It’s easy to get a website up and running – fast! You can do it yourself in no time, or have someone create it for you with just a click of a button. And, it comes with awesomeness like low monthly fees and a gazillion email addresses. What’s not to love? Except, of course, when the love fades and you discover…
You Don’t Own Your Site
Last year we were hired to upgrade a site created with an “instant web site” feature offered by some low-cost hosting companies. The client paid their monthly fees for years, so they were surprised to find out they didn’t own the content of their site. Not the graphics. Not the photos. Everything they wanted to transfer from their previous site would have to be created again from scratch.
It could’ve been worse. Customers of some low-cost hosts and website creators have discovered they don’t even own their URL!
Understand What You’re Paying For
It’s fine to pay a small monthly fee for a site you don’t own if you will probably get rid of it anyway when you have the budget to do better.
Less common, but still possible, is that paying a designer/developer up front for your web site doesn’t protect you from this scenario. And you might not discover this until the time you decide to hire someone else to do work on your site.
The bottom line is, read the fine print in the contract before you buy. If a designer or developer is going to retain the rights to your website, it will say so in their contract.
Our contracts are simple: once our clients pay for their product, they own their product. We do not retain ownership to any materials we produce for our clients’ use.
It’s worth it to check your website contract now to find out who really owns it. Even if you aren’t planning any major changes soon, at least you won’t be blind-sided when the time comes that you want to make a designer, developer or hosting change.