Be sure that YOU – not your web designer – are listed as the owner of your domain name. Also be sure you know the company that holds your domain name “title” (registration. Once you’ve paid off your care, do you want someone else to hold its title? Probably not.)
Know how to access the actual web site, the way your designer does. This means at least having a logon and password and knowing how to use it and also know the hosting company that has your web site. Many companies have a “cPanel” (control panel, similar to the Windows control panel but different content); you need its URL and the user ID and password.
If your site suddenly goes down, is running very slowly or has other problems, you need to know who to contact – the problem may be with that hosting company’s computer.
If your web designer says “don’t bother with any of that, I’ll take care of it”, watch out! You have become dependent on that designer forever. If you and he/she part ways (or your designer is “hit by a bus”)…
- will your domain name be renewed? if not, someone else can grab – register – it.
- how do you update your site?
We’ve had business owners say “I need my site updated” but all they know is its web address – mysite.com. They don’t have any other information. That’s the same thing as asking a contractor to do maintenance on a house and giving them only a photo of the house, there’s no address and no keys to get inside. The contractor can’t do anything without the address and key. When you get this information, write it down and store it in a safe place. Consider putting a copy in your bank’s safe deposit box. It is the key to your online life. Tip: also put a list of all of your email and social media accounts, with the user IDs and passwords in a safe place in case you are “hit by a bus” and let family members know.