The majority of small businesses run on a tight budget, so when it comes to creating a website for their business, they are ripe for the picking by unscrupulous web designers and web developers.
It is very sad to admit, but the truth is that some people are out to take advantage of people who are not tech-savvy and don’t understand how to protect themselves and their business, when it comes to websites.
If you believe that just because you have paid in full the cost of a new website, then you still might be in trouble in the future. Three of the most common website-related problems faced by business owners are that they are paying high monthly fees and have no idea what services they are receiving for their money, they pay upgrade fees that don’t seem to make any difference to their websites and, worst of all, vital account information is withheld, so that they can’t move their website to another hosting account or developer.
So how can you protect yourself and your business?
- Check the terms and conditions: Some developers actually retain copyright ownership after your website has been developed and all accounts have been settled. So before you sign up for a new website, make sure copyright confers to your business once the bills are paid.
- Make sure you own your accounts: While your developer can of course set up your accounts for you, make sure they’re in your business name, not the developer’s. Also make sure you’re using the correct business name or legal entity, including your ABN. This is especially important for domain names, because transferring ownership later on can involve fees in the hundreds of dollars.
- Ask for the account details: If you ever want to change your hosting in the future, have your website redesigned by another developer, or sign up for a marketing package, you will need your website credentials. Without this information you cannot move hosting accounts and you cannot give access to the database of your website to another developer. In other words, no-one else can move, edit or manage your website if you don’t have the name of the provider who hosts your website, the user name and password to access your hosting account and the FTP username and password. This information is completely separate to any login details that you use to access and update the content on your website, so make sure you have both.
It is vital that you have all of this information from the designer or developer. If they drag their feet or refuse, you can escalate to legal options, but in the meantime, your business suffers. Your best course of action is to engage a web design company that has an established reputation in the industry and to ask for this information now, before it is too late. We’ve seen it happen all too many times.
If you need a hand gathering your domain, hosting or website information, phone us on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online. We’d be happy to help get it all sorted out for you.