Jun 06, 2017
Regardless of the company you are partnering with for your web, design and marketing needs, there are a number of best practices that every company should adhere to. Being able to separate your business assets from a web developers services is crucial for keeping your hair from turning gray. In our opinion, this best practice is designed specifically to create transparency between the company and the client, and truly offer the best solutions to meet your needs.
What do we mean by ASSETS and SERVICES? Often times, a web development company will begin a project with a client, and the overall assumption is that the agency will simply handle everything. This ends up meaning that things like hosting, advertising accounts, social media accounts, etc are created and controlled by the agency. The general idea of this concept is creating a “one-stop-shop”, which may appear to be an advantage. The byproduct of this practice however is that is locks the client and the agency into a relationship, which might be absolutely fine, if for any reason the client needs to switch to another developer for any reason, it creates friction. Or the worst case scenario is that the company goes out of business or the developer moves away, and doesn’t provide access to these assets, the client is completely locked out.
Our philosophy from the start has always been to work with the client to establish a basic level of access and control over their major assets. Then we set up management access to Boundless through the client’s admin level account. What this does is provide management and “one-stop-shop: level service while still maintaining admin access to the main accounts.
We work with numerous clients that have come from other providers that spent the better part of a week tracking down ownership and login credentials to basic necessities like domain name logins. Previous designers may be unresponsive or unavailable and it becomes terribly frustrating to nag multiple parties for access.
We do understand that it takes a little more effort from the client. But the benefits of maintaining basic account level control over major assets pays off in the long run.
What Sorta Stuff Are We Talking About?
This is perhaps potentially one of the most consuming asset if you do not directly control your domain name. If you do not currently know where your domain name is registered or how to log into that account, we recommend every business begins the process of uncovering those details.
The cases where this becomes most difficult is when an agency or individual provider registers a domain for a client years in the past and is no longer around or in business, and they are now unresponsive. Always maintain control of your domain name!
Whether you are using Adwords or Social Media advertising, we highly recommend that you create these advertising accounts using your own company accounts. This is two-fold. First, it shows a high level of transparency between the client and the agency that allows the client to see what’s actually being billed for advertising costs. Second, if for some reason the client needs to move to another provider or no longer wants to advertise on any given platform, they retain historical data of the advertising campaigns.
Be aware that just about every platform possesses the capability to assign administrator roles to agency employees. If you for example own your Facebook account, you can easily grant access to an agency to create ads and posts.
Hosting services are a little less certain. In some cases it makes sense for the agency to set up and manage the hosting. In most cases however it’s in the client’s best interest to maintain the account and simply provide access to an agency to log in and make changes. It all depends on the needs of the client (do they want more management versus or just the best deal based on their needs).
If the website developer wants to maintain control, we recommend that they set up a completely separate account that can be logged into separately so that the client can at least access the website’s core files and functionality. This also applies to hosting that is part of a reseller package. There’s no reason to begrudge a developer for using host reselling services as long as it is set up to allow autonomous access through a separate control panel, such as a cPanel, to your individual hosted files, email and databases.
Where it gets sticky is if the hosting is setup with a myriad of other websites and to gain access to one grants access to all. This puts the developer in a pickle because they can’t afford to give any one client access to everything, but they’re also stuck because of the way the server was setup. Asking BEFORE the project goes live will avoid this problem.
Don’t use free email services that come with your hosting as a general rule. There are exceptions, but 90% of the time, just don’t do it. The only scenario in which this makes sense is if the only functionality you need is to forward emails on to another address. Professional email solutions from Google and Microsoft are extremely affordable, typically at around $5 per user each month or less. Professional business email is something you simply need to budget for regardless of your company size.
These solutions offer features like universally available emails in modern technologies such as IMAP and Exchange, meaning you won’t lose email and storage is never an issue. Manage forwarding addresses, out of office messages, and additional features like online cloud storage and numerous other advantages.
Personally, we recommend OFFICE 365 by Microsoft based on it’s excellent functionality and huge range of additional tools and software.
If you haven’t thought about this before, put together a list and just start picking at it. Keeping a master list of all of your business assets will go a long way to maintaining your sanity as you grow and build your business!