Who Owns Your Website Design, Code, Domain, Blog and Traffic Analytics Data?

Recently we were asked to find out why a client had no traffic to a site (even after a SEO campaign with another SEO firm).

To identify all the issues, we had to pay a website development company thousands of pounds so I could just LOOK at the back-end of a content management system because the client “didn’t own the code”. The web company did.

After a golden handsake, I got access, and the result is we’re dumping a brand new content management system costing over £15k because the thing can’t even produce unique page titles on single pages. The CMS didn’t even have a function to delete pages.

At the moment, I can’t access another client’s analytics data because it’s not the client’s – it’s the web development company who installed it (yeah, that free thing you get from Google).

They same company added a @60 page blog to the client site as part of a SEO campaign – now that’s over, they’ve deleted the blog and it’s content because it was, in simple terms, “theirs”.

I’ll not comment further, just to say if you are paying money for a website, ENSURE:

  1. You own the website
  2. You own the domain
  3. You own the copyright and code (if copyright is applicable)
  4. You own the analytics data
  5. You own all data, logins and subscriptions (like Google local business) and can access them via a email account YOU CONTROL
  6. You own the content
  7. You can safely move the contents to the website to another host

…in fact, just make sure you own everything and can access everything and can indeed transfer everything easily, and at no further cost to you, or you could end up thousands of pounds out of pocket for something you thought you owned… and don’t.

Just ask your web dev company – find out what you own‚  and get them to sign something saying so, too. Any reasonabe company (like Hobo) agrees to this.

Remember if it all goes belly up, you as the client will be held accountable for not getting these basic things agreed in the first place – leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, believe me.

PS – Everything set up to do with your website should be in your name. Give the web company strict instructions it’s YOU who are giving THEM access to this data, and you are paying them to do this for you.


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