?
- What link text points to our site?
There are other search tools you might install. For instance, Moz also offers link and keyword explorer tools to help you track your progress. You can even find out your competitor’s most popular pages using a new paid SEMrush feature.
In getting content ready for your new website migration, you’ll want to start with the homepage. Still, knowing what people were using most on your site can help you plan which other important pages to rebuild next.
#3 Update Site Structure
Once you have reclaimed old site content and ranked the site content for popularity, you may want to revisit your site hierarchy. This is an opportunity to reconsider your website design. Turn those lemons into lemonade by embracing this chance to streamline navigation and make sure your site is responsive to your customers’ needs.
It’s common wisdom that you don’t want users to click more than four times to get to any page on your site. This means you need to whittle down your site menu to make it easier for search engines and humans alike.
A website redesign also gives you something to tout to your existing customers and new ones to generate renewed interest in your business website. Take a look at these “7 Questions to Help Determine If You Need a Website Redesign” while you’re taking this time to focus on your online presence.
#4 Choose Your New Site Platform
We’re going to say Yahoo Hosting, of course. But we know there are others out there as well. In selecting your new site platform, we recommend considering:
- How much help you’ll need
- The amount of traffic you expect
- Whether you want to go public or private and cloud, onsite, or a hybrid of both
- How content management will be handled
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Don’t remain loyal to a bad website host. If you’re experiencing excessive downtime, bandwidth restrictions, slow load times, scaling limitations, or security lapses, take your business elsewhere!
#5 Install Analytics
Once you’re up and running again, you can submit your site to search engines for indexing. No matter the size, you’ll want to use Google Webmaster Tools to let Google know about your new website.
- Who your website’s visitors are
- What content they want to see from your business
- How they behave when browsing your site
You’ll also be able to track and measure your site goals and the ROI of your digital marketing efforts.
Want to set up Google Analytics easily? Read our article “How to Setup and Measure Your Digital Advertising Efforts with Google Analytics.”
Already got Google Analytics going? Check out “The Best Google Analytics Reports For Improving Your Website.”
#6 Backup Creative
This isn’t going to help you with recovering your current lost site. But, by the time you’ve gone through the previous six steps, you’ll understand the need to backup your website content.
Losing your website is not something you want to see happen again! Check if your website provider has a way to make relevant backups. You might also manually back up all your important files to an external hard drive. You can also find services that automate website data backups for you.
No matter which approach you take, get in the habit of backing up regularly. The more that changes on your site, the more often you’ll want to back up. Without this backup, you can lose all your content (again) and your customizations. Additionally, you risk the cost of downtime and the damage to your brand reputation from a lost website.