Do You Seriously Think, Your Website Can Generate Business For You? Part 3

As I prepared to take the review call with a customer, something kept telling me that my previous discussion (Part 4) did not connect with our entrepreneur group, although they seemed to understand the basic theme of how customers and search are correlated? I need to make it simpler. Probably, an example with retail business would be helpful? As I was pondering … the Skype notification rang. Time for the review call.

“Hey, Mr. F, how are you doing today?” I opened the conversation

“Good. How about you?” he responded … albeit not very cheerful.

“You sound a bit down today?” I inquired.

“Yes, actually a bit disturbed. And I needed to go over this with you.”

“Of course, tell me”

“How can we access my website domain?” he asked

“Access the domain?” a confused me ,”you mean check your website on a browser or verify the domain name, status, activation, etc?”

“The domain name, status.” he rushed.

Sensing what was coming, I got into QnA mode.

“You have hosted your domain with your outsourced website provider. right? question no. 1

“Yes, I had this complete deal with him – domain name, hosting, email, SSL, website design, SEO, social media and online promotion. He had given be a great package for 12 months and I was comfortable because he was cheaper than his competitors and I had a one-stop point to work with.” Mr. F explained his case.

“And now, since you wish to move your online promotion, SEO elsewhere he won’t grant you access to the domain/website or isn’t responding favorably. right?” I guessed the problem.

“100% true. How did you guess that?” a stunned Mr. F

“Part of our business experience sir. Did you check the Read-First document file we provided when our consultation agreement was signed?” I asked inquisitively.

“Whats that? I remember receiving an email with this file along with our agreement copy but never looked at that really.” Mr. F responded.

“Well, if you had read that – we would not be discussing this domain name access issue today.” my statement.

“How does that matter now? Tell me what do I need to do next, so this problem is resolved and my website access can be retrieved?” stressed response from Mr. F

“Is the domain name booked in your name or the outsourced company’s name?” I checked.

“I don’t know anything of that but probably it was my name. How does that matter?” he questioned.

By the time he was responding, I had fired a query on for his domain name to check its status. The domain belonged to his company and the expiry date was a round 2 months away.

“OK. This is in your name and we are about 2 months away from the expiry of your domain name. Here’s how you can proceed:

Talk one-on-one with the guy (keep your agreement handy) about this problem. Avoid emails or phone calls. They become less-effective in such cases. I assume he is a local company? (Mr. F nodded).
Check his concerns on not releasing this domain? is it an agreement clause or will there be some technical issue or any payments linked or plain mischief?
Check if you can settle out the matter through mutual negotiation where everyone wins? (Note – he has access to your website. DO NOT get crossed or argue. Put forward your case openly on reasons why you would like to migrate from his business? Perhaps there could be some misunderstanding on either side’s part? Resolve it and continue else dissolve it and discontinue amicably.)
In worst case, there are legal routes but do we really want to take it there? As a SME, we should be working on preventing rather than curing issues. especially ones which are not in our core business domain.
That seemed to sober Mr. F down a bit. He said, “I will talk to this out with him. Can you join me for this meetup? I would be helpful.”

“I am in your town, next week. Perhaps you can set it up then?” I reassured him.

“But, how do I ensure this doesn’t happen again?” Mr. F’s concern.

“Aha .. now that’s like it sir.” I smiled, “Ready for a few more questions?”

“Do I have a choice?” Mr. F’s sarcasm (with a wink – I sensed). Both of us had a big laugh.

“Please read that Read-First document for starters. Its highlights are as follows:

Your association with a online partner/hosting provider is very crucial. Think long term. (like you don’t change your Doctor or CA very often right?). Hence, make that choice very carefully – not based on deals and offers but keeping the following aspects in mind:
Known or a recommended partner. That way you have some idea of their mindset upfront. This is crucial since this is not your business domain. If you have to choose someone who is new – do a thorough survey/research online, their website to establish their knowledge and experience.
Integrity over Skills. Another key aspect ignored in the face of lucrative deals. Saving some money today may lead to bigger losses tomorrow. Instead, invest in the right team with proven track record on integrity, trust and collaboration. That will guarantee long term savings and better business growth. The more you are free from managing these hassles and issues, the freer you are to grow your business peacefully and in a focused manner.
Solutions over Services. Go for a team that is proactive in suggesting you ways to improve your web management (security solutions for retail like SSL/HTTPS, Malware and virus security measures, timely backups, technology enhancements and data analytics).
This is your business. Your brand. You need to ensure you have full control over entire access of your website, domain, hosting, control panel, email, FTP, etc. Wherever possible try to make yourself/your in-house team the key administrator for all these platforms and given secondary access to the outsourced partner. This ensures you can retain access fully. Make this part of your agreement with him.
In some cases it may not be possible because of shared hosting, etc. In such cases, make sure you keep a tab on your website activity by requesting server reports frequently. Its best to have an independent hosting account although it might be a big expensive (but remember by investment comment above. Its all worth it.)
Engage and Involve in understanding basics of domain and hosting management. Its not as complicated as it is made out to be.
Some important dates and stats to remember about your website (put on your Google calendar)
Domain/URL expiry/renewal date
Web Hosting/SSL/Email expiry/renewal date
Date when your website was last backed up
Date when your access details were last changed (ideally change passwords every 90-100 days)
Date of agreement expiry/renewal with your outsourced provider/partner
“Own up your online brand sir. Don’t let it slip out of your hands. I have seen so many cases like these where years of established online reputation and traction has been lost because little or no attention was paid of these basic things….” I pleaded.

“Thanks Amod. This is doable and I will get to work on this. You let me know when you are coming over and we will meet up with our online hosting guy to sort that out.” Mr. F concluded.

“Sure do. Will inform my arrival. Bye for now. Good day” our call ended.

Ms. Y, who was overhearing our call pitched in, “You mentioned all those things to look after but mine in a single person online business (catering and food supply for small parties and events). Does this all apply to me too? Does it matter in my case?”

“Yes indeed. The size of the business doesn’t matter. Big companies don’t start protecting their online assets after they become brands. They do so when they are small and growing so when they become a brand they are protected and well covered against misuse. Making sense?”

“Where we all really suffer is this – we treat this as a COST vs an INVESTMENT. Please treat this the other way round and you will envision and create success for your brand.”

“Sounds good”, Ms. Y smiled ,”when are you going to continue with our online search sessions?”

“I guess, we can start in next 20-25 min when everyone assembles in the conference room? That’s one super room Mr. O has in this hotel. Lets catchup there..”. We dispersed…

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