Why Website Backups Can be a Deal-Breaker for Your E-Commerce Success

Due to the innovations and growing trends in modern-day digital entrepreneurship, building an e-commerce website is more doable now than ever. For instance, more and more digital entrepreneurs are choosing to run a dropshipping business due to its advantages over traditional business models.  

With drop shipping, suppliers will handle the inventory, stock management, and product shipping to customers for you, allowing for lower overhead costs, flexibility, and scalability.  While the ins and outs of dropshipping are certainly not without its challenges, the obvious benefits to be had from running this type of e-commerce business is hard to turn down.

What’s more, because of how easy it has become to build a fully-functional online store from scratch due to the myriad of intuitive website builder tools online, people are starting to realize that website development is not really an obstacle to their dream of having an online business.

While there is certainly truth to that statement, it’s worth pointing out that e-commerce website development isn’t a walk in the park.

In the competitive e-commerce landscape, an online store requires several components to be profitable — from a solid content marketing strategy to beautiful landing page design. All of which may take weeks, if not months, to be planned, executed, and maintained.

Through this daunting process, you also have to be watchful for threats that could topple your progress, such as:

  • Human Error
    One of the risks of being a non-developer is committing mistakes that could unstabilize your website’s backend. This is especially problematic if you had a DIY approach and plugged your online store into a content management system or CMS.   
  • Server Crashes
    Even if you are extremely careful with how you manage your website, unexpected server crashes may also cause data loss. The scope could be anywhere from a few files or an entire website’s data being erased.
  • Cyber-Attacks
    Lastly, cyber threats such as Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attacks and malware infections could render your website unusable. Although most incidents can be countered with the right cybersecurity solutions, they may also cause permanent damage to your online store — if not cripple your business with the heavy costs of cleanup, loss of sales, and a ruined reputation.

Unnerving, right?

That’s why, if you’re serious about your online business, you’ll invest in a backup strategy that will protect your progress and results if things come to worst.

Why Backup?

In e-commerce, success takes more than a profitable business idea and the technical know-how of web development. You also need to learn how to manage risks and protect the sustainability of your business in the long run.

That’s why every self-respecting online store owner backs up their online store’s data on a regular basis.

For those who don’t know, a backup is essentially a copy of data made and stored for security purposes. This makes it possible for them to pick up where they left off if something happens to their e-commerce website.

Backups also help you establish a consistent brand image in your niche. You don’t want to submit your startup to industry news publications or directories and reel in traffic — only for them to find out that your site is either down or is nothing like they expect.

Most of those disappointed users might never come back.

Fortunately, creating website backup isn’t exactly rocket science.

There are truckloads of tools out there that make website backups a breeze. Some of them might even be already baked into the e-commerce solutions you already use.

Without further ado, here are three steps to start backing up your online store.

1. Start with Your Web Host

First and foremost, your backup strategy should start all the way from your website hosting service.

Modern web hosts make sure automated backup tools are part of their arsenal. You can verify this by contacting them firsthand and asking for assistance during the initial configuration process.

Of course, different web hosting service providers feature different control panels.

For the sake of this, let’s take a look at how the backup tool works on SiteGround.

On your control panel, simply scroll down to the “Backups Manager” section and click on “Backup Tool.”

Hosting backup tools typically have two modes: restore and create.

SiteGround’s backup tool is particularly straightforward and barely needs any configuration at all. You just need to enter a name for your backup and click “Create” — the tool will then back up everything in your hosting account.

You do, however, need to pay attention to the time of your backup, especially if you run a large online store with hundreds, if not thousands, of products in your catalog.

The thing is, backup creation takes up a lot of server resources. If you don’t time it right, your users may experience site-wide slowdowns and crashes.

As a rule of thumb, schedule your backups at times when your target users aren’t active — usually at night. Unless you target a local audience, you may need to rely on an analytics tool like Google Analytics to understand their usage patterns.

2. Creating Offline Backups

Although cloud-based backups are more affordable, scalable, and overall more convenient, creating local backups using an offline storage device has its perks.

For one, you don’t have to worry about malware and other cyber-attacks that may affect your cloud-based backup’s servers. Local backups also make data storage, retrieval, and restoration a lot faster since files don’t have to be transferred via the internet.

You can create offline backups with a desktop-based application like Handy Backup — a paid solution that supports major databases like MySQL, Oracle, IBM Db2, and MariaDB. It also allows you to back up content straight from your CMS.

3. CMS Automatic Backup Plugins

Finally, most e-commerce platforms and CMS solutions now support extensions that allow you to schedule automatic backups without writing a single line of code.

Shopify, for example, has the Automatic Backups app, whereas WordPress has the UpdraftPlus backup plugin. Both of which allow you to manually create cloud backups of your online store as well as easily set a backup schedule.

Plenty of CMS backup extensions also let you handpick the information you want to back up. UpdraftPlus, for instance, can backup your plugins, theme files, media uploads, and everything else in between — individually or as a whole.

Remember, running a busy online store is already a lot of work.

By scheduling automatic backups, you can focus on other areas of your e-commerce website’s growth while your results are secured in the background.

Again, make sure you set a backup schedule tailored to the usage behavior of your audience.

It doesn’t matter if the performance impact of the backing up is negligible or not. Regardless of the backup method you choose, it’s always possible for the process to overload your server and crashes your site.

Such occurrences are something you don’t want your customers to witness.

Conclusion

With regular backups, you can work on the expansion of your online store with confidence.

You never know when the next cyber-attack, mistake, or server crash may happen. And in the e-commerce industry, just one of these events will wreck the ill-prepared.

Eric Hebert

Founder and Lead Digital Strategist