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The ‘not so sexy side’ of website design

glasses on a documentI was wondering what to write about today when I received yet another phone call from a small business owner unhappy with their current web designer and wondering what they can do about it.
I understand that it’s tempting to hand everything over to another person, especially when it’s something you don’t understand or it’s not the focus of your business. I know because I’m like that in other areas of my life. BUT (you knew that there was a ‘but’ coming didn’t you 🙂 ) as the business owner of your business the buck stops with you.

So since you have the ultimate responsibility for your website there are some things you need from your website techy person – note you may only get these after you’ve paid for your website but in my opinion you should still get these things.
Domain name – firstly it should be registered in your name (or your business name). You should know which company it’s registered with and the login details (usually username and password). Yo need this info since there are some companies out there that will send you what looks like an invoice for your domain but it’s really a registration for a similar domain and it’s very expensive.

Hosting – again this should be set up in your name or your business name. Again know who the company is (it may be the same company that has your domain name). Make sure you know the username and password if it’s different from your domain name company.

For WordPress websites most hosting companies use a control panel such as CPanel. Again make sure you have a copy of the username and password to get access. For some hosting companies this access is through the hosting account but others set it up separately.

I don’t expect to know what to do with these usernames and passwords but you should still know them. Some of them you may never need but if you decide to change website designer then you want to make sure you have them to pass over to your new website designer if they are required.
Google analytics – make sure that this is set up under a gmail account that you control. I’ve come across several website designers that set all their clients google analytics accounts under one account , their own, and then it can be difficult to get access to all the data. Once it’s set up under you own account you can grant access to others if they need access for reporting.

So why am I telling you all this? Because I tend to think from the point of view of a small business owner first and many years ago I went through a similar thing myself. I had a techy guy who set up the domain and hosting for my website but I didn’t have the details. He went AWOL and I couldn’t get hold of him. I didn’t have those passwords so I was left without any support until he got back in touch.

I decided then that my business website was too valuable to me for me NOT to have access to this information.

I know that this isn’t the sexy side of website design but you need to have access to this information in case you want to change your website, and your website is one of the assets of your business.

By the way I give all this information as standard to my clients once they’ve paid.

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