But it’s not always so in matters of the heart (think bitter divorce battles!) nor is it always so in business, which means of course there will be occasions when, sadly, relations between client and web designer break down and go sour too. No doubt all parties start off believing that a breakdown in communication will not be part of their relationship story but a wise client will ensure they prepare for all eventualities. They need something like a ‘web designer pre-nup’. Just in case!
The consequences of being stuck in a relationship with a dangerous web designer are fresh in my mind, having recently watched a good friend go through all sorts of difficulties because he wanted to detach from his old web designer and move to new one. Unfortunately it turns out he was in bed with a designer bunny boiler!
The good friend thought his old designer was also a ‘good friend’ – after all the old designer had been helping him on his website for years – for free! Problem was though, when my good friend tried to ‘break up’ because he felt it was time to move on and up the development pace a bit (albeit he managed the break up very delicately and with deepest gratitude for all said and done) the old web designer decided she didn’t want to break up and was going to hang on in there in that un-contracted relationship, come hell or high water. Yep, for whatever reason – known only to her – the old web designer dug in her heels and just simply refused to hand over the good friend’s server details.
The old friend was completely stumped because he had never thought to get his own user access to the server or keep a copy of the admin user name and password – he had always just let the old web designer ‘get on with it’. He just hadn’t been that bothered with all the techy detail… But roll the clock forward and oh does he bitterly regret that lack of interest and misplaced trust today!
Now bear in mind this good friend is not daft. He is a very bright and focused young man with a seriously cool business that is really going places. His Wordpress website has helped grow the business organically because of his own top notch content and really amazing social media. With a booking engine as well as an online shop – quite apart from being a little online brochure – it has become the heart and soul of his business. Bottom line is, the website is worth a lot to him and his clients – financially and emotionally. He absolutely can’t afford to be in the position where someone else can ‘hold him to ransom’ over it.
Regrettably for my friend the saga is ongoing. He still risks losing all the content and great web SEO he has built up. The thing is in the end he will be OK because he owns his own domain so he could in the last resort build another site there. But only after a raft of bitter and unnecessary tangles, spent money and energy. Plus the old web designer will be left with egg on her face and a reputation for being an uncooperative saboteur. I guess she is desperate and frightened of losing business. They say desperate people do desperate things. But even so, don’t all sane people know for sure that any relationship you have to trap someone into staying in – is one not worth having?
The positive side of this (if there is one) is that the good friend will get there in the end because…
- Lucky for him – he is in possession of the username and password to his business domain, which is the crown jewels of website ownership.
- He has also bucked up his ideas when it comes to the importance of his website administration and the Ts & Cs of ownership as well as what a relationship should look like with a designer/host.
- His lesson learnt is that never again will he let anyone, even someone he thinks is a friend, be in position where they could stop him from deciding what happens next to his website and his business.
Take action and follow these steps to futureproof your business & protect it from a dangerous web designer: