How to recover when your website is held hostage by a designer

How to recover when your website is held hostage by a designer

Imagine that you cannot get your website back!

Your web designer can hold your website (and your business) hostage.

It’s an all too familiar problem that I often hear about. You can’t edit or improve your website and your  business is stuck in limbo. You may begrudgingly start over.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

 

So, WHY is your website being held hostage?

Let me tell you some of the horror stories I’ve heard on strategy calls.

  • “They didn’t do what we wanted and keep the money. I have no idea how to log in to anything.”
  • “They have the passwords and I cannot reach them. They aren’t responsive.”
  • “They are no longer in business and say that they don’t have the passwords anymore.”
  • “There was a dispute over payment and they took the website down.”

Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Not only have you lost your investment, but you don’t have a website to generate traffic and leads. …

 

Lessons Learned. What went wrong and how to fix it …

It is time for some tough love.

Did you spot any potential red flags? You likely did not. But that doesn’t mean some of the responsibility doesn’t lie with you.

Before you invest with any service provider, you need to own your accounts and your assets. Maintaining ownership is critical because you are a responsible business owner …

 

You don’t own your domain name account

The biggest no-no? Not owning your domain name account. If you cannot log into your registrar and renew or cancel it, you don’t own it. If you do nothing else, buy your own domain name and remember your login. The account needs YOUR name on it.

Fortunately, this only takes a few minutes. Once purchased, you can either leave it ‘parked’ until you are ready to use it, or have your web developer link it to your hosting account.

No matter what, the domain name is your biggest asset. It’s where people find you. If you ever have issues with your hosting service or web designer, rest assured you can route your visitors to a new website with ease.

The fix: Request the the company/freelancer transfer the account to you. If they are unwilling to do this, you may have to go to the registrar to plead your case. Come prepared with proof that you are the owner of the business as well as any contracts, documents, and communications with the designer. It is possible that you may get your domain back.

You can also create a new domain name, but you’ll need to update your promotional materials to reflect the change. Otherwise, wait for the domain ownership to expire and purchase the domain once it’s available again.

 

You don’t own your hosting account either

In theory, you should own all your accounts. Yet, many designers offer to pay for your hosting as part of your service – either as a reseller or hosting it themselves. Either way, whoever purchased the hosting plan owns the account.

If you have purchased the hosting account, it’s your responsibility to keep up to date with the hosts terms and payments. You should know how long your hosting will last and how much it will cost to avoid any unwanted surprises.

The fix: If things go sour regarding your hosting account, route your domain name to another host. At least you’ll be able to keep your website running with the same domain name.

 

There is a payment dispute

One of the ways that a designer can hold your website is if you have outstanding payments or if you are on a month-to-month plan to keep your website online.

You may have had to pay a small amount upfront and an installment each month per the terms of your service. You enjoy getting a website for a fraction of the price. But, the designer may have the right to disable it if you lapse on your payments. Once you start to send traffic to your website, it’s not a good look for your business if your website is down.

The fix: Make the payment upon the agreed upon terms. Ask the designer for all files associated with your account in case you want to go elsewhere.

 

The company/freelancer is out of business

This is also a possibility that you cannot avoid. If they have your passwords and accounts, you’ll find it difficult (if not impossible) to recover. Yet, your business should not depend on someone else in business.

The fix: Your domain name might be available or transferable. Please contact the domain registrar to have them help you out

 

What to do for next time …

Remember that I said that it doesn’t have to be this way?

Here are 6 ways to avoid having your website taken hostage again.

 

Own your accounts – all of them

Know what’s being set up on your behalf. At the very least, you will need to own your domain account. Ask your designer what he or she recommends and purchase it yourself. Your designer might be an affiliate of that company so that there is a mutual benefit.

 

Read the agreement (if there is one) and ask questions

You have a right to ask questions about the service that you are paying for. A real professional does not mind answering any questions and it’s a red flag if someone is being evasive.

A professional will have a contract or agreement.

You have a right to know what you are paying for, what the deliverables are, and how long you’ll be supported. You also have to be sure that you will own the site after all payments have been made.

 

Remain engaged during the process

Even though you have hired a professional, you have the ultimate responsibility to get what you want. Along with asking questions, you need to make sure that you receive appropriate status updates.

Provide meaningful and timely feedback. If you go for long periods of time without follow-up from your side, there’s little reason for the designer to prioritize your project.

 

Change your passwords

Change your passwords frequently, especially when the project is over. You should have complete control once the designer has handed off the site to you.

If you work with a virtual assistant or any other service provider, make sure that you are sharing your passwords with the right people . change the passwords after the service ends.

I recommend using a password manager, like LastPass, to share access with someone else. Using a password manager will make it easier to store and harder to forget your passwords.

 

Your experience can be a good one!

Despite a previous negative experience, not all businesses are the same. With a little vetting you can get a great designer that takes you an your business seriously.

You can be cautious and build great professional partnerships at the same time. Hopefully, this blog post has empowered you to make some changes in how you work with service providers and put you at ease for your next project.

Do you need assistance figuring out where to get started? Do you feel overwhelmed setting up your business.

 

Share This Post 

Kimberly Inez Mays

Kimberly Inez Mays

Online Brand Strategist, Founder

With over 10 years of web design and development experience, I help entrepreneurs build and grow their online brands. I love everything tech and can’t wait to help you shine online!

I currently reside in NYC with my 2 selfish cats and I’m addicted to caffeine (which helps with the late night coding).

Fun fact: My initials are K.I.M 🙂

How to use your website to boost your likability, credibility, and trustworthiness

How to use your website to boost your likability, credibility, and trustworthiness

Every coaching business has a website. So you need to have one, right?

