Y’know what really burns my butt (besides a flame about 2 feet high)? It’s when web designers employ tactics that essentially intimidate small business owners into using their services or hold them hostage through their domain and hosting accounts. So I’d like to share these tips on how to protect yourself from having it happen to you.
Here are three ways you can ensure you won’t be pushed around by a web designer:
1. Buy your domain name outright. Your domain name functions sort of like a deed. It states that you own a piece of “property” on the web. You wouldn’t give your web designer the deed to your house. Don’t let them hold the “deed” to your domain (the dot com or dot biz, et cetera that is your web address). Be sure to reserve the domain name you really want when you want it, even if you don’t build on it right away. It stinks to finally decide to launch a website only to realize the URL you’d chosen two years ago is no longer available. There are countless domain registration services available on the web. I recommend that you choose one that offers hosting as well. That way, you keep all your services with the same provider. There is a kind of serenity in simplicity.
2. Purchase your own hosting. If we liken your domain name to a deed, then we can liken your hosting account to the foundation, walls, roof, windows and so on of a house. Having a hosting account gives you the materials for building a web site, so to speak. I personally recommend GoDaddy to my clients based on their awesome support and great specials, but there are many other good hosting providers out there as well. (On a side note, the platform that you choose to build your website with, be it WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, HTML or a drag-and-drop builder like Wix, Weebly or your hosting provider’s brand, can be likened to the window treatments, carpeting and furniture you choose to decorate your home with.)
3. Educate yourself. Attend a workshop or seminar, get a WordPress For Dummies book, or work with a professional who trains laypeople to have a hand in maintaining their own web sites. Even if you don’t plan on being primarily responsible for updating your site, it’s always good to have an idea of what’s going on behind the scenes. It empowers you to own your online presence!
One final note: when looking for a web designer for your small business website, I recommend you choose one who is willing to work with YOUR domain and hosting, not someone who will insist on you using THEIR domain and hosting services.
[Yep, this article contains affiliate links. If I’m gonna recommend something anyway, might as well make a couple pennies on it! I only recommend things I truly use and love myself!!]
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Got a story about a web designer you worked with and/or how you were rescued from the clutches of such (no naming names, please!)? I invite you to share Your Two Cents in the comments!