When we opened HM Marketing in 2015 and began helping business owners launch new websites, they would share the contracts they signed with their previous web design company. We were shocked by what we saw.
Multi-year contracts that transferred the business owners domain and other assets over to the web design agency. Then when the business owner wanted to leave, they would get with huge cancellation fees.
These are sneaky, slimy tactics to make more money off you. A simple one or two page, plain-language agreement is all you should be signing and you should understand exactly what you’re signing up for.
Domain Name & Website Ownership
Besides the agreement saying you own 100% of your website and domain name at all times, their should be very little said about domain and website ownership in your agreement. If there’s a wordy section talking about domain name and website ownership, chances are you’re signing something you shouldn’t be signing. If it doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t. Get a second opinion. Send me over the contract and I’ll be happy to take a look at it for you! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Your web designer will most likely be using WordPress software to build your new website. For WordPress websites, here are all of the credentials you need to be able to have complete control of your website at all times. If you need someone to test these credentials, I’m happy to help:
DOMAIN NAME REGISTRAR LOGIN
Websites can be moved, copied and rebuilt, but domain name registrations are the keys to your kingdom. Your domain name registration is the most important online asset you own. Make sure you always the login credentials to your domain name registrar.
WordPress Admin Access URL: http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin/
MYSQL ACCESS (this is the database of the website)
SFTP (This grants you access to the website files)
Ask them to keep a shared doc of all the accounts they are opening up or using to maintain your systems. You should have access to all of these. Things like your Google My Business listing, Yelp, MailChimp, any online tool they are using, you should be able to log into yourself.
After you have tested all of these credentials to make sure they work, ask the web designer to keep all of the credentials the same, and if they do need to change credentials for security reasons, they must update your shared credential list.