Fool Me Twice

Shame on me, so the saying goes.

Websites have been the bane of my existence since I was told I needed an online presence during my first year of j-school. 

For some deluded reason, I began to fancy myself a competent website manager. I built several iterations of mattlaw.ca for myself, re-built my student newspaper's site during a two-year stint as digital/online editor, and even built several websites for businesses. 

All of this was done by setting up Wordpress.org sites on a little chunk of server space with a hosting company. It wasn't all that difficult.

But setting up a website isn't the difficult part. It's the maintenance, the browser compatibility, the backing up, and the often overlooked security. Security was my failing.

When my website was first hacked in 2010 I was annoyed. I was playing with web development then and didn't have much invested in it. But I should have paid attention to the sign.

When two of my websites were hacked a few months ago I was devastated. BC Photohub, a blog I ran on the photography scene in B.C., went down like a sack of bricks. One moment it was there, the next it was gone. My website, mattlaw.ca, remained live but was crippled. I had caught the hack before it fully spread from one site to the next but the damage was done.

I had no backup. I had no idea what to do. I realized I knew nothing about building websites.

In this DIY age we often succumb to delusions of grandeur, or, perhaps we are just trying to save a dollar. But we have to ask ourselves, what do I actually know how to do and how do I want to invest my time?

I am a content creator, not a website developer.

I spent countless hours building websites, time that could have been better spent working on paid jobs or projects that I am passionate about.     

Now, after months of banging my head against the wall beside my computer, I have re-launched mattlaw.ca. This time it is with a professional website hosting company that looks after all of the things I failed to do.

The question still begs to be answered; why do we use professional services or hire professionals? They cost more for services that often seem very simple. 

Building your own website or hiring your friend who really likes photography might seem like a good idea, but what happens when your website crashes or your friend's camera dies in the middle of your wedding ceremony? What happens when the citizen journalist names names and puts someones family in danger? 

Simply put, we hire, or should be hiring, professionals because they know what to do when shit hits the proverbial fan, or they know how to keep said shit from hitting said fan in the first place.

A professional will have a backup camera (or two). A professional website service will backup your content and maintain your site with no hassle. A professional knows how to check facts and keep stories balanced. 

I am not a brand cheerleader by any means but for those wondering, I'm using Squarespace to host my new website. Aside from the headache of transferring domains and uploading all new content, it has been ridiculously easy. Now I can focus on my work.

It can be simple, I wish I knew this from the start.