The internet has limitations.
I know, it’s shocking to some, but it’s the truth. So while we can hope to spread our messages far and wide, we have to pay to have our sites hosted and for our hosts to give us the “space” needed to let the masses in to see our viral content.
But what can you do on your own to manage the technical side when you see a blog post starting to climb and soar? For me, I learn a lot about the technical aspect of my blog from having 11,000 real time visitors on my website.
What you should know about the back-end of your site during a viral post
Know your cPanel information.
You should know this. If you don’t, email your host right this second. I mean literally stop reading and send your host and email so you don’t forget. It’s that important.
This gives you backend access to your site even when it’s down, a line of code messed it up, etc..
Have a spreadsheet of all important login information.
Add your cPanel info and other login information to a special file. You will want to have things like your login information for domain names, caching services, and anything related to the functioning of your site.
It becomes more important as a post goes viral because maybe you need to switch hosts and they need all this information. Or maybe you need to login to a certain plugin or service to disable it during high traffic times.
It’s better to have it handy and readily accessible.
You may not be able to post new content during an extreme surge.
It literally took 3 excruciating hours to get a new post published on a day I had 1.5 million visitors.
And there wasn’t even a photo in the original post. It took an additional few hours to have enough bandwidth to upload and publish photos on the post.
The entire backend of your site, when going through such extreme traffic numbers will be so slow, it will be hard to navigate. I tried to stay out of it as much as possible. I had a helper moderating comments and it was taking her several minutes per comment to approve, delete, or edit. (We edited out profanity ot when people dropped links).
Be ready to spend money.
While not necessarily technical, it’s something that can help you with the technical aspect. So maybe you will need to start keeping a savings account for these situations or you might be calling a trusted family member for financial help if you don’t have any set aside.
This goes for paying for hosting, paying for people to help you manage, and maybe even paying for a few upgrades immediately following your viral post.
I personally paid someone to do some design tweaks I didn’t have time for to make sure my new audience was seeing more of what i envisioned for my website.
How to maintain your blog to run fast and effectively even during a viral post
Lighten the Load.
When you start seeing your numbers skyrocket, I would assess your plugins and the overall weight of your website.
If it’s weighted down like an elephant with a truck load of extras, it’s going to be slower. But if it’s like a carrier pigeon with the bare minimum, it will be more effective at delivering your message to visitors.
I personally keep very few plugins. Both my former host and my current host mentioned during my super-viral spike that they were surprised on the server that I was on that i was getting 2,700 people at a time and hadn’t gone down.
My new, current host basically told me that because I kept such tight maintenance on my site and kept it so light is the only reason I didn’t go completely down and why I was getting as high traffic as I was.
This meant with the previous host I was getting an extra 700 PV at any given moment, which translated to almost 35,000 people every hour. Which means that even when I switched to the new hosting company that allowed more people in, my site was still functioning more effectively lettering even more people in.
Even while running a tight ship, I disabled certain plugins and “unnecessary” in the moment to ensure my site was as light as possible.
Optimize and Downsize Pictures.
My viral post had one main photo.
I didn’t have any extras and probably would have deleted them if I did. At the bottom of your post when linking to other relevant posts on your blog, you can also do text only links if you have more photos inside your post that shouldn’t be deleted.
Ultimately ads and photos are going to slow down your site. While I had side bar ads, I purposefully did not monetize internally because 1) it wasn’t the nature of my post and 2) it would have slowed my site down even more.
Monitor change or lack therefore in Google Analytics.
When you notice that your stats never go above a certain number, but never really fall, chances are your host is capping you.
It happens even with great hosts and it’s something to be aware of. In my case, I knew a host that could make my stats go up in the same day and so I made the tough decision to change in the middle of it. If you can contact your host and they can bump up bandwidth and you don’t have to change, even better!
Whether you are soliciting help from friends, family, or even extra help from your host, now is the time to get that help.
It will cut down on your stress level to not have to do it all. So one person can moderate comments,you can ask your host to look through plugins to see which ones can be disabled for the time being, you can have a tech person who is in charge of re-activating disabled plugins, scripts, and other things taken down to lighten the load.
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