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I had a lunch meeting today with Blue Corona’s Director of Business Development, Sean Coleman. When companies inquire about Blue Corona’s web marketing services, it’s typically Sean whom they speak to. Over burgers at BGR, Sean explained how the prospects he talks to make it seem like getting out of a web marketing partnership is almost like getting a divorce.
I’ve never been divorced (though my Twitter profile does say I’m going to make a great ex-wife someday so here’s hopin’), but I kind of get it. Just like a divorce, changing web marketing partners can get messy, and can also leave you with serious trust issues and distorted expectations when you enter that new partnership.
It doesn’t help that a lot of web marketing vendors out there don’t make it easy for you to leave them.
Over the years, we’ve successfully transitioned many clients over from other vendors. And sadly, we’ve also had to transition some (though not nearly as many) clients to other vendors. We’ve even transitioned some to other vendors only to eventually transition them back to us when it doesn’t end up working out with the new vendor. Here’s what we’ve learned in the process that can make your switch easier:
Know Where Your Website Is Being Hosted
Is your current web marketing vendor hosting your site? Is your site being hosted through a third party like GoDaddy or BlueHost? If your site is hosted through a third party vendor, did your web marketing guy set it up in his name or set it up on your behalf?
You can’t have a live website without hosting. Knowing where your website is hosted and if you can get access to that hosting should you choose to leave is important.
And don’t worry—it’s easy to transfer hosting if your current vendor is your host. But it does involve some cooperation from your vendor.
Know Who Owns Your Domain
Many web marketing vendors like YellowPages and Hibu will set companies up with a website that they don’t actually own. When their clients try to leave them, those companies find out that they have no ownership over their domain or the content on it.
If you’re going to hire a company to build your website, make sure you have full ownership of the site, the content, and the domain. You don’t want to lose the investment you’ve made in your website if you choose to split ties with that company.
In those worst case scenarios, we’ve built new websites for prospects who—you guessed it—get to take it with them should they ever choose to leave us.
Know What Your Site Is Built On
Many business owners don’t know if their site is built on a content management system (CMS), is an HTML site, etc.
At Blue Corona, we recommend you build your website on a user-friendly CMS such as WordPress that will allow YOU to quickly and easily change content. This will cut down on having to pay someone to update your website every time you have a new product, service, or announcement.
But also, if some guy out of his basement develops your website on own proprietary CMS that no one else in the world knows how to use, this makes it harder should you ever choose to transition to another web marketing partner.
Notice that I said harder, not impossible. We’ve helped many of our clients migrate their websites to easy-to-use content management systems.
Have a Copy of Your Passwords
Web marketing involves a lot of passwords—passwords to Analytics, passwords to different directory websites, social media profiles, etc. Depending on how long you’ve worked with an SEO company, it’s easy for those passwords to get lost (or maybe you never knew about them in the first place!).
Unfortunately, losing passwords can often mean your new web marketing partner has to go in and create new profiles for everything. Not only is this not the best use of anyone’s time, but it also causes you to lose stock in your existing accounts while creating duplicates that could potentially be penalized by websites or search engines. On the other hand, giving your passwords to your new SEO company when you make the switch ensures that everything travels peacefully and nothing gets broken.
Trust Your Company & Ask—Ahead of Time—What Will Happen If You Part Ways
We’ve written before about what to look for in a web marketing company. And one of the most important questions to ask the web marketing vendor you’re looking into is what happens if you part ways.
At Blue Corona, we view web marketing as an investment, so everything that we create for you—from your website design to content—is yours to keep should you ever choose to leave us. We are more than willing to transfer your passwords and hosting information if you find another vendor you think fits you better.
And even though most of our clients are here for the long term, it makes for a better relationship knowing that nothing is being held hostage.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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