WHEN THINGS DON’T WORK OUT
When things don’t work out with your webmaster and you are considering termination, how do you take back control of your website? My first word of caution? Proceed slowly and methodically!
When the working relationship ends, you’re going to need all of the information related to your website returned. So, specifically what do you ask for? HOW do you ask them? Then, how can you make sure your website is safe and protected from possible “tamperings?” It can happen!
WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOU NEED TO BREAK UP
Because breakups can be difficult, just remember, it’s 100 percent up to you (yes, you) to keep the waters calm during this exit transition. You don’t want to jeopardize your website, list of prospects/clients, orders coming in and much more by saying the wrong thing or stirring up muddy waters.
Be as diplomatic as possible and sensitive when you ask the webmaster for the controls to your website (such as every login link, username and password associated with every account necessary to maintain your website). No one likes to lose a paying client (you) but sometimes a change is necessary.
Remember the goal… we want the webmaster to “respond” positively and not “react” with hostility regarding your requests.What’s more, we want the webmaster to respond to your request with understanding and support for any and all of your requests to turn the controls (of your website) back over to you so you can either do it yourself or hire someone new.
One more thing, we want the webmaster to do what we “want” not what they “should.” As in, they know they should follow through on your requests when you present them. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. So, our wording has to be carefully chosen so they respond to you in a positive way. Here are a few sample ways to communicate with your webmaster when the time comes and you want to fire this person for whatever reason … Here’s what I’d say:
Note: A webmaster never needs to know WHY you want to leave should you decide to terminate services. If the webmaster asks for a tip on how he/she can improve their business, be constructive with your suggestions, and keep it short. Then, ask for the information you need and that belongs to you.
Caution, you should have a clause in your contract that addresses termination of services. You don’t want a legal fiasco to deal with. The terms should be short and sweet and terms that you both agreed to before work was started.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO ASK FOR?
Specifically, here’s what to ask should you decide to terminate to your webmaster. Here are some of the items you need to discuss before you ask to have your files back. Upon receipt of them, change the passwords where needed immediately!
FTP LOG IN INFORMATION so you can access your website on the web server and make changes. Your next webmaster will ask you for this information. The information usually looks like this:
FTP Host: __________________
WEBSITE HOSTING INFORMATION … a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals/organizations to make their website accessible worldwide.
Website Hosting Company Name: _____________
Website Hosting Company Phone#: ___________
Hosting Company Username: _____________
Hosting Company Password: _____________
Ask the webmaster for the welcome letter the website hosting company sent to you through the webmaster that maintains it.
CPANEL LOGIN INFORMATION allows you to access the Control Panel where you setup and configure your eMail accounts for your domain name. Depending on the web hosting company you have, this information, usually looks like this:
CPANEL URL: yourdomain.com/cpanel
DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION LOG IN INFORMATION is the company where you (or your webmaster) registered your domain name(s). You need this information to be able to change the name servers if/when you ever decide to move your website to a different web hosting company. It will look something like this:
Domain Registration Company: __________
(i.e., ReallyCheapNames.com, GoDaddy, NameCheap, NetworkSolutions, 000Domains, etc.)
Other accounts you might ask your webmaster to turn over include:
- Shopping Cart Accounts
- Merchant Accounts
- Audio / Video Website Accounts
- Social Media Accounts
- PayPal.com Account
- PR/Press Release Website Accounts
- Webinar / Tele-Seminar Accounts
- Joomla (/administrator/index.php) Logins
- WordPress (/wp-login.php) Logins
… and others if they apply!
You might ask the webmaster to place all the contents of your website such as images, web files, reference documents, and more on a USB thumb drive (flash drive) or CD/DVD and mail it to you for your records along with any literature, brochures or materials you offered to him in the beginning. Offer to pay for the postage and tracking#. Upon receiving the information, you will want to read the files to ensure that you have credible material to hand over to a new webmaster should you decide to go that route.
ONCE YOU HAVE WHAT YOU NEED
Once you receive you all the information you requested from your former webmaster, your next step is to change the passwords on every account the webmaster just turned over to you! Do it the immediately! Do this yourself for your own assurance. Document the new passwords and file them in a place of safe keeping somewhere in your computer where only you can find them and write them down and file them somewhere safe for your protection.
WHAT IF YOU OWE YOUR (SOON-TO-BE FIRED)
WEBMASTER/VIRTUAL ASSISTANT MONEY?
If you owe them money, calculate what they’ve done and pay them or show you don’t owe them, by calculating what they have yet to do. If they have performed “some work,” you might consider paying them “something” for their time. Hey, we all work for a living, and sometimes, we don’t always get what we pay for. But, we do have to respect people’s time and take responsibility for the decisions we make when choosing to work with people!
Remember, this is not like going to the store and returning a product for $10 and getting your money back. Huge corporations can afford to write off “product” that comes back to them. People, i.e., consultants, cannot get back their “time” spent working with a client, unfortunately. People are not to be treated in this fashion, and “time” is something neither one of you can ever get back.
If they spent more than 5 hours working “hands-on” on your project, that’s worth “something” to the webmaster. If you’re not happy with it, that’s okay. Just respect they did put in time and effort on something, that perhaps, they are owed “something” for their time.
And, here comes another tip for you, it’s up to YOU to MONITOR the progress of your webmaster every step of the way. You’re better able to “steer the ship” of your website design project if you keep close tabs on a webmaster’s progress. Check in daily, twice a day, twice a week, three times a week. But, check in! If you don’t, they could spend hours working in a direction you could have turned around if you just would have … checked in.
If you do request a refund for the entire amount of money you paid, consider leaving “some money” in their pocket for their time, depending on how much time you did spend with them. They might not have spent time working on your website (hands-on), but did they spend time with you on the telephone or consulting back and forth with you on your for a few days/weeks? Did you learn anything from them? Did you gain ideas, information or other thoughts that can help you with your business? That’s called “consulting” and that’s worth “something.”
Again, consider paying them for something positive they did do as you pull out of the project altogether.
THAT’S IT! YOU’RE IN THE CLEAR AND SAFE!
Great! You did it! Now, that you have all this information in your possession, the new webmaster you hire will ask you for this same information, no doubt. And, guess what? You’ll have it! And, if things go south again with this new webmaster (e.g., you never know how the future will unfold), gosh, at least you’ll have all the username and password information right there to change (again) in preparation for your NEXT webmaster!