By Judith Briles
From me to you … it’s time for an essential … ummm, sometimes uncomfortable moment—maybe one that never thought about. But should have. It’s about your website.
Do you have protection?
- What happens if your webmaster decides to go tiptoeing through the tulips?
- Or quits on you?
- Or is in an accident?
- Or you have decided to no longer work with him or her?
- What happens?
Do you have protection for your website? Odds are, you don’t.
It’s an “oh-oh” time. And yes, it deals with your website.
- Are you really protected?
- Do you know where all the details are backed up?
- Do you have all your logins, passwords, codes and anything else that you need if you must access it immediately?
- If you need help, do you know where to go? Who to ask?
- If you have a webmaster, what if he or she gets hit by a bus? Decides to go smell the roses. Wants to pursue other things. Or yikes, dies?
It’s a come to Website Chat Time.
Start with creating your own SOS: Website Due Diligence Plan … to protect you and your website. I had the “come to webmaster meeting” not long ago.
13 Essential Steps for Website Due Diligence
Here are the essential steps that I came up with. Must have answers to in a short—very short period-of-time from whoever has the website strings that you rely on.
1. Ownership and copyright
- Who owns your website?
- Is the copyright in YOUR name?
That means NOT in your webmaster’s, a lawyer’s or someone else that helped you out as your started down your website journey.
2. Website Host
- Do you know the name of the website host or server, its website and HELP phone numbers?
- Do you have the logins to the accounts?
- Does the host know you exist?
- Who is your webmaster?
- What is his or her email and phone number?
- Do you have the logins to the accounts—all of them, meaning usernames and passwords?
- Do you know:
- what format was used?
- if any special templates were used or created?
- if images were purchased or apps?
- Do you know what was purchased for the creation of your website that you paid for?
You may choose to leave your webmaster and what is yours, you want, and you want immediate access to it. Think of it as a divorce … it’s over.
4. Login credentials
- Who has the login credentials to your website? Credentials start with YOU—you should be the primary.
- You may have a virtual assistant or two who has access … but who? What is his or her phone number and email?
And, if you terminate anyone who has access or leaves your employment or confidence—CHANGE passwords immediately—better yet, do it before you terminate them.
5. Domain registration
- Where is your website domain registered?
Make sure you check your name anywhere on the ICANN/WhoIs database registration for your domain. You need all contact information.
6. Website Theme
Your website has a theme.
- Who owns it?
- Was it a fee or free theme?
- Do you have proof of allowability?
- What is the renewal date and login information?
7. License Keys
- Do you have any “License Keys” for plug-ins or themes?
- Who is the provider?
- Where are they kept?
- What are the renewal dates?
- What are the fees, if any?
8. SSL Certificate
- Do you have an SSL certificate?
You should, meaning that your website is “secure” if you are selling anything off it. An image representing that you have it should be on the upper section of your website.
- Who issued it?
- Was there a cost?
- Request contact info.
9. Shopping Cart
- If you have a Shopping Cart (including PayPal) … which one is used?
- What are the logins?
- Are you getting regular reports … or even checking them online?
- What about backup—is it being done?
Do yourself a HUGE favor and create a minimum of a monthly backup on both physical and online website locations that you can access in case of an emergency.
- Who does the backup?
- What is their contact information?
You have subscribers … excellent.
- What service collects the emails?
- Do you have contact information for help?
- Do you know how to access their names and contract info?
- Do you have a backup of names, addresses and how they opted in?
12. Start the conversation
If you have staff, start gathering ALL the above:
If there are any changes, get the updates done. Get them posted in a place that YOU know where it is and a TRUSTED backup.
13. TODAY … have a heart-to-heart with your webmaster
This is your publishing and authoring lifeline. It’s a must to have all the above information in a file on your computer—which should be backed up at least daily. And, it’s a must to have it printed out in a notebook or manual that your partner, spouse or trusted colleague can find instantly if something happens to you.
Stuff happens. Sometimes, not such good stuff. A key support person can become ill, have personal problems, start acting weird, quit or die. Stuff happens.
You need a plan to take care of the “stuff happening” side of what every author deals with at the most inconvenient time at some point in their publishing journey. Maybe not all of it, but definitely “some” of it.
Your SOS: Website Due Diligence Plan is the way to keep your lights on before the switch is turned off!
And, you are welcome …