It’s OK to be a (Web) Control Freak

Far too often, we encounter clients being held hostage by their web agency. Unscrupulous or sometimes just sloppy agencies deny website owners proper and rightful access to their websites. Some have this information hostage as a means of assuring payment for services or making it hard to "break up." Regardless of their excuse, don't get trapped.

As a website owner, you should always maintain absolute ownership and control of the following:

  • You should own your domain and have administrative access to your registrar account.
  • Website Hosting account (including Cpanel and FTP access).
  • Email hosting account.
  • Google Analytics (or similar analytic software).
  • Google Search Console account as well as Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Online advertising accounts such as Google AdWords, Facebook, etc.
  • Google My Business and other directory listing accounts such as Yelp, YP, Apple Maps, etc.
  • Your company's Facebook and all other Social Media accounts.

You MUST have the administrative credentials (username, password, recovery information, etc.) for all of these. Without these, you are vulnerable to unethical characters.

Protect your account and credentials like any other asset. Make sure that you have recorded all the account information, that the billing and mailing addresses are correct, and that you have backup copies stored away from your office. I suggest keeping a copy in your safe deposit box and a locked copy at your office. A password-protected copy stored in a Dropbox or Google Drive account can be beneficial in case you need to access it when you are away from work or in case of an emergency.

By maintaining control of these assets, you are not at the mercy of your web agency or "web dude." In addition, you can revoke access from any third-party contractor if you need to sever relations.

A Word About Web Hosting

An actual hosting provider should host your website. Never let your agency host it for you. When an agency claims to host it for you, they almost always are simply reselling shared rack space on a hosting provider and charging you for something that you could have gotten for less and with more security. We recommend A2 Hosting.

So How Does My Agency or "Web Dude" Get Access?

All these accounts can be granted developer, manager, or agency access from within your account. See each company for specific instructions. Having your agency account rep sit with you while you grant access is OK if you need assistance. Just be sure that only you have the username and password.

Your website is your property. You own it. Please keep it safe.

West Bay Web offers comprehensive Ownership and Control Audits to help verify that your website is entirely under your control.

Need Help? Contact West Bay Web for a free consultation today.

About the Author

Certified by HubSpot in the areas of Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, and Email Marketing, Neal has been involved in Internet Marketing since the mid-Nineties. He also is Google Analytics certified and loves SEO.