“Heaven Forbid!”: Where is Your Website Info?
I don’t know exactly how or where the phrase “Heaven Forbid” comes from, but this tale is one of warning and simple organization for the new year. As we are putting away our Christmas trees and decorations, or put away our 2010 files to box up, you should also take this time to make sure you your critical website information in order. Start 2011 off on the right foot!
Website Information? What website information? You know – your user name and password for your domain and hosting accounts? O00h those! You say that your website designer has all that information? Really? Well accidents happen and life happens my friends. I am here to give you a firm warning that your web designer or the person holding all of your critical information to your website can have an accident, get sick or Heaven Forbid – die unexpectedly. This sounds horrible I know, and it’s tragic. But it can happen, and I know some people that this has actually occurred.
I am in the middle of helping one client right now straighten out this type of mess. Not a mess because the previous web person is terminally ill (which is not a way I like to acquire new clients FYI), a mess because the client was panicked and had no idea where to find their website information. The website person, while still alive, simply can’t remember the passwords and details because they can’t remember if he wrote it down or not. About a year ago, a friend called me and asked for my help as their beloved designer was unexpectedly killed in a car accident and they had no way to access any of their accounts including their email newsletter.
It’s such a morbid thought I know, but if you take your website serious and your business serious, you will understand if I leave out the emotion for now and discuss the practicality of it all.
Website Owner Rule #1 – You should always have all of your critical account information kept in a safe place, and up to date.
This possible situation is actually a two way street. Your website person and you should both have your account information (up to date of course) for anything relating to your website. Let’s start with you first. You should have a copy for the obvious reasons as described above. Even if you don’t have a clue about a website or understand the difference between hosting and domain name, get the information from the person who does understand it. Most of the time it is simply an oversight by your website person not give you the information. But if you don’t what you should have, how would you know what to ask for? In the minimum I suggest you email you designer or developer right now and ask them to forward the basic information to you in an email. And as for your web person, they should have any account information they need that is related to your website. If you change your account username or email or password to your Facebook for example, make sure you have written it down somewhere and that your web person has an updated copy. This is what you want to have…
Critical Site Information
- Domain Account Number, Username and Password and URL
- Domain Account Contact Information (who is listed?)
- Domain Account Credit Card on file (when does it expire, and which card?)
- Hosting Account Number, Username and Password and URL
- Hosting Account Contact Information (who is listed?)
- Hosting Account Credit Card on file (when does it expire, and which card?)
Secondary Site Information
- Social Media Accounts Username and Passwords
- Newsletter/Mail Accounts Username and Passwords
- Privacy / Proxy Accounts Username and Passwords
It does not make a difference if you know what the above items are or not, but you need them for several reasons. First, you should know that you are listed as the current and proper owner of your own domain name and hosting package. It is your site after all. There are designers out there for one reason or another, set up accounts in their name until final payment as way of ensuring payment. Handling things this way can become needlessly complicated when having to transfer the account information. I prefer to set up the accounts with the client information, my email address and build the site on a different server and transfer site and email when final payment has been delivered. Changing emails is no problem in most accounts, however trying to change the account owner information can be extremely complicated.
Second, as a business owner, your domain name is now considered an asset of your business. Your site can add monitary value to your business value whether it be used as a marketing tool, lead generator, product sales or informational. The longer you have had a website attached your your domain the better the value. The age of the website can effect search engine rankings. So if you ever sold your business (no matter how big or small) don’t forget to add your domain name and website to the asset list.
Third, as an individual, your domain name is now considered an asset of your estate. Sounds strange huh? If you created a website for yourself, a local cause, school or anything else, you need to consider what would happen to the site if you were not there? Who would maintain it? Your domain names need to be address in your will. If you want your site to continue on some type of legacy, make sure the critical information is kept together and included in your will.
Finally, it just saves time and frustration. Companies that host your website or maintain your domain name go to great lengths to protect the registered owners information. It becomes a huge hassle to call up and have to convince a company that you are really the account owner if your not listed. If you are listed, you need to know who to call and what information to provide them to gain access.
In the end, it will always be a lot easier to have a piece of paper with your account information on it stashed in your files with your cars pink slip, and with your web person. Easier for you, Heaven Forbid if anything should happen to your web guru, and easier for your family, Heaven Forbid if anything should happen to you! Now be a smart website owner and get your website information organized!
FREE DOWNLOADABLE PDF!! Here is a copy of the worksheet I use with my clients! Download the PDF and start gathering your critical website information today!