Yes, while this is true, what some of my coaching and consulting clients fail to realize is that having a website is not a one-and-done deal. It’s a living marketing tool and the online home for your online business. Why not put it to use?

So, you have a website. What now?

You can use your website to be known, liked, and trusted. Your website can boost your likability, credibility, and trustworthiness with just a few simple tasks per week.

The first thing to consider is your visitor’s point of view. Who are they and what do they need?

The second thing to consider is: How does my business fulfill that need and how do I convince them that I’m the solution?

And most importantly … make it easy for them to choose you as the solution.

 

Why drive traffic to your website?

I see so many coaches and consultants laboriously posting new content and live videos on social media. Their content is chock full of good advice and actionable tips that their client’s need.

However these business owners do contain a call to action that drives traffic back to their websites. Why is that?

Many entrepreneurs unknowingly pass up the opportunity for more website visitors. And that is a big mistake. A potential client doesn’t get the opportunity to:

  • Get the full picture of what your business does and the problems that you solve
  • Read the benefits and details of your programs, retreats, and speaking topics
  • Watch your videos
  • Read your blog
  • Download your free resource

 

Your ideal client will need to know, like, and trust you before making a buying decision.

If you are selling high-priced services, you may need to show up several times in front of the same person. You need to build a relationship and your website can help you do that.

Having a website where all of your content, programs, and resources are all in one place makes it easy to move them along from curiosity to consideration.

The best part of this is that you get to determine what their experience with your brand will look like. Let’s think about some of the ways that we can do this:

  • Provide valuable information and content – from your website
  • Provide a downloadable resource and provide an upsell or offer on your ‘thank you’ page
  • Invite them to watch your video library
  • Invite them to read your blog post and offer a freebie that the end
  • Host your training/webinar on your website
  • Embed your live videos
  • Answer online questions on forums with a link back to your website

Your options are endless. The focus should be on building a relationship with your potential clients online.

 

Keep the relationship moving forward

Once someone visits your website, the relationship doesn’t end if they don’t buy. You should always make a plan to get in front of your visitors again.

How do you do this? Re-targeting.

When someone visits your site you can display a Facebook ad on their feed, send them an email, or display different content when they come back. If you think this is creepy or annoying, it’s really not. It’s your way of providing valuable information so that you can solve whatever particular problem that they have.

  • Placing a Facebook pixel on your website
  • Tracking which pages people have looked at to understand interest
  • Sending a welcome and follow up series to subscribers based on the actions they’ve taken on your website
  • Continuously providing both information and offers (I prefer video as much as possible to allow people to get to know you)

So there you have it. Hopefully this blog post has given you some more ideas on how to use your website to build trust, credibility, and relationships with all you encounter online.

Share This Post 

Kimberly Inez Mays

Kimberly Inez Mays

Online Brand Strategist, Founder

With over 10 years of web design and development experience, I help entrepreneurs build and grow their online brands. I love everything tech and can’t wait to help you shine online!

I currently reside in NYC with my 2 selfish cats and I’m addicted to caffeine (which helps with the late night coding). 

Fun fact: My initials are K.I.M 🙂

Discover what can a sitemap do for your business website

Discover what can a sitemap do for your business website

The most important part of a website is the design, right?

Nope! If it doesn’t convert, it’s a brochure. A pretty expensive brochure. You must plan the customer’s journey from the landing page to your contact page.

A sitemap is a visual representation of your website that outlines the page structure with a focus on conversion.

In this quick video, I walk through a sitemap I’ve created and show you how you can use one for your business.


Share This Post 

Kimberly Inez Mays

Kimberly Inez Mays

Online Brand Strategist, Founder

With over 10 years of web design and development experience, I help entrepreneurs build and grow their online brands. I love everything tech and can’t wait to help you shine online!

I currently reside in NYC with my 2 selfish cats and I’m addicted to caffeine (which helps with the late night coding). 

Fun fact: My initials are K.I.M 🙂

Video: 3 Ways to Shine Online

Video: 3 Ways to Shine Online

“Shine Online” – What does that even mean?

It means putting yourself in the best position online to attract your ideal clients. It means boldly and confidentially stepping out to show the world exactly who you are and why you are here – without apology.

In this short video, I talk about 3 ways that you can shine online to get the profitable online business that you want.


Share This Post 

Kimberly Inez Mays

Kimberly Inez Mays

Online Brand Strategist, Founder

With over 10 years of web design and development experience, I help entrepreneurs build and grow their online brands. I love everything tech and can’t wait to help you shine online!

I currently reside in NYC with my 2 selfish cats and I’m addicted to caffeine (which helps with the late night coding). 

Fun fact: My initials are K.I.M 🙂

Kevin Talks Logos for Small Businesses

Kevin Talks Logos for Small Businesses

In this video, I get to interview my graphic design partner, Kevin, about his process for designing logos for small businesses and entrepreneurs – and why it’s so important to understand the business’s goals BEFORE any design work is implemented.

Share This Post 

Kimberly Inez Mays

Kimberly Inez Mays

Online Brand Strategist, Founder

With over 10 years of web design and development experience, I help entrepreneurs build and grow their online brands. I love everything tech and can’t wait to help you shine online!

I currently reside in NYC with my 2 selfish cats and I’m addicted to caffeine (which helps with the late night coding). 

Fun fact: My initials are K.I.M 🙂

Are you ready to confidently create a website that attracts your dream clients?


The Shine Online Workbook guides you through essential content and website planning exercises, so you can create a website that works for your business as a powerful lead-generation machine!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Are you wasting time looking for the right business systems?


Use what I use! Save your time, save money, and finally get back to running the business you love!

You have Successfully Subscribed!