Several years ago, my friend Anne needed a few words changed on her website. It was pretty straightforward: she was updating an event she’d scheduled months ago.
Her webmaster was busy and would charge a minimum to make the fix.
So I offered to help. She wasn’t using WordPress (it was a long time ago!) but I knew just enough HTML and CSS to make the fix.
“I just need to log into your host,” I explained.
That’s when we hit a wall. Anne didn’t have her passwords. She called her webmaster. He refused to share them. “I’m the only one who works on your website,” he said.
Anne was trapped. Sure, there were ways to get around her webmaster’s refusal. But they would take time.
Anne wasn’t alone. She hadn’t imagined anything like this happening.
The truth is, when you’re venturing into something new, such as a website, you need to know what questions to ask. Otherwise you could end up saying things like …
“My web designer went out of business. She had my passwords. I can’t change anything on my site.”
“They registered the domain name through their company. Then they disappeared. My domain name wasn’t renewed. It was snapped up by someone and they want a thousand dollars to sell it to me.”
“I’m being charged for all kinds of things – a QR code, adwords, a responsive website and a logo. Do I need this stuff?”
This last one’s easy. A QR code is free. You probably don’t need adwords. Most themes are responsive and you don’t pay extra. And you can wait on the logo.
So how can you not only protect yourself from sharks, but actually end up with a profitable website?
(1) Don’t talk to anyone who takes the initiative to call you and sell something. Ignore anyone who sends you a cold email or unsolicited social media message.
Good people are busy. We won’t invite you to a lunch meeting. We won’t sound desperate.
(2) Learn a few basics about how websites work. Today you can just go to YouTube and google “WordPress websites” and you’ll get a lot of good material. It won’t be in any particular order and you won’t have a single source of information. You’ll ultimately be better off with a paid course, but you can learn enough to recognize a shark when you see one.
From time to time I recommend website development courses that actually deliver on their promises. Sign up with this free 7-Step Website Makeover Planner. Click here for immediate download!
(3) Don’t start your website till you’re clear on the what and the why.
Why do you need a website … or a new website? What will you accomplish? Just putting up a website won’t bring a horde of clients (usually). You’ll need to promote it.
What’s the message of your website? What is your value proposition?
(4) Choose website services where you’ll be challenged creatively to go beyond your comfort zone.
You get questions like, “How do you know there’s a market? Will they buy from anybody? Will they buy from you in particular?”
My. role is to help you come across with a stronger, more appealing, more targeted message. Your designer’s role is to support your message without overpowering the copy. Your tech person’s role is to keep your site safe and solve glitches…and recommend services so glitches rarely happen.
If you’d like to work with me on your website, let’s start with a consultation. Click here to learn more.
And if you’ve got a website and want to make it better, let’s start with a video critique.