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3 Steps to Prevent a Website Access Nightmare

Don’t let this happen to you.

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WE SEE IT ALL the time. A new jeweler is ready and excited to get started with us. They can’t wait to see how the new ad campaigns and website changes will affect their business.

Then the jeweler realizes that nothing can get started. They don’t have the right access to their website or social media. Instead of watching new business roll in, our new client is wasting their time making phone calls, writing emails, and searching through files trying to get a hold of something called “FTP”. What does that even mean?

Don’t let this happen to you. Here are the three steps you can take to make sure that it doesn’t.

Step 1: Get Ownership

The first thing you want to do is make absolutely sure that you have a right to the information that you’re asking for. A common mistake is accidental ownership. Sometimes an old employee will set something up using their personal information or accounts, which is not owned by the business. Then they may leave not realizing that they were the only ones who could change anything. Many business owners don’t discover this until years later.

Another unfortunate situation is when the person or company that built your website, in fact, owns it! I know it sounds strange, but some companies will sneak this into their contracts as a way to lock you in.

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Whether you review your contracts or straight up ask, find out. Here are the properties to check for ownership.

  • Website
  • Domain name
  • Google Analytics
  • Google My Business (your Google business listing)
  • Social media accounts
  • Online directories (like WeddingWire or Yellowpages)

Step 2: Get Access

Properties You Own

Your business should have full access to the web property it owns. This means that you have the username and password for all of them. It also means that you have the challenge questions and answers. Finally, it means that the email addresses associated with each are email addresses owned by the business. Not employees or an agency.

Properties You Don’t Own

Sometimes you need access to things that you don’t own. For example, it’s common to have your website hosted by a different company than the one that’s doing your marketing.

While you don’t own or manage the hosting service, you still want to have FTP access to share with your marketing agency. FTP stands for “file transfer protocol” and it’s often needed for making website changes or adding bits of code related to marketing.

Here are the things that you want to get access to:

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  • Website login
  • Domain name
  • Website Hosting login and/or FTP
  • Google Analytics
  • Google My Business (your Google business listing)
  • Social media accounts
  • Online directories (like WeddingWire or Yellowpages)

Step 3: Get It Together

Once you have all of this information together, the biggest mistake you can make is making it easy to lose. Don’t let passwords sit in your email inbox. You’ll never see it again. Instead, get everything organized in one place.

Option 1: A Master Password Doc

You can create a spreadsheet in Google Docs to keep all of the business’s passwords. This has the benefit of automatic revision history. At any time you can look through the document to see who made changes and when. This is super handy if you need to see an old password.

Option 2: A Password Manager

This is the more sophisticated and secure option. Password manager services provide benefits beyond keeping your passwords. They can auto-fill the passwords for you and even enable you to selectively share your passwords with others. LastPass is one with free options, but their paid plans are inexpensive and worth it. 1Password is another popular option.

Proceed with Confidence

When you have the ownership, access, and storage of all your digital properties figured out, nothing feels better. You can easily work with and give access to any agency or new hire. You can wish employees who are moving on a friendly farewell instead of wondering what might be leaving with them. Best of all, you will have prevented the website access nightmares that plague other business owners.

Do you want to work with an agency that knows how to keep you in control of your online presence? Email us at [email protected]

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Charles Pobee-Mensah is the director of digital marketing for Fruchtman Marketing. Contact [email protected]

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Orin Mazzoni, Jr., the owner of Orin Jewelers in Garden City and Northville, Michigan, decided it was time to downsize. With two locations and an eye on the future, Mazzoni asked Wilkerson to take the lead on closing the Garden City store. Mazzoni met Wilkerson’s Rick Hayes some years back, he says, and once he made up his mind to consolidate, he and Hayes “set up a timeline” for the sale. Despite the pandemic, Mazzoni says the everything went smoothly. “Many days, we had lines of people waiting to get in,” he says, adding that Wilkerson’s professionalism made it all worthwhile. “Whenever you do an event like this, you think, ‘I’ve been doing this my whole life. Do I really need to pay someone to do it for me?’ But then I realized, these guys are the pros and we need to move forward with them.”

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