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PROTECT YOUR (DIGITAL) ASS(ETS): Tips to keep your website safe

Soapbox alert.

This is something that’s driven me crazy since I started my business and it’s something I’ve warned clients about for years.

Now it’s your turn.

Most people employ a web designer because not all of us have the capability (or the extra year of time it seems to take) to put together a website from scratch. And getting a website designed is like remodeling your house – it usually takes a least a month or two longer than you think it will, you lose sleep over it, and you start wondering why you took it on in the first place.

But you did, and it looks fabulous and you’re ready to pay your web designer that last check and move forward.

Hang on.

You need to make sure you are protected. If you’re an independent business owner, YOU OWN THAT WEBSITE. You need every link, username, and password associated with it.


Here’s the problem.

Web designers move on and go out of business. Or you decide to use another service later to refresh what you have. Suddenly you realize that you can’t even get into the website you spent thousands on that’s also tied to the URL that your entire business depends on.

At the most you’re looking at a major problem. And if you’re just moving on from the service you’ve had before, you’re dealing with a lot of awkwardness as you now ask for the information that’s rightfully yours.

Here’s what you need.

1. If you have created a Wordpress website, the designer needs to make you an Admin on the account. Most designers make the owners Authors and there’s a big difference. I realize that the designer probably doesn’t want you to go in and mess with anything but the blog function, but the bottom line is that it’s YOUR BUSINESS. You should have access to the entire site. So, make sure you ask for that.

2. Make sure you know where your domain name is and how to access it.

3. Make sure you know where your email is hosted and how to access it.

4. If there is a database associated with your website, get that information.

5. Know where your website is hosted and how to access it. If it’s somehow hosted through your web developer, make sure that it’s in writing that you can move it should you need to.

Addressing this at the beginning of your relationship with your designer is a lot easier than trying to figure it out years down the road. Again, as the owner you should have this information and it should be kept somewhere where you know how to find it. Heaven forbid you should decide to change services and the designer becomes unresponsive or somehow holds your website hostage.

These days, your website is often your business’s biggest asset. PROTECT IT.

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