Inside: Why your website is an important business and three things you must do to keep it protected. Scroll down for video if you prefer to watch.
She just woke up to a bunch of emails from her customers saying they were trying to order but her website is down. Well, not down exactly, but not accessible either. Instead, it has a weird message implying she hasn't paid her bill.
As she frantically types out an email to her web developer, she's wondering if this has anything to do with her request to terminate her website maintenance contract. She just sent it yesterday afternoon.
As it turns out, it does.
The web developer, unhappy to be losing a customer, is on a power trip. Unfortunately, he also owns the domain and is the sole admin on the website.
And he knows one thing:
Your website is an important business asset
It's one of *the* most important assets you have. Yes, I know you have social media accounts, and you have your mailing list, but think about this…
Most people don't go looking through your Instagram account or Facebook page to see if maybe you answered their question two months ago. Instead, they use Google and that article you published on your blog last year pops up and leads them to your services.
This^^^, btw, is an excellent argument in favor of search engine optimization.
People are also not emailing you to place an order. They plop your company's name into Google and click on the first link that comes up. It better work and take them to your website.
Your very much *functioning* website. That you control.
So, how do you make sure your website remains an important business asset?
There's nothing wrong with hiring people for tasks that are outside your zone of genius.
In fact, it's the right thing to do because it frees you up to focus on your own strengths and grow your business without wasting precious time on DYI-ing stuff you can barely wrap your head around.
But hiring someone and relinquishing all control to them are two different things. To avoid the opening scenario and all its associated headaches, focus on the following:
#1 Own your own domain
Never let anyone else purchase a domain on your behalf. It doesn't matter how convenient it seems. Or how much you trust that person.
Someone might buy a domain on your behalf and have every intention of transferring it to you. But often, there's a 60-day lock period before the transfer can occur.
A lot can happen in those 60 days. The person gets hit by a bus. I mean, I hope not, but it's possible. And then they die and your domain is theirs, and good luck getting it transferred.
Or it falls through the cracks. 60 days is a long time and if the person doesn't set a reminder to do the transfer, it may not happen. And it's not exactly a high priority for them.
My point is, if *you* purchase your own domain from the get-go, it's yours. And it should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway, keep your domain registration paid up.
#2 Be an admin on your own website
This one seems so obvious, and yet, I see it so often – the website owner is listed as an editor, not an admin on her own website.
It's like paying a builder to build you a house and then he doesn't give you the keys. “Oh, you can just ring the doorbell,” he says.
It's your house. Or in this case, your website.
So you should have the keys. And that means full admin access.
Some developers worry that you might mess up something but that's BS. If they provide you with solid training on how to use your website, your chance of messing up something is very low.
Plus, if you do, it's more money for them when they fix it for you.
People you hire shouldn't be such control freaks that they lock you out of your own
And that brings me to…
#3 Hire only ethical web designers/developers
I know what you're thinking – how will you know who's ethical and who's not?
You ask them.
Not as in, are you an ethical person? But as in, hey, how do you handle domain purchases? What role will I have on my website? Will you make me an admin?
If you're talking to a potential hire and they cavalierly tell you they'll take care of buying your domain or so much as hesitate about giving you the admin role on your website, run fast in the opposite direction. Because you don't need this kind of trouble.
And there are enough of us web designers/developers who work ethically.
For example, when you work with me and the domain purchase process isn't something you want to do alone, I walk you through every step of it on Zoom as you share your screen.
And my clients are always admins on their own websites. Always.
We've covered why your website is an important business asset and the three things you *must* do to keep it that way – own your domain, be an admin on your own website, and hire only ethical web designers/developers. So now you know.
Are you ready to have a beautiful, easy-to-use website that attracts your dream clients while you sleep?