What to do when you lose control of your website
I hear the same thing so often, from people I’ve never heard from before: “…the web company that originally built my website aren’t answering my calls, or don’t have time for me any more or have disappeared altogether…”
Sometimes its the case that a relationship has just disintegrated, sometimes it’s more an actual dispute, but invariably, the client has lost faith in the supplier to such an extent they’ve given up. The original investment and work that went into the website has either come to nothing, or has been devalued by a general lack of attention over time, so that content is out of date, and enquiries (if there were any) have dried up.
Why do I get these kind of calls? Sometimes people hear about me through a friend or contact, but more often, they find me by doing a local trawl of the internet, searching for ‘web designer Surrey’ or ‘online marketing Surrey’. This ‘local’ factor is significant, because in almost every case, the previous supplier has proved impossible to get hold of. The possibility of finding a ‘local’ replacement is attractive in this case, because it implies accessibility. That is, they know where they can find me and they believe I’ll be able to meet with them fairly easily if required. All of this adds up to a sense of security. I believe that is where I am able to deliver in several ways. First, I am able to show up, in the flesh, and demonstrate my integrity. Second, I am able to make realistic and genuine assessments, because I can get to know my clients’ business in a way only face to face interaction can really achieve. I get to see the premises, the individuals involved, from the receptionist, the staff, to the owner, and even the dog! (Sometimes in that order). And importantly, I am able to maintain trust over time by responding in person, with genuine concern, to any question or issue within a very short time. This means I become, from the very beginning, a trusted member of the team – as distinct from simply a supplier.
Going back to the original enquiry. The problem is usually one of control. The client cannot get control of their website, or often even the domain. If they don’t have control of the domain (www.theircompany.com) they can’t even replace their website with a new one. I begin with that fundamental issue. Once we have regained domain control, if necessary we can start from scratch with the website. Sometimes, however, it’s possible to get the original files, database (if appropriate) and use them to re-position the site.