Has your website disappeared or is falling apart?
And your web designer along with it? You may be suffering from the case of the disappearing web designer!
Fortunately it doesn’t happen too often, but it still does happen; you engage a web designer or developer to create a fabulous website for you, but a year or so down the road they’ve gone! Not only have they gone, but your site is in dire need of attention.
Why does this happen?
The company may have gone bust, or maybe the developer has got a ‘proper’ job. The second example is familiar, you employ a web developer thinking they run a full time business, but in effect it is something they do on the side. As soon as a full time contract comes along, they may not be bothered with your site any more.
Many web developers and IT operatives provide web services outside of their full or part time employment and look after their clients very nicely, but some do not.
Sometimes this happens where a website designer is inexperienced and doesn’t understand the scope of the work involved. Just throwing a website together simply to get paid an move on to the next is not ideal. A website should be an investment and is your most important marketing tool. It needs to function as a point of interest for your customers and attract sales. It will be well designed and reflect your brand in a professional manner. In order for a website to do this, it should be planned first and the copy should attract both Google and humans alike.
If you find yourself with a disappearing web designer, here’s what to do
Who owns your domain?
If your web developer sourced the domain for you, you can find out where it was purchased here https://who.is. This will tell you who registered the domain, where from and (depending on the provider) give you the contact details of the purchaser.
Where is the site hosted?
If your web designer or developer set up the hosting for you – and this is common practise, find out where. A web designer will have a preferred hosting company or two that they like to use. Usually the website designer builds a strong relationship with the hosting company and can get problems sorted out very quickly. They know what questions to ask and provide you with a tip top service leaving you to get on with your business. But if your web developer has disappeared, you will need to rescue your website. Another resource where you can find out about hosting is here: http://www.whoishostingthis.com.
Once you have found where your site is hosted, and/or the domain registered, you can contact them. Keep their information safe, as you will need to contact them more than once. Once you have located the hosting company, you will need to set up your own account with them and make steps to transfer the domain to them as well if it is with a different provider. It is easier to put the domain and hosting with the same company, especially if you are having to take control of your domain and hosting yourself.
Own your domain!
The most important part of your website is the domain ownership. If you don’t have ownership of the hosting, owning the domain is crucial. If you lose the website, the web designer and the hosting, you can simply point the domain to a new hosting account.
Hosting is not so important for you to own
If you are find all this a bit daunting, don’t worry! You can engage a new web designer to host your website for you, all you really need to do is have control of your domain. If you have purchased hosting, then you can allow your new web designer access.
Point your domain to the new hosting
Your new web designer will help you with this, or you can approach the hosting company direct. Pointing a domain means telling the worldwide web where to find the website. Remember, there are two things to purchase – domain registration and hosting. Domains are cheap, hosting is a little more money. (Well, some domains are not so cheap, but that’s another discussion).
How to be sure your next site is in safe hands
We have been in operation since 2002, and will not be going away.
We love what we do and take pride in creating the best possible website for you. We hear about the odd problem with a disappearing web designer and can help you if you are in a difficult situation.
Register your domain your self or get the ownership transferred to you.
Use a UK company or at least an international one that has 24/7 support.
Places to register your domain:
Hire a reputable company
Look at their work, read their About Us page, and check that they are local to you, have an address and are open about who they are. If you can’t see where they operate from, can’t contact them very easily, don’t give names of personnel, think again.
Does the new web agency take backups of their clients’ sites?
Do they maintain Plugins and the WordPress platform?
How long have they been in business?
Where are they?
How good is the hosting support?
Can the site have good localised SEO from the outset?
Will there be SSL Certification?
Do they understand the importance of your brand?
Can you get a timeline for the work?