9 Tips for Your Website Due Diligence Starting NOW!

by | Dec 6, 2017

By Judith Briles

It’s an “oh-oh” time. And it deals with your website.

  • Are you really protected?
  • Do you know where all the details are backed up?
  • Do you have all your log-ins, 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? Or yikes, dies?

It’s come to website chat time.

How about creating this Website Due Diligence Plan for the New Year?

1. Who owns your website? Is the copyright in YOUR name?

Not in your webmaster’s, a lawyer’s or someone else that helped you out as your started down your website journey.

2. Who is your webmaster?

Do you have the logins to the accounts—all of them, meaning user names and passwords?

Do you know what format was used; any special templates were used or created; images 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.

3. Who has the login credentials to your website?

It better be you as the primary. You may have a virtual assistant or two who has access … but who? And, if you terminate anyone who has access or leaves your employment or confidence—CHANGE passwords immediately.

4. Do you know the name of the web host or server, its website and HELP phone number?

Do you have the logins to the accounts? And does it know you exist?

5. Where is your website domain registered?

Make sure your name appears anywhere on the ICANN/WhoIs database registration for your domain.

6. If you have a Shopping Cart … which one is used?

What are the logins? Are you getting regular reports … or even checking them online?

7. What about backup?

Do yourself a HUGE favor and create a minimum of a monthly backup on both physical and online locations that you can access in case of an emergency.

8. You have subscribers … excellent.

Do you know how to access their names and contract info? And, do you have a backup of names, addresses and how they opted in?

9. Start the conversation.

If you have staff, start to gather all of the above:

  • sites
  • apps
  • usernames
  • passwords

And definitely, have a heart-to-heart with your webmaster. This is your publishing and authoring lifeline. It’s a must have on your computer. It’s a must have printed out in a notebook or manual that your partner, spouse or trusted colleague can find instantly if something happens to you.

A key support person can become ill, have personal problems, quit or die. Stuff happens. Your business is your business. You need a plan to take care of the “stuff happening” side of what we all deal with at the most inconvenient times.

Dead Social has create a check list on what to do if someone dies and a website is involved. Check it out here.

You will thank me for this Christmas time goose.
Photo: BigStockPhoto

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Laura Christianson

    Excellent tips. As a webmaster, I have discovered that most people do not know the difference between a “domain” and “website hosting,” and they have no idea where they registered either. And many people forget the login credentials to their website and their email marketing service.

    I like your idea about having a printed accounting of all this info, in case “stuff happens.”

    • Judith Briles

      Laura–you are so right. Too many authors are ignorant of what items are called and what they really do. My advice to all–learn them. As Laura says–there is a significant difference between a domain and website hosting service… significant! Judith

  2. Michael N. Marcus

    Excellent advice. Over the years I’ve been called in by several business-owners who needed their websites updated but they found out too late that the previous designers — who had vanished — were the only ones with the “keys to the castle.” One designer even held the copyright. Another had all of the original artwork and text files and held them for ransom.

    If your site has to be completely re-created merely to accommodate a small change, you can waste lots of time and money.

    Speaking of updating: while your site should be getting new visitors every day, you also should be getting repeat visitors. It’s important that they see something new. Add content, rearrange the home page, try a new logo, etc. A simple background color change can make a big impact with little effort. Try a major change annually, and little changes every few weeks.

    I urge you to try designing your own site. Free WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”)templates from such companies as Wix, Yahoo and GoDaddy can enable you to have a good-enough website online in less than an hour. It may not win a Nobel Prize, but you’ll have complete control and save money, and might even have fun.

    • Judith Briles

      Thanks for your insight Michael–bottom line: we authors need to be involved from the get go and know “who” to go to if help is needed. The “helper” can’t help unless the author has user and passwords to all. Get them! Judith



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