It takes a great leap of faith to trust a website developer with your baby – your new website. To open the door on your hopes and dreams for this new and evolving project is never easy, so nothing can be more disappointing than having your web developer go silent during the collaboration and building process.
You should put some safeguards in place to limit your chances of falling victim to this unfortunate situation. Absolutely do not let the developer take the lead on the project. You will need to remain the operator of the project, and the web developer will stick to the designing and coding. Create a very structured communication system by providing precise details of your expectations, set strict timelines and deadlines and check in regularly in order to stay as engaged as possible. Of course, not all of these efforts will work, so here’s what you can do to protect yourself if your developer does go M.I.A.
- Protect your domain name. Do not ever give your domain password to anyone – not even your site developer. They will not need it in order to do the work they do, and doing so is basically like giving them the keys to your brand new luxury car.
- Control your web host access. It’s a wise idea to set the developer up with their own FTP account and password to login so you can revoke any powers if they go rogue. This will save you the stress of potentially having to move to another web host.
- Backup often. From the start, make sure you have control and access to the hosting provider and website. This way you can back up as often as possible and thus, have something for a new developer to work with, as opposed to starting from scratch.
- Keep records. Make sure you have a record of all emails and other communications between you and your hired developer. Keep a designated file on your computer or print them out so they are easy to access if and when they are needed. This is vital in case you end up having to seek legal action. (Sidenote: Do your best to give the developer the benefit of the doubt and try your hardest to work it out, as seeking legal action can be pricey for both parties and will distract you from dedicating time and energy to your new site.)
If you are reading this, our hope is that you are able to be proactive about your web developer experience as opposed to scrambling because you have ended up in a dreadful situation where your developer went silent. If so, then keep the four points listed above in mind as you move forward in your search for your next developer. Put provisions in place so you can protect yourself and your hard work, and fingers crossed it will be smooth sailing this go around.