Is Your Website Protected … Better Yet, Are YOU?

by | Jul 4, 2019

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.

Start with:

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?

3. Webmaster

  • 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?

10. Backups

  • 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?

11. Subscribers

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:

  • sites
  • apps
  • usernames
  • passwords


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.

Your motto is: My business IS My Business.

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 …

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

8 Comments

  1. Kat

    I’ve been creating my own websites since 1999, back when you had to write the html, so I’m my own webmaster. I manage two at the moment, my author site and a family business site. If I drop dead, I have a note book with all the info my cousin can use to either shut down or maintain.

    Reply
    • Judith Briles

      Good for you … so many of us “carry” info in our heads … never thinking that others may need it … and we may not be available to pass it on OR, that it can’t be accessed. Judith

      Reply
  2. Judith Briles

    Ooops Michael … I read you first name is “Marcus” … my bad. JB

    Reply
  3. Judith

    Micheal— do do what you want with your own sites; I’m going to assume your heirs have all they need to handle/ shutdown/ignore for all 50.

    But, be real. Most authors done build their own sites. They have help and on going tech support. The questions apply. Judith

    Reply
    • michael n, marcus

      I am now down to about eight websites. I have no human children, my dog died two years ago and my wife assumes she’ll die before me. If not, techy nieces and nephews can help her do what she wants with the sites.

      I’m curious. How do you know that “Most authors [don’t] build their own sites”? Building a website is easier than formatting a book, and many authors do that.

      Reply
      • Judith Briles

        Eight is still a lot to manage … but better than 50!

        Marcus — I have over 100,000 smm contacts — I run an author membership organization — speak throughout the country — I have over 30,000 podcast listeners … I know on only TWO authors who are managing their websites. Oh, they add blogs and content on some of the pages. But create; do techie changes … nope. I may be easy peasy for you–you sound like a pro at it … but the typical author is in overwhelm in much that they do. Managing the backside of a website is not on their short list. That’s my two bits. Judith

        Reply
  4. Judith

    Thanks Nanette— steps we all should k ow— few do. Judith

    Reply
  5. michael n. marcus

    I have always been my own webmaster, for over 50 sites. I don’t care what happens to them if I die suddenly or am abducted to an unfriendly planet. I assume they’ll gradually fade away when nobody pays the hosting and URL fees. My Facebook pages, however, might last forever.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Websites - Start Here! - Nanette Heffernan - […] Is Your Website Protected – Are You? – Article: Don’t be the cliche, “If only I knew then what…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.