I want to talk about how to avoid shysters and so-called web designers’ hijinks so you can own your website and online presence and stay in control of your assets.
A few times a year someone reaches out to me because they “can’t get in contact with their web designer/developer,” or worse, “their web developer pulled their site down” for whatever reason.
Many falsely believe because a web designer/developer is a professional, it’s okay to leave everything in their hands. Don’t fall into that kind of trap.
No matter what the reason may be, if your website is not in your name … you do not own the site. There’s no gray area here and your only recourse is to create a new domain. This is sad but true. Here’s what you can do:
Register your own domain name
It’s important to always register and open your own accounts. You can have your webmaster do this for you, but they will need your credit card information so make sure you’re working with someone you trust. Or better yet, do it yourself! Keep this information in a SAFE place. Your web developer will also need access to the site for backend maintenance and updates. Once your site is up and running, change the password.
For registration, I recommend Google Domains. There’s no other more reliable online registrar out there. Google is not going away during our lifetime, our children’s lifetime, nor their children’s lifetime. If you need guidance on how to register, contact me directly. I can show you how!
Find a website host
Once you have your registrar, you have to “park” your domain somewhere. The big name hosting companies are GoDaddy, Media Temple, and Flywheel. I’ve partnered with Parsons Hosting which has provided my clients and myself with superior service. They’re professional, provide stable hosting infrastructure, and their market pricing is competitive.
Always maintain a clear, consistent communication loop with your web developer. Set project deadlines and deliverables on an ongoing basis. There are very good online project management tools available for collaborative workspace, such as Google Workspace or Trello.
Static x Dynamic
Polished and Clean
Today’s market, particularly if you have a younger, target audience, is very tech-savvy and sometimes referred to as digital natives, meaning they’ve grown up in the digital age. This audience prefers storytelling to traditional marketing strategies or gimmicks. The words real and fake are valuable to remember when building the tone and language of your website. Another key attribute is to be authentic – whether in your own voice or in collaboration with others.
Today’s audience also prefers information laid out in a simple, easy-to-digest format across platforms in addition to follower feedback. A good tip is to use a comment or review about your business at the header or footer of a page or a floating text box between sections. These are captivating to the eye and have the tonality of personal input that makes a connection to the reader. For example Vanity Fair and the New Yorker use this type of layout. Also put some A+ storytelling into your newsletter or blog to keep your audience engaged.
Avoid excessive text or graphics on a single page, which can appear cluttered and distracting. Instead, use hyperlinks to redirect key information (for example, highlighting a service or profile) to another source page.
Be smart the first time and don’t allow anyone to take you or your website out.