The most common mistake I encounter in the do-it-yourself marketing community is losing account information. Clients have lost or forgotten user IDs and passwords, primary and secondary contact email addresses, security questions, even where Internet domains have been registered. Here are the strategies I use:
A Good Way to Store Important Account Information
First, let’s talk about where to put said information. I use a wonderful app called Keeper. It’s available on just about every platform, including iOS, Android and Windows smartphones and tablets, as well Mac, Windows and even Linux desktops. Find it at keepersecurity.com.
Use Keeper to store user IDs, passwords, bank accounts and any other information you want kept from prying eyes. Keeper requires you to set up a passcode when you install it that you must enter every single time you access the app. Even after your device’s screen times out you will be prompted to re-enter your passcode. But beware! If you have to remember anything, remember your Keeper passcode because if you forget that then you are so out of luck (yeah, like SOL). The data and its backups are encrypted so there is no way to access the app without the passcode.
I store many things in my Keeper app, including my clients’ account information. When I set up social media accounts for new clients I send them all the pertinent data. Then later, sometimes days, sometimes years, I get a panicked call saying they’ve forgotten their log-in credentials. I almost always have them handy.
I haven’t tested any other so-called “data vaults” but I’ve been very happy with this one. Let’s look at what to put in a data vault that’s related to your content marketing campaign.
Domain Registration and Web Host
I’d start with the domain registration and web host information for your website. Be sure to save the following:
- Domain Registrar/Web Host URL
- User ID
- Contact email you used to set up the account
- Alternate contact email you used to set up the account, if any
- Mobile number you gave for security notifications
- Any security questions you set up as well as the answers
- Date the registration is due to lapse
You may need to use some of the above details to prove ownership of your domain name if it ever gets hijacked. When setting up your domain be sure to use an email address you check frequently in case there are any service outages or billing problems that could affect your website. Also, if the email you use most frequently is under your private domain (like mine: firstname.lastname@example.org), make sure to give an alternate email address such as Gmail, Yahoo or AOL so that if there is a service interruption on that domain the registrar or web host can still reach you.
The reason you store these addresses in your data vault is because of the tendency to establish new email accounts in today’s spam-heavy, hack-attacked digital world. I’ve been surprised to see how many email addresses some people maintain. When requesting a password reset, I’ve known some folks who couldn’t find the email address to which the reset instructions were delivered. They couldn’t recall which one they’d used to set up the account in the first place. Remember, you might be making such a request years after the account was first registered.
Never cancel or delete an email address unless you’re absolutely certain it hasn’t been used to set up any important accounts. Instead, re-secure a hacked email with a stronger password or simply stop using an overly spammed address if you feel you must abandon it. Recently, a client’s domain name lapsed after he deleted the email account he had used to set it up. We were not able to renew that domain without a way to verify ownership, so we had to establish a new one.
Finally, make sure to save all the same information for both your domain registration and web host if you use separate sites for them. For instance, my website is hosted by WordPress.com but my domain registration is maintained at a different site.
If your blog is separate from your website, make sure to save the user ID and password in your data vault. Also, you may want to store the userIDs, email addresses and/or contact information of any other administrators on the account. In case you get locked out, you may be able to reach out to them for help.
Many of us stay logged in to our social media accounts on a semi-permanent basis. We often have our credentials stored in our devices so that they’ll automatically log us in to Facebook, Twitter, etc. However, I’ve had a number of instances in which I’ve had to re-log in without benefit of an automatic feature, such as when changing devices/browsers or when the social media site forces me to for security reasons. Make sure you save your social media IDs and passwords in your data vault.
Whether you use Constant Contact, MailChimp or some other bulk email service be sure to store these log in credentials in your data vault also.
Passwords, Passwords, Passwords
You may be tired of hearing this, but let’s say it one more time: Use strong passwords. Yes, they’re more difficult to type and harder to remember. Using the recommended minimum of ten characters with a mix of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and punctuation beats getting hacked. At least once a month I hear from someone who’s email, social media or website has been compromised. The Keeper app has one more feature that can help you: A random password generator. This is one of the best ways to place a hard-to-crack lock on your accounts, particularly where your finances are involved.
I hope this helps. Drop me a line and let me know.