Your Website – Three Things You Absolutely Must Control
I continue to run into attorneys who don’t really have control over their website – due to vendors who have set up certain systems, but retained high-level log in credentials (and failed to supply their clients with similar credentials.) In common English please – Lawyers should have exclusive control and access at the highest administrative level to log ins for their Domain, their Host and this Analytics account. In priority (and technical complexity) order:
As I’ve written before, if you don’t own your domain, you are essentially leasing someone else’s website. As a most insidious practice, some legally focused online marketers are getting their clients to pay for search consulting services and eventually upping the price or reselling the domain to the competitor across the street. This is the real estate equivalent of a landlord forcing a tenant to paying for upgrades to an apartment and then turning around and charging extra for the upgraded space. Not sure