We have been working with a lot of customers that already have a website, already are paying someone to help them manage it, but either aren’t happy, or are interested in saving some money on hosting, SEO, SEM, or whatever. When we start the engagement it becomes obvious that there are some major roadblocks that have to be overcome, and some that simply might not! Here are 4 simple ways to make sure you are protecitng yourself when working with a third party web or SEO company.
Register your domain yourself, or just make sure you own it!
The first thing you do when setting up a company is to register your “fictious name”, you do this on your own (or threw a lawyer) and you do this to ensure you have all of the informaiton you need to run your comapny (like tax id number etc). Why wouldn’t you do this for your domain name? Take the thirty seconds to register your domain name with a reputable company like DreamHost (who we use), GoDaddy or the like.
If you are working with a 3rd party already, check your WhoIs information. Most business owners don’t know that their website name (or domain name) should have their information on it. Remember posession is 9/10 of the law, and this goes for names to. Simply go to sites like WhoIs.com or Network Solutions and enter your domain name. You (or your company) should be listed in the Registrant information at a minimum. Also ensure that the “Transfer” capability is locked (just look for something that says locked, can be transfered, etc and make sure it is negative). If none of this is true, then simply ask your third party to change it before doing anything else with them.
Own the content… don’t pay for it every month
Many web development or hosting companies take advantage of you as a customer. They get you hooked into some contract that somewhere states that anything they write is their intllectual property. What this basically means is that if you don’t want to use them anymore, you need to rebuild your site completely because the content isn’t yours.
Make sure you work with a company that give you all of the content that is developed. Pages, images, text, etc. Remember you are paying for it, you should own it.
Get the logins!
Any good webdevelopment company is going to be hooking you up with other things like facebook, twitter, Google Place, Google Analytics accounts etc. Make sure that you get the login information from them, and store it in a safe place. Keep it in your emails, print it out and put it in the safe etc. You would be suprised what some companies will do if you are late on a bill, or get them mad fast enough. Also… how else do you prove that it is setup, and truely yours. Think of it this way… you wouldn’t buy an awesome car without the keys!
Get the content once a quarter!
Every single web development, or hosting company makes almost daily backups of your content, or can at least export everything from your site. You might not know what to do with it, but some savy tech guys (like those here at CarlowSEO) will. They will know how to take that content (that you should own like we mention above) and rebuild your site if your hosting, or Third Party company decides to completely turn your site off for whatever reason.
There it is. 4 very easy ways to protect your business when working with a Third Party SEO or Web Development Company.