Do You Have an Office Live Small Business Website? It Will Disappear on May 1, 2012.

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If you do, Microsoft's decision to change its business model gives you no option.
You must move your website.
Or to be more accurate.
You must build a new website.
Microsoft has not made provision for migrating its sites elsewhere.
After digging around the support site for some time, I realized there is no salvaging any of the sites I have built for prior customers or myself on that platform.
Unfortunately, dealing with a move is essential.
Your site has a grace period up until April 30, where you will be able to continue using the Office Live Small Business (OLSB) service.
Then your site will disappear.
Time is critical here! Here are the basic steps you need to take.
  • You will need to arrange for new hosting.
    Some of the most popular are bluehost.
    com, HostGator.
    com and GoDaddy.
    com.
    You may find local hosting services as well.
  • Before choosing your host, find out what services they provide for the fee they quote.
    You will want at the very least a host that gives you WordPress as an option.
    If you are the type who liked the "free" aspect of OLSB, then you'll be amazed at what you can do with a free WordPress site.
  • Once you've arranged for your hosting, you need to decide how costly it will be for your business to not have a working website.
    If it would be devastating, then you should consider buying a good domain name that would provide SEO benefits to you.
    You can always add your existing domain name to the new domain as a sub-domain until you completely rebuild your new website.
  • Look for a theme that would translate quite easily to a look and feel that is similar to your existing site.
    Or take this opportunity to transform the look and feel of your site.
    If you aren't comfortable with HTML, you may want to hire someone to help you with this.
    There are also some wonderful WordPress themes that you can purchase for a very reasonable fee.
    These paid themes tend to offer more options and pizzazz.
  • If you used Office Live to create a header and logo, you'll need to either take a screen capture of the logo or create a new one.
    This is a job that may require hiring someone with graphics skills.
  • Once you've completed your new site, it will be time to contact Office Live.
    This is the most risky part of the whole process.
    You have to unlink your domain from OLSB and get the domain registration information from Melbourne IT (out of Australia) if you purchased the domain through Office Live.
    Follow the instructions your new host and Office Live provides.
    It will differ depending on whether you decide to keep your domain registration where it currently resides or whether you decide to transfer it to your new hosting service.
  • If you have privatized your domain registration, you will have to make it public to receive the official transfer code that allows your new host to take over the domain registration.
    Your domain registrar can also provide the DNS information so the domain remains registered with the original registrar yet work with your new host.
In either case, I'd recommend the switchover for a long weekend or a time when your business traffic is low.
Because Melbourne is in Australia, our holidays and theirs rarely coincide, and they are also a day ahead of us.
If Melbourne is your registrar, you can take advantage of that fact.
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