You own your web site.
That doesn’t seem like it should need to be explained, but there are ways in which a business owner gives up control of their own web site, until they don’t control it at all.
These are some things NOT to do, as they give up control:
- Taking advice from a consultant like me just because it makes technical sense, UNLESS is also makes business sense.
- My advice usually is solid from the technical perspective. But your business trumps technical reasons. You have your own business plans, your own strategy, and your own goals. And if your business goals have valid reasons for going against my technical advice, say so. And do so.
- Letting a web designer create and own your web hosting accounts, or domain
- Those are your accounts, and your domain, not theirs. If you ever want to use a different designer, you should not have to get permission and cooperation from your current designers. You don’t need to be in charge of the technical operations of your web site, but you do need to be the owner of all the accounts and the top-level controller of access to them.
- Letting a design agency use your domain as a billboard for their work.
- I don’t mean they cannot use it in their portfolio. I mean all the links at the bottom of sites saying “This site built by ‘Small Town Design Firm, Inc.'” Hey, I get it — I work for a startup small town design firm, too. But I don’t believe that it is right to put my link on your site. It uses your traffic, which should be carrying your branding and message to your audience, and instead pushes my marketing to their eyes. That isn’t your business goal, it is mine, and not the reason I built a site for you.
- Using a content management system that you cannot leave.
- Wix is the biggest one that comes to mind here. Sure, Wix is popular, because it is easy. But have you ever tried to export your site out of Wix to a format that could be pulled into WordPress? That tool doesn’t exist, at least not that I could find. (There are pages that describe how to do it, but they amount to copy/pasting your entire site page by page. You are tied to their tool, which limits your capabilities.
Please note that I am not trying to attack your current designer, or Wix, or anyone you have worked with. I’m a firm believer that we all are a community of people who are better when we partner together vs. when we compete with each other. But I also believe that as a business owner, you need to be aware of when you are giving up future control of your options.
So when I work on a consulting project, I strive to give my clients full control, by not taking them down any of those roads:
- I have them set up their domain and hosting accounts. I’m happy to sit down with them to help. After we create their own accounts and logins, we create logins for my team.
- I do not put links to my site on their web site. I ask them to personally give referrals, and I ask them to give reviews on Google to the marketing firm I partner with.
- I use content creation tools that build transferable content. Plain HTML, WordPress, or if I do use a custom content management tool, I document the database structure.
- I always make sure people know my advice is just advice. I present my advice as proposals, and ask them which of my proposals they would like to move forward with. I respect the fact that I work for my clients, and they are investing their money in my time. I don’t waste my hours on work items unless I know they have confirmed that they believe it makes sense for their business.