What I’ve Learned From Utterly Destroying My Site And Then Completely Rebuilding It

By Jamie McSloy / April 28, 2017
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What I’ve Learned From Utterly Destroying My Site And Then Completely Rebuilding It


If you’ve been eagerly clutching your mouse or frantically tapping your keyboard waiting for my site to come back online;

Welcome Back

It’s been a lousy few days where I’ve devoted nearly all of my time to rebuilding this site.

In short, it’s been very irritating and fraught with errors. But it hasn’t been without merit.

Because I haven’t had much time to do any writing, here are three things I learned from this week-long website resuscitation debacle.

Lesson One: You Can Build A HELL Of A Big Thing With Just An Hour A Day

Here’s my direct experience with this lesson.

I spend about an hour a day on this site. I write a post, and then if I have any time left, I’ll do some other things – test headlines with Thrive Headline Optimiser, answer comments, questions and things or something else.

(Time Out: If you’re enjoying this article, then you should probably sign up to my mailing list, where I give out ideas and business tricks that I don’t share publicly. Click here, fill out your details and get yourself on the list! You won’t leave this page.

Now Back To The Regular Programming Schedule…)

Now, that hour doesn’t have much of an effect on my life. I do it out of habit and because this site is my hobby and the thing people see when they search me out online.

It doesn’t feel like much work… until you realise how much you’ve put in.

My backup program failed me. So when the website broke, I had to copy and paste every article into WordPress all over again.

It took me about two minutes to do each post.

This wouldn’t be a lot if I were the average blogger putting in a massive four hour work week and writing eight posts a month.

In reality, it took about twenty hours just to paste all of these articles back in.

My point is this; if you put in an hour of work every day on something you enjoy, it won’t feel like you’re doing an awful lot. However, when you go back and look over the amount you’ve achieved or created, you’ll realise that it adds up to a whole lot more.

Lesson Two: There’s a Plugin for Everything

The chaotic nature of trying to rebuild a site from Word documents and not a lot else will have you frantically Googling for answers.

It’s hard to overstate what a privileged time we’re living in.

Almost every problem you might run into has already been experienced, solved and catalogued for your benefit online.

When it comes to restoring a site or building a website in the first place, you’re covered.

Here are my examples:

  • My website had all its links broken: There’s a Broken Link Checker plugin that’s running on my site right now
  • All my images are gone. I’ve got one plugin that sets a default category image and another which I’ve yet to install which will allow me to mass upload all the images from my computer
  • I’ve got a brand new archives page which is a lot easier to navigate. Check it out.
  • I needed to set a lot of redirects. You can get a 301 redirect plugin that works without you needing any coding knowledge

The list goes on… all of the plugins I’ve installed this week are free. They also require very little programming knowledge nor any knowledge that can’t be gained by a little Google searching.

Lesson Three: Setbacks Are Useful

Every cloud has a silver lining.

I’ve needed to make adjustments to this site for a long time. Little niggly things kept breaking and whatnot.

Yet, because the site kept working in some fashion, I ignored it.

The major breakage has forced me to confront this issue – and also where I’m going with the site and what I am going to do with it.

Most setbacks can be sources of positive feedback if you let them. The site – once fixed – will work better, load faster and be easier to navigate. It’ll also be better organised on the backend, but that’ll affect me more than it’ll affect you.

Final Thoughts

Whenever you experience a setback, look for opportunities to make it work for you. This isn’t to say that you won’t have negative experiences or that you can’t get annoyed at things going wrong, merely that you should see if you gain from the experience before cutting your losses.

That said, a final piece of advice:

Don’t be an idiot and delete your whole website, because it’ll take you a week to get it back up and running and you could have been doing something exciting in that time.

Regular programming will resume shortly.

  • Jakub says:

    “If you’ve been eagerly clutching your mouse or frantically tapping your keyboard waiting for my site to come back online;” – you really are a copywriter who can reach inside your readers heads and see what they do 😀

    Useful lessons.
    1 – Investing a ‘small’ 2 hours a day into something – not small at all. Over a year? 730 hours. /24 hours a day…. That’s a month of 24/7 work.

    Imagine how much you could build with that. A brick every day… A post every day…

    2 – Best time ever to be alive, and laugh at those who say otherwise. Plugin for everything, you have access to the world’s knowledge within seconds in your pocket…

    3 – Definitely. Experienced that a couple weeks ago too. Forced to adapt by a big ‘negative’ change – you stop all the excuses and finally fix all the things you wanted to. Finally can do things the right way, since you have to re-do all of them.

    Maybe it comes from ‘brainwashing myself with positivity'(on purpose), but…
    Every setback has opportunities hidden inside it.

    February of 2016, I had an ecommerce store. And discovered… China doesn’t ship anything out for that whole month (Jamie mentioned this in a tweet a while back too). Was very low on cash too, and it took ~2 weeks for payments to get to me. Setback.

    Opportunity – Okay, NEEDED to do something different. Started freelancing (badly, but paid the bills).

    The thing was, when I had that ecommerce store – I relaxed. Didn’t really work much (didn’t need to). It wasn’t scalable either. So – just relaxed, enjoyed. Wrong move for your 20s.

    But when life *forced* me to adapt – it resulted in something much better.

    Now I often force *myself* to adapt – don’t wait for life to do it. Take big risky moves (If you’re in your 20s, you can fail 30 times and still become filthy rich later), without being overly stupid. So far – always turned out alright. Every single time. Actually… maybe it ‘failed’ on some level – but it presented a new opportunity that was even better.

    Setback = Massive Opportunity.

    Welcome Back Jamie. We missed ya.


  • Anon1 says:

    Glad you got it back up and running bud

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