As a small to medium business owner, you have a business to run and don’t have time to create a website, much less learn how. Fortunately, there are plenty of web developers and designers, as well as marketing companies, ad agencies and others that will offer to help create your website, while offering you all sorts of promises of untold riches that will befall you if you just use their services. While this may be a slight exaggeration, it’s not exactly that far-fetched.
Choosing who will be taking care of your online presence is an important decision and not one to be taken lightly. The website you present to the world will be the public face of your company to potential customers who are interested in your product or service and are making decisions about whether or not to do business with you.
Many people and companies that offer to help take care of your website needs will offer to “take care of everything” for you and tell you not to worry about it, but there are a few things that you need to make sure remain in your control to avoid potential future problems if for some reason you should choose that the relationship you have with your web services provider isn’t working out. The following are the most important important things you need to make sure remain in your name and under your control.
Your Domain Name
Your domain name is your address on the Internet. It is what will be associated with your business once you create your site and it accrues authority the longer it is in place and the more legitimate sites link to it. Once that history is built up, search engines recognize the domain name as an authority in a specific space. Don’t allow your web or marketing agency to take control of your domain name or change it to something more “flashy” or easier to remember. You can always get alternate domain names and use them as aliases, but make sure that you are always the administrative contact for your domain names. That way, you can always point the DNS for your domain to wherever you currently happen to be hosting your website. Also, it is usually a good idea to lock your domain, so that it can’t be transferred to another provider without your consent.
Your Hosting Account
Make sure you always have control and access to your hosting account. You should be able to control your email accounts and what shows up on your site. While it is usually okay to allow your vendors to have access to your accounts to make the changes you’re paying them to make, you should always have access to the master account.
Your Social Media Accounts
While you will need to give your web/marketing vendor access to your accounts, you should, again, always retain control of the master account. Also, a mandatory reminder should go here to use secure usernames and passwords. I cringe every time someone gives me access to their account and their password is something like the name of the business or brand. Keep your passwords safe and make sure they’re not easy to guess.
By keeping control of your master accounts, you will ensure that you always have the ability to make the changes necessary when your relationship with your web developer or online marketing company comes to an end. Taking care of these details up front will save a painful process later.