When the techn-babble finally ceased, the client turned to us. "So, I'm screwed, right?"
"Yes," we replied, "you're screwed."
What the programmer was saying in his own special way was that the client had failed to maintain control of his website and we were now going to have to start from scratch and build him a new site. He wasn't the first client we've had this unfortunate conversation with. Sadly, lots of companies have lost control of their websites.
Now lest you think that there is a rampant epidemic of websites wreaking havoc in the online world, losing control of a website doesn't mean the site is akin to a rebellious teenager. These sites aren't staying out past curfew smoking and drinking. Their owners, however, are unable to control them.
On the surface they look like nice websites. They're live. You can click on them, look at pretty pictures and read some interesting information. Try to update one of those pictures or a bit of that information and the owner quickly realizes he has lost control of his website.
Losing control of your website is easy to do, but luckily, maintaining control of your website is just as easy with our 5 Tips for Keeping Your Website Safe.
- Make sure that your domain name is registered to you. Many times a web programmer, IT person or another third party may have registered your domain name for you. If this is the case, make sure they register you as the Owner of the domain. Not sure how your domain is registered? Look it up on www.whois.com.
- Know who hosts your site. The web company that built your site may host it for you... or you may only think they host it for you. They may be outsourcing your hosting to someone else. When the web company goes out of business, you have no idea where to find your site. Not sure who hosts your site? This information is available at http://who-hosts.com/.
- Insist on always having the logins for your website. Even if you do not know what to do with them, make sure you know what codes you need to access the files for your website. Your files are stored by the company that hosts your site. Insist that they give you access to the files.
- Ask your web company for you website files. It's always a good idea to keep a backup of your web files. In the event that your website is corrupted or you cannot gain control of the live site, you have another copy of the files on hand.
- Avoid building a site that cannot be moved. Web companies often build websites using technology that they own such as a proprietary database or e-commerce solutions. If you wish to move the site to another hosting company, you will not be able to as your current web host owns the technology your site is built on.