Every so often, we’ll get a new client who is unable to provide access to her existing web assets. From their web hosting control panel and Google Analytics account to their website’s backend and even their domain registration details, they’re completely locked out – with no way to log in or access them at all.
In most cases, it all starts with good intentions. The client hired a web designer/developer, and they took on full responsibility for all the web assets – the accounts, the logins, the emails, everything. The client was probably even happy to have hand it over – to get the burden off their shoulders and into the hands of a wizened professional.
Unfortunately, while this sort of set-up can certainly make managing and maintaining your site easier, it can also cause some problems later on down the line.
Just think about it: what if your web manager moves, and you need a site update? What if you get into a dispute, and they refuse to give you your passwords or access to your social accounts? Even worse, what if they retaliate and post slandering things on your site?
You need to have control of your assets if you want to prevent this.
A Different Approach
I can’t stress enough how crucial maintaining control of your website is. Even if you use a developer or other professional to manage the nitty gritty details of it all, they should still only have access. They should never, ever, ever have sole control of your passwords, your accounts or any other part of your assets.
At Spot On Digital, we have a different approach from other firms out there. Instead of taking over your accounts and controlling all your assets, we make sure you have full control at all times.
As it turns out, providing this kind of access – without giving up sole control – is actually pretty simple. It just takes some forethought and few handy changes in your accounts.
Tips for Maintaining Your Control
The most important step is to make sure all accounts are initially set up under the same email address – an email address you have access to and control over.
Now, I don’t mean you have to use your own personal email, or even an email address from work, but it needs to be one you can access in the event of an emergency. We recommend you take one of the following routes:
- Create a new email address on your domain (firstname.lastname@example.org, for example)
- Use an already owned Google account (or Gmail account)
- Create a new customized Google or Gmail account specifically for the occasion (this can provide a strategic advantage later on, as you can link your Analytics and Webmasters accounts to this email, too.)
No matter which route you choose, you’re safeguarding yourself from lockout, should something go awry with your web manager. You’ll be able to reset your passwords in an emergency, and you can block access to your online assets in seconds.
Important Assets to Control
Now that we’ve covered the importance of maintaining control of your web assets, it’s time to break down exactly what assets you need to be controlling. Of course, you want to control your website – but do you know which bits and pieces? If you’re not super tech-savvy, it may get a little confusing.
Additionally, there are a number of other assets that are crucial to your reputation and your success as a brand, and maintaining control of these is important in the long run as well. Let’s take a look at each now.
First and foremost, you want to control your domain. This is the actual web address – the URL – of your company’s website. Under no circumstances should you ever let someone else purchase or register your domain. Getting locked out of your domain could mean having to start your website completely over from scratch – and that means more money, more time and, most likely, lots of lost sales.
It might sound overwhelming, but even if you’re not a web pro, registering your own domain is a breeze. Each domain is registered with an official domain name registrar – an organization that manages the reservation of Internet domain names. You’ve probably heard of GoDaddy, right? That’s one of the biggest domain registrars in the biz.
Typically, you’ll only need to access your domain account a handful of times – and usually just to update your contact information, renew your domain or set up your initial nameservers when building your site. Regardless, it is a crucial component of your web success, and it should always be under your control.
Your web hosting account
Your web hosting account is where anything and everything on your website is housed – the pictures, the content, the forms, the actual design files for your site, and much, much more. It is the single, most important piece of your website’s puzzle.
To give you perspective on just how important your web host is, think of it this way: if someone wanted to completely delete your website from the face of the earth, it would only take a few clicks in your hosting account to make it happen. And your site would be gone forever.
Aside from the dramatics, your hosting account is also what you’ll need to access if something goes wrong on your site, if you need to make changes to your design or CSS, or if you need support from your hosting company (when the server goes down or you get a virus, for example).
For these reasons, retaining control of your hosting account is vital. Many hosts will allow you to designate additional users, as well as set controls for how those users can interact with your account. These can be great solutions if you need a web manager or developer’s help.
Your Google accounts
Just building a website isn’t enough. If you want a successful web presence, you need to monitor traffic, optimize your pages for search, and market your brand via PPC. And all of these actions? Well, they require a Google account.
Google Analytics and Google Webmasters tools give you insight into your audience, your traffic patterns, the performance of your pages, and even your traction in SEO efforts, and they’re crucial if you want to keep improving your site. Google AdWords, on the other hand, gives you a way to reach a targeted audience and guarantee your site a top spot in search rankings.
But having access to your Google account is vital to accessing and utilizing these powerful tools, so make sure yours is safeguarded as much as possible. Don’t give your username and password out unless necessary, and always make sure the password recovery is attached to your cell phone and personal email account. This will prevent a lockout from ever occurring on your watch.
Your online directories listings
Getting listed in online directories is another great way to gain visibility and improve traffic to your website. Sites like Google+, Yelp and even YellowPages help you list your business, your services, your pricing and your location, allowing customers to easily find you in their time of need.
After initial set up, you’ll really only need to access the accounts to respond to customer reviews or make changes to your listing. But even though these times may be few and far between – it’s still crucial you can access those accounts when the time comes.
Let’s say your store moves locations in 2015. If you can’t access your directory accounts, potential leads could be sent to the old, incorrect address. That means you won’t get that customer, you won’t get that sale, and you’ll most certainly lose out on some revenue.
The same goes if you change your phone number, your web address or any other little details of your business. You don’t want misinformation out there about your company – it can hurt both your sales and your reputation in the long run.
A Final Word
It’s simple, really: If you have any web assets to your company’s name, make sure you have full control and access to them at all times. Enlisting the help of a developer or web manager is fine, but never hand over the reins without having a backup plan first. Remember, it’s your sales, your reputation and your business on the line – not theirs.