I’ve lost count the number of times someone has said to me “my web guy disappeared” and fortunately less often, yet just as inconvenient, “my web guy has passed away”. When this happens you generally go through a few stages.
First is denial (if they didn’t pass away). You hope that maybe they’re on vacation, or something happened where they can’t answer their phone, email, or door if you went to their office (or house).
Second is panic. You desperately search your emails and texts for passwords, tutorials on how to update the site yourself, or any information that will help you gain control of the site you probably spent thousands for and need to have updated yesterday.
When the painful truth sinks in that your web guy is gone, you have no way to update your site, and you have to search for a new one, you’ve moved onto acceptance. If you’re on this step as you read this, you’re in luck. You’ve stumbled onto a web company that has a 100% retention rate with our 50+ clients, and has had some of our clients for over eight years.
Before I make you feel bad for not choosing Yelling Mule in the first place, let me first give the fortunate ones who haven’t had this happen yet some useful tips to avoid this.
1) Get ALL of your log in information
Open your email client right now and ask your web guy for your: FTP log in, control panel log in, and your registrar (GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc.) log in if you didn’t register your site yourself. If he cares about security he won’t email them to you, he’ll ask for a phone call to give you your passwords. They may be hesitant at first, and may require you to sign a release form, but just explain to them that you want to have it for your records in case anything happens to them. If you have all of the above information any web guy can go in after your current one and make changes to your site. Without your registrar information your domain can expire, taking your entire site down with it, and someone may register it before you can and charge you $15,000 to get it back (true story, I’ve seen it happen).
2) Make sure your site has a content management system (CMS)
Having a CMS is important even if your web guy doesn’t disappear. A good CMS allows you to update all aspects of your site: text, images, add/delete pages, etc. It may cost a little more in the beginning, but it helps to avoid taking a week for your web guy to update your address, and acts as a bandage if they disappear while you search for a new one.
3) Get documentation for your backend
A good web developer can go into any codebase and learn how it works, but this can take some time and money depending on how it was coded. If you have a custom system built ask your developer to put together some documentation for it. A good developer comments their code, and has it nicely organized so anyone can go in and see exactly how it works, but unfortunately there aren’t enough of those developers out there. It’s also a good idea to get a copy of your codebase sent to you after it’s complete.
The above tips will help if your web guy does disappear, but the easiest way to avoid this disaster is to choose a web guy who isn’t going anywhere. Choosing a company such as Yelling Mule will ensure that you never have to utter the words “my web guy has disappeared”. As I said above we have over 50 clients and a 100% retention rate in the eight years since we signed on our first client. If you’re wondering how this is possible since Yelling Mule is only two years old, let me explain.
My partner and I, Jay, had separate businesses before we started working together. In 2011, after working together for over six years and using each other exclusively for design / development work, we decided to merge our companies. Our goal was to become the #1 Boston web design company, with the best customer service in the industry, and be able to ensure our clients that we would never disappear.
If you’re reading this because your web guy has vanished, get in touch with us and we will help you get through it. If they haven’t, be sure to use the tips above to make sure you’re protected. Even if you’ve never had a problem with them, make sure you at least get the log in information for everything.
Do you have any stories about your web guy going MIA? Share them in the comments below.