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I felt compelled to write this article because, in the last few weeks, no less than three of my clients have been facing serious issues with their websites and blogs, thanks to problems with their website designer.
Here are some of the issues you might face with your website designer.
1. Your website designer takes down your website without warning
This could be due to any issue, from non-payment of dues to non-renewal of domain or hosting. My client’s website designer actually took down their website while we were promoting it, causing serious issues with respect to their credibility.
What to do in this case:
Before you pay your designer, ensure that they send you all the login information to your website – from your domain registrar login, to your web hosting (Cpanel) login.
If your designer messes around or threatens to take down your site, change your passwords immediately. Hopefully, the email used to create the domain and hosting accounts also belongs to you and not to them.
2. Your website designer turns out to be incompetent
One of my client’s blogs was completely deleted, destroying months of hard work of writing, publishing and promoting the blog. I can bet that all the Google rankings they earned have been wiped out along with the blog.
When asked, the designer finally admitted that they didn’t know what they were doing and could not get the blog back up and running.
This happens when you hire an incompetent designer, either because you knew them from way back when, or because they’re your “friend.”
What to do in this case:
If you have the login information to your Cpanel and blog, go to fiverr.com and hire someone with WordPress experience to use the backup to get your site and blog up and running. Always save a copy of your domain and Cpanel logins with more than one person in your close circle.
3. Your website designer dies
This is probably the worst case scenario, but it happened to a client of mine, leading to a lot of problems for his business, problems that we are still dealing with.
What to do in this case:
If you know the family of your designer, you can get in touch with them and request (or pay, if required) them to forward you all the emails mentioning your domain from their loved one’s email inbox. You should find the domain registrar and hosting information buried in these mails.
You can also write to the domain registrar and website host, informing them of the demise of your designer, and send them proof of ownership of the domain. They might be willing to transfer control to you. If that does not work, try hiring an ethical hacker to hack into your website and access your information.
What do you need for a website? There are 2 things you need to setup your website:
Once you choose your domain registrar, it’s a nuisance to change it, so find a good one and stick to it. If you need a recommendation for an excellent domain registrar – one that I have used for many years, check out www.tosdomains.net. Remember this must be renewed every year.
With hosting rights, you get the rights to host the website on a server. It's like a home where your website can live and this is where you create the look and content of the website. You can buy a hosting package with a webhost like Hostbig.com – they are reliable and reasonably priced.
When setting up your website, here are some guidelines to follow to ensure that you never face the above dilemmas with your own designer.
1. Create your accounts using your own email
Purchase your domain yourself from a reliable domain registrar, using an email address that belongs to you. Do the same for your hosting package after consulting with your website designer to understand the kind of hosting you require.
2. Keep your login information safe
Save your login information for both – your domain registrar and your hosting package - in your email inbox, and in a file on your computer. Remember where you have stored it.
Share your login information with one or two trusted people in your close circle or save a copy of it in Dropbox and send your family your Dropbox login information. If you lose it or format your computer, you can always retrieve it from the cloud.
3. Hire a reliable website designer
This should be obvious, but if you hire a designer based on sketchy information, you’re heading for trouble.
Your website designer is one of the most important people managing your business presence, and you need to hire them based on their past work, skills and troubleshooting experience.
Just checking out their portfolio is not enough. Also see whether they provide good customer service and are available when problems arise. If they can provide a few good testimonials or references you can speak with (to understand if their former clients are happy with them), that’s even better.
4. Press the reset button
If you face any of the issues above, you should be able to login to both your accounts and change your password, or hire a new designer to reinstall your website and blog using the backups on your server. As a side note, always pay your web host to take backups should the worst happen.
5. Learn how to setup and manage your own website
It’s not rocket science, especially if you use WordPress. You should at least understand how to login and reset your passwords, if not learn how to setup and manage your website and blog. There are hundreds of free video tutorials on YouTube to help you do that.
In conclusion, a little caution goes a long way when it comes to handing over the keys to your kingdom (*your website) to someone else. Proceed carefully and keep the guidelines above in mind when you setup a website for your business.