As an Internet marketing company ourselves, it’s happened more times than I care to count. We have a prospective client. Everything goes well. They sign the contract, pay the retainer and it’s time for us to do our thing. Full speed ahead!
And then the train wreck happens. They can’t figure out who owns the accounts. Their old Internet marketing team is suddenly persona non grata. The company that built the site no longer exists. Consequently, no FTP, no server access, no analytics access… no access at all.
This has happened several times of late, which is frustrating to say the least. Look, we love our clients and I’m not trying to call them out. In fact, some of my frustration is for them. What I do want to do, however, is make sure–to the best of my ability–that any new clients know what they should do to protect their online business.
Ownership of Your Site
The company that builds your website generally builds it on their own server, called the development server. Once you approve of the site, the files are transferred over to the live server and the site becomes visible. At this point, one of two things happen, and which one happened to you is important.
- Your files are transferred over to an account that you paid for and have access to. You had to give access to the web developer in order for them to transfer the files. You have administrative access to the hosting account, FTP address, and domain information.
- Your files are transferred over to an account that the web developer set up. Since they manage your files, information and hosting, you don’t worry about access. You just tell them what you want done and they do it.
If you’re the person with option #2, you’ve trusted your company too much.
Ownership of Your Data
You hire a marketing manager to get your website going and they set you up with analytics data. You can confidently say that you have Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google AdWords.
Here’s what you may not know. Those accounts (Google properties) are not necessarily on a single account. There have been times that various accounts have been created by various people at various times with various email addresses. In other words, although you CAN have all your Google properties on a single administrative address, this is rarely the case.
If you don’t know or have administrative access through your email address to these accounts, you’ve trusted your company too much.
Ownership of Your Social
I think, by now, you get the point. You have the ability to have numerous social accounts, but do you know all the logins for all of them? Do you have a central marketing address where they’re all ran from? If not… you know by now, you’ve trusted your company too much.
Best Practices When Other Companies (or People) Run Your Company
I understand. When you run your own company, you have to delegate. -But you can’t just hand over the keys of your kingdom. If I asked you—right now—for the login information to your website (if you have a CMS), your hosting provider, your social accounts or your data and you have to go ask someone for it, you have a trust problem and you need to fix it.
1. Create universal marketing accounts.
- email@example.com for all your Google properties.
- firstname.lastname@example.org for your social accounts.
- email@example.com for your website development information.
- info@, inquiry@ or marketing@ for any place that your email is going to be seen by the public.
2. Set all accounts with your company information.
Some marketing companies create the accounts (such as the Google properties) under their own umbrella. This is fine, but you need to make sure they take the second step of adding your email to the account as an administrator.
3. Use a password vault.
Have a central place (such as LastPass Pro) that only you have complete access to. LastPass Pro allows you to set user roles and decide who is able to see which passwords. Otherwise, the person can sign in to the site without have access to the password. This saves you from having to change passwords when an employee leaves or a marketing contract is terminated.
What Can You Do Right Now?
If you don’t know who has control of your accounts, find out. If you don’t have someplace you can go to see the passwords to your company’s accounts, get one. Don’t leave your company information to the whims of someone else.
Yes, we are an Internet marketing company. Yes, we create accounts on a regular basis, but we don’t have a single client who doesn’t at least have the information to get into their own accounts. And that’s the point.
These accounts are yours. Trust your marketing company to be an excellent partner in turning your business into a traffic-bringing, visitor-converting, money-making machine. But don’t leave the keys to that machine in the hands of someone else.
To your success!
If you need help gaining access to your accounts, call Level343 at (415) 308-7375. We’ll help you pull your information in-house, so you have the keys to your kingdom.