Anyway, that will guarantee your full website assets should be embraced. Failure to have full access to your website is like building a house on your own land but prevented from going in and out by the builders. In fact, recently a friend could not renew his expired domain because the person with sole access to the website was hospitalized!
It is very common these days. Businesses and small professional brands have completely lost control of their websites. Recently, during a discovery call with a prospective web design client, she told me how she lost ownership of her domain after she falls out with the designer. In fact, she did not understand until she tried to visit the site again.
If you can only access your site by just clicking on your domain link, you are just a visitor. Actually, you should own your site and then grant access to whoever is maintaining it for you. A company may advertise to design websites for just 10,000.00 Nigerian Niara. Meanwhile, the company would still own everything and can put you off anytime. This is not a proper arrangement for you if you mean business.
You must count it as a very important and longstanding decision for your brand when contracting a web designer. You cannot afford to give the task of building your online presence to a business or person you cannot trust. This is especially important as your website is a key component of your brand. This decision can make or mar your reputation. You must choose someone who has an interest in your professional growth at heart.
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Positioning your business to thrive or raising your star as a professional brand will require you to properly contract a reputable web designer. This would entail you make some deposit and have full access to your website from day one. If you are paying even a kobo for your project and signing a contract, then you should own your website 100%. Even doing pro bono web design work for an NGO would still entail handing off the whole website access to them on completion.
There could be a different scenario where you have a friend with some hosting privileges. In this case, he or she may decide to register a domain for you and manage it for some time. Even in this case, it should be who you trust that will handover to you as soon as you can renew your hosting plans and run your website.
In my few years as a web design strategist and through extensive online research, I have noted some non-negotiable measures when contracting a web design project.
1)You Must Own Your Website 100%.
When you enter an agreement with a web designer or web developer for a website project, you should “own” it. You must make sure the contract gives you full right of ownership. Some agencies or web designers may state they won all because they built it. That’s not correct unless you are not paying. Every content including images, subscriptions, paid assets, code, etc belongs to you. If the contract is silent on these areas, open up a discussion or run away.
2) You Must Register The Domain In Your Name.
A domain is like your house address which is unique to you while you live there. On the other hand, your website hosting is like the land which you have leased or bought for your house. These a not properties you want to give some the ownership. Even if one has to manage such properties for you, the documents will still be in your name and with you.
In my very few years of doing web design and strategy, I have seen some unfortunate scenarios. In one of the cases, after some disagreements, the web designer refused to hand over access to the client. So the client is just waiting for the domain and hosting to expire.
Your website, from inception, should be set in a way where at least, 100% access in granted you as soon you make the final payment.
3) You Must Have Have Access To Your Web Analytics.
Web analytic tools like the Google Analytics platform will help you understand how visitors interact with your site, where they are coming from, how they behave on your site etc. This enables you to know areas to improve or optimize. You may see this as additional work that you do not have time for. All the same, installing your Google Analytics with your personal credentials does not mean you must manage it yourself. In fact, most digital and social media platforms, have a setting that allows you to add managers. Some will allow limited roles while you as the owner maintain 100% ownership rights.
4) You Must Do Backups And Save Them As Yours
The importance of backups for a website can not be overemphasized. Backups will enable you to restore your site to particular date if something goes wrong. You must demand the creation of regular backup for your site – probably weekly be done by your designer.
It can be very devastating to lose every content on your website. So it is vital to do backups. For a WordPress website, some of the plugins like UpdraftPlus can be scheduled to do regular backups that stored in any linked storage app like dropbox. The backup must be done and saved in your name.
5) You Must Have Full Access To Your Website.
Once your website has been launched, ownership does not just mean what you see. You must have full access to the back end. Even if you don’t understand how things work, you still must have full access. You can then give limited access to whoever will maintain your site and or even your designer. So hosting companies like the siteground make it easy for the designer to build and ship every detail to you while you decide if to grant access to your web designer as a collaborator.
The long and short of it all – you must have full access to your website. My few years’ experiences have shown that taking these 5 Smart Ways To Make Sure You Have Full Access To Your Website is non-negotiable. They can easily be implemented by requesting to have your web information. Also, a detailed and carefully crafted contract following professional discussions with your web designer will go a long way in makings things smooth. Never assume that nothing could go wrong. Even in very amicable situations, some unforeseen challenges could come up.
Embrace the smart ways and be rest assured of full access to your website.