Finding the right marketing agency or freelance help is about as easy as finding a beetle in a beanbag. And sometimes you outgrow their help or realize their efforts aren’t cutting it. So you decide to make a change to a new agency (that might be called Morether).
Problem is, your old developer, agency, or nephew’s wife’s brother won’t turn over the keys to your stuff. What stuff? Well, your domain, your admin email sign in, your hosting info, your website login, or even your original logo or photos.
At Morether, we’ve seen it often. We’ve onboarded new clients only to find we had to delay a website launch or can’t use their YouTube channel because of bad blood from the previous agency or freelancer.
First of all, it’s wrong. As a business owner or entrepreneur, you shouldn’t have to deal with hegemonic agencies or ticked off web developers. It’s your business, your website, your logo, your stuff! You own it. These agencies and creators should be ashamed of themselves.
So what should you do?
Give me a plan!
Follow this list to start, and you’ll be golden:
- Buy your domain. Domains are cheap. It’s not hard to buy one. We use Hover.com. They don’t upsell you on junk you don’t need. When you buy your domain, keep your password in a handy place. It’s ok to share login information with your new agency to make DNS changes, just ensure you can change the password at any time.
- Look for language in proposals or contracts that specify you own the content. If it’s not there, ask for it. It can be as simple as, “All content created on this website including copy, graphics, pictures, and videos are the property of the client.” Most of the time web developers will claim the code on the site. That won’t affect your ability to get the content back should you split ways.
- Ask for vector files of your logos. Vector graphics allow you to modify and scale to any proportion as well as print over transparent or different color backgrounds. In other words, you can do anything in print or web with your vector logo. We’ve worked with companies who have no idea where their original vector files are. Store them in a safe place. Store them in a safe place. Store them in a …you get the idea.
- Consider using WordPress as your content management system for your website. WordPress is free and can travel to any hosting company (such as Flywheel) no matter who created it. Using Squarespace, Wix, or another web builder is limited to that company. If you want to build more functionality or change the template, those builders aren’t cut out for customization. We use WordPress exclusively as does 30% of the rest of the interwebs. Wix will also bake your Gmail and domains into your Wix account. Extracting your Gmail and domain from Wix is like pulling two Texan gals off George Strait.
- Lastly, Google, oh Google. We’ve had to recover a plethora of Google accounts. Gmail, Google My Business Pages, YouTube, Google Ads, you name it. Ironically, this is the easiest to avoid. We all have Gmail accounts. When your agency, friend, or freelancer sets up any Google service, insist that they share admin/owner rights with your Gmail account. Do not pay them until they do. This is the most common problem we’ve seen as an agency. It’s not pretty to untangle.
Bonus: The Big Box Warning
If you use what we call “big-box” marketing efforts that promise effective “SEO” work and powerful social media content, you may be in for a shock. Some of these large marketing companies that call you or knock on your door and sell you the $300/month gig own all the content they create. When you turn off the faucet (aka, the monthly cost) they take back the water…and the sink. Be careful about committing to big-box marketing companies. Stick with local agencies or freelancers.
But you said freelancers and agencies can get frisky and territorial too.
We’re getting there.
Bonus 2: Your cousin’s wife’s brother who’s a graphic arteest!
Enter the buddy who’s been doing your website for 15 years. Aside from the fact that not a single lead has come in through your website, he’s a friend and charges you $100/year to host it.
But when you ask him to give you login credentials to your site and hosting, tempers flare and now you’re in a pickle.
How does that happen? It happens when your web developer, agency, or “friend” purchases a domain, designs your logo, or builds a website, without an arrangement for you to have control over all of the items from the beginning.
The most critical problem is losing control over your domain. When you can’t access your domain to make hosting changes, repair hacks, or simply shut the site down, things get nasty. Losing control of your domain could cause serious damage to your company.
We hope that helps. You deserve to own your stuff. But when you lose track of it, it feels defeating. At Morether, we will never hold a client’s assets hostage.
If you have been held hostage by another agency, freelancer, or cousin’s cousin, we understand. We have ways of getting our way and extracting them from greedy hands, with kindness (and Andrew Strahl, who’s about 6’7”).
Maybe it’s time to take control of your marketing and use an agency that’s interested in your success, not forcing you to pay ransom fees for materials that belong to you. Reach out today!