In the world of digital marketing, everything is not perfect or hunky-dory all the time. When things go wrong and they most likely will, maybe you have a disagreement about the way your website is working or if there is an issue money-wise. That’s when things can get a little sideways, so today we’re going to talk about what you need to do if you are going through a Webmaster Divorce.
That’s what we’re going to talk about today. I want to tell you about a story that happened recently to one of my clients. They own a sign company in Denver Colorado, they’ve been established for over 15 years they were findable all over Google. And then one day they have an argument with their web designer.
The web designer disappears, my client didn’t do anything or change anything based on that web designer getting upset. And what the web designer did was go in and change all the passwords to the website, the hosting, and even the domain name. So, he held those hostages and they’re ranking plummeted, their lead stopped and he sat with all the keys to their business kingdom.
This is unacceptable, an incredibly bad practice on the part of this developer. But what do you do? You feel powerless to make it out on the other side, what do you do? Well, just like in any hostage situation, do you pay their demands? Do you try to go around them and get it back or do you pull in attorneys? Well unfortunately in this situation, we had to turn to attorneys. But what I did do is a couple of very strategic steps to make them more findable when they got the website back, I help them and did a website triage.
Here’s a quick tip that you can follow if you happen to find yourself in this situation:
Call a lawyer
The first thing, unfortunately, we had to do was get a lawyer involved, now I’m not a lawyer and I don’t give legal advice. But if your webmaster takes your website, that should be your first call.
The next step is to contact the company that actually hosts your website. You have no recourse because the webmaster went in and changed the passwords, he also may have changed the information on the account to his name. When we went in to try to salvage it, we called customer service and they’re like, “We can’t help you.,your name’s not even on the account.”
Make sure that again those passwords are locked and loaded. Meaning that you’ve got some kind of tool to help protect those passwords. Same with us so we do use a tool called LastPass. There are lots of other tools out there. It’s also a great protocol to use when you let someone go if we’re letting a website master go or they’ve taken the website from us based on a disagreement. We want to make sure to go and immediately change the passwords on your hosting account.
Now again, this has an expiration date. You need to track down your logins for the domain name and change them immediately. So, we want to make sure that we change the passwords immediately. Important-Don’t use your dog’s name or your anniversary or… You know, try to be really creative in how you set up your passwords.
I can’t tell you how many calls I have received from clients who are desperate to get their websites back. So, what we did for the sign company is we went ahead and purchased the domain name with an I-N-C behind it. So, we were able to purchase the domain name, their legacy domain but we put an I-N-C, and then we built a new website on the I-N-C. What I mean by that is your domain, I-N-C.com.Then the next step we took was going into a website called the way back machine. Also called archive.org. What we were able to do is pull the entire website from this site.
We were able to go into archive.org. Pull the entire website down from there and then populate it here because we couldn’t get access to the code. There was no way for us to rebuild a website so we had to start from scratch. But because we had archive.org, we were able to pull down the exact look and feel.
You’ll see there are all these really interesting bumps when it comes and visits your website and pulls a copy of it. So, that was like a seriously helpful way for us to triage and get everything back. To run through what we did again is we called a lawyer contacted the Hosting Provider, we then immediately changed the passwords as well as the domain name, we made sure that we had all of the passwords again changed. And then finally, we went in and we recreated the website.
So, your domain I-N-C dot com. And then we also went into archive.org. We took that snapshot and we’re able to create a website over a weekend with my design partners. I’m sorry to talk about this stuff because it really hurts me because I know how much this hurts businesses.
You know, it’s always like to plan for the best and prepare for the worst. Because when you have to go in and do this triage, it’s full of stress, it’s full of anger and it’s full of you know, just raw emotion. And we can do things that are just not in keeping with who we are because the anger really kicks in.
Be prepared, follow these steps, and hopefully you’ll never have to go and do website triage from a website designer who has held your website hostage.
If you’re interested in preventing a website triage sort of situation, make sure to subscribe to my channel. Do not forget to hit the bell so that you will be notified every time a new video gets published. They’re short, they’re digestible and they’re really going to help you with your online presence.
Full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhURqVhs-WE