There are three basic types of website owners: those who do it all, those who do nothing, and those who need help getting started, then maintain it themselves. First, let’s identify who these people are.
Do It All
As you might expect, these folks aren’t looking for help. They’re going to go to Wix, Weebly, or WordPress to do everything for themselves – layout, design, hosting, etc. They make every decision.
This owner is completely hands off. He hires someone else to build, design, and maintain his website. He can’t tell you where his site is hosted, and he’s okay with that.
These people get help building and designing their websites, but then they take over. They know enough about creating and maintaining pages and posts to do a lot of the work themselves, but they don’t want the hassle of getting things started. (I fall into this category – there are too many layouts and design options for me to pick one for myself, but I know how to do much of the maintenance.)
Regardless of which camp you fall into, there are some basics that you need to understand. Knowing (and having a basic understanding of) these things will make easier for you to maintain your website or have someone else take over its maintenance.
- Servers, Hosts, and Domains. These are essential to your website, and you need to know who’s in charge of each one. There are companies that will take care of all of these for you, and if you have someone build your website he may host and serve the site for you. Regardless of which option you choose, you need to make sure you know who does what.
- Use Your Primary Email. Your server, host, and domain provider – or your webmaster – will contact you when it’s time to renew. If you’ve registered any of these accounts to a secondary email account, you’ll miss your notifications. If you miss your notifications and don’t pay your bills, your site will go down.
These next two points apply to the Do Nothings and the Maintainers. Even if you’ve designed your website yourself, take note (in case you want someone to help you later on).
- Insist on a Master Email. It’s not enough to use your primary email. When you work with someone else, insist on using your primary email as your master email. Anything that needs to be registered goes to the same email account – yours. As you won’t do all of the registering, insist that your designer use your primary account. Don’t make it an option.
- Communicate Well. Do you want your web designer to become your webmaster (taking care of all of your registrations, designs, updates, etc.)? Then make sure you explain that. Likewise, if you want to be able to take over your website after it’s been set-up and designed, make sure your designer knows that. You don’t want to have your website designed using a plug-in that you don’t own or understand so you can’t make any updates or changes later.
These are very much the foundational basics, but they are of the utmost importance. I didn’t understand any of this when I created my website, and I’ve been paying for it ever since. My original designer took a full time job and wasn’t available for updates, so I went with a gal out-of-state. When I wanted to expand, I decided to go locally, but we were unable to communicate well, so I had to find someone else. After several changes to my business, I wanted to make changes to my site, but I couldn’t because one of the designers used a third-party plug-in that I didn’t understand.
So that’s four designers, and because I didn’t take the time to learn about the basics, I have separate accounts for my server, host, and domain registration. Two of them are registered to my email, but I’m still trying to get the third transferred from my designers email over to mine. It’s taken me over a year to figure all of this out for myself. If you can get a handle on these basics, however, it should make your website creation a little less stressful.