I can’t even imagine, as a business owner, to spend money on a developing your business page only to lose control of your website. You can’t login, you can’t update information, and you don’t own the domain YIKES!
Obviously, hiring a reputable company is the first step. A company like, let’s say, HUNGRY MEDIA! (of course you knew I would say that). No seriously, when you are in the process of working with a web developer, you should have access to your own website. I’m going to give you some questions to ask as you are going through your process.
Will you be able to access your website?
The answer to this should always be YES! Being the owner of the website, you should have access to the control panel so you can access your website database. You should receive a URL, username and password. Having the FTP server name, address, username and password. This will get you straight to the website files. Having a list of other software that was used when they built your website as well as any licenses and fees that are required , which SHOULD mean that you are the person that is purchasing this. That way, your name is on each aspect of the website and your developer can not steal it or block you out.
So, how do you know if YOU actually own the website?
This should be negotiated before you ever sign the contact with your developer and should clearly be stated in the contract. You will want to specify that you own the design, content and most of the time, code as well.
Can you buy your own domain name?
Another crucial key is for YOU to buy your own domain name! It’s a very simple concept… you buy it, you own it. The developer buys it, THEY own it! You see the pattern here? Even though you are paying a developer to build your site, there is still work for you to do if you want to have control of it.
And lastly, will your website be backed up?
Please for the love of all things good in this world, back up your website! If you don’t know how, PLEASE ask your developer to please back up for you and make sure you have access to the back ups (although if you have access to your website, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to do this yourself).
Protecting yourself with the above steps can help you easily avoid your losing your website, content and all the hard work you have put into a crucial part of your business. Choosing a web design company that works for you shouldn’t be hard or scary. Just ask the questions that we recommend!
Have a horror story to share about losing control of your website? Dealing with a similar problem now? Tell us about it. firstname.lastname@example.org