What to do if Your Web Design Company goes AWOL
So you think the unthinkable is never going to happen to you? That lovely web design company you’ve enjoyed a cordial relationship with these past three years would never leave you in the lurch, would they?
But what if…your frantic daily calls to the web company aren’t being returned. Your twenty or so emails are out there ‘somewhere’ floating around in cyberspace and you haven’t the first clue how to access your database.
While this kind of thing doesn’t happen every day, (mercifully), it’s far from the rare occurrence you might imagine. Only this week, the team at Orange and Blue got a call from a business whose web company has seemingly dropped off the face of the planet, leaving them with a ‘dud’ website they can’t access.
In recent years, we’ve had a handful of these angst-ridden conversations with business owners who have found themselves stuck in limbo, unable to move forward because they have literally handed over the keys to their ‘real estate’ to a designer they can’t get hold of.
In the vast majority of cases, the sudden disappearance of a web company can be attributed to personal issues: illness, family problems, finances or ‘burnout’ – the emergence of which may only come to light at a later date – if at all.
So as a responsible business owner, what should you do to ensure you never find yourself in the unfortunate position of getting locked out of your own website?
Presenting: Orange and Blue’s top 5 tips for protecting your most valuable online asset: Your Website:
Purchase your own domain name:
We’ve all heard horror stories of domain names being ‘held to ransom’ by web design companies who will charge you an extortionate ‘release’ fee, before they will allow you to transfer your site hosting to another provider.
Orange and Blue are always happy to help their clients secure the perfect domain name for their business, so you can retain your chosen domain no matter what the future brings. Holding control over your domain will enable you to point to a different, new, website if you lose access to an existing one.
Make sure you have access to the website files and database on the hosting server:
Most web developers will not be happy for clients to be accessing the server files of a website. This is a good safeguard on their part to ensure the site remains functional. However, what happens if you, or your new developer, needs access to these? Even if you never use them, it will help you sleep at night if you have a set of keys, the access login, for the bit of the server your website is on.
At Orange and Blue, we are very happy to take care of everything so you never need to use those login details, but we are also happy to make sure you have a copy. Each client gets their own unique Google/Chrome login within which is a simple, up to date, text document explaining where everything is and the necessary access codes.
Choose a web design company with proven longevity:
There could be a multitude of reasons why your web designer has gone to ground, the lesson here is to take care in engaging the right creative team in the first place.
In the world of web design, longevity is priceless. Seeing as you asked, Graham Stacey, Orange and Blue’s founder and director, has been in the business since 1997!
Make certain your website is backed up and ask for a copy:
Good practice in web development hosting suggests daily backups archived for 30 days and monthly backups for 12 months. This might sound excessive and perhaps it is, but in a world where too many things can go wrong, it is better safe than sorry. Your web developer should have a backup policy and access to those backups.
However, it is not unreasonable to ask for the monthly backup to be emailed to you. Providing you have space to store it, or to arrange a cloud storage facility. This is the fail safe. If we lose the website, at least we can go back to the last copy.
At Orange and Blue we have a thorough backup policy and can arrange access to those if you would like.
- Can you get hold of your web company today? If not, call us.
Being in regular contact with your web developer is a good habit to get into. If the last time you spoke to them was a year ago, then this should raise concerns.
At Orange and Blue, all our websites include a 3 month review with the client. We will report on website engagement and statistics and more importantly ask the right kind of questions to make sure you are getting what you hoped for from your investment.
If you have any doubts about your web design company, or you are struggling to get in touch with them, don’t wait another day to do something positive about it. This time next week the business may not exist!