It may not be the case.

Do you have a website – if the answer is yes, then you probably are pretty confident you own it…. particularly if you have paid over your hard earned cash to the designers, developers and hosting company, Right?

I am sorry to be the messenger of bad news but that may not be the case.

If you had an independent contractor design or develop your website and they are or have arranged the hosting then there is a very real possibility you do not own your website nor have the capability of transferring it to another contractor.

What does this mean? It means that if you are not happy with your existing arrangements and are looking to find another person to assist you with your website, you may have to rebuild your website from scratch. Sorry, but that’s the reality out there at present. There are not a lot of web designers / developers that will be very helpful should you wish to take your business elsewhere

You need to check your contract with the independent contractor and see if it contains a clause(s) that assigns all rights of and ownership in the contractor’s contributions, including all graphics and images and the website as a whole, to you. A really easy way to get confirmation of this is to ask your contractor what would be the situartion should you wish to move your website business elsewhere. Would they help you transfer your existing site over to the new provider or release and give you a copy of the files, images, content etc, then wait to gauge the response.

Here is an easy checklist that you should be able to tick off all:

  • Ensure you are able to gain access to your hosting account. You don’t need to know what to do with it, you just need to know that you can get access without relying on your contractor.
  • Ask whether there are other website providers using the system that they are looking to develop your site in. If there are not a reasonable number of contractors using the system then you may be limiting your options should you want to change or move to another contractor in the future.
  • Are you able to make changes, add pages, change the look of your site, create and manage blogs, newsletters etc.
  • Where is the backup of the website and database held and are you able to have a current copy if requested.
  • Do they provide training on how to use, maintain and upgrade your website.
  • Is there a regular upgrade plan in place.

It is more important than ever that you take control of the ownership of you website. With the software and website platforms that are available in the marketplace, it is very easy with a little training, that should be provided by your website provider, to maintain your site without having to pay fees for every little change you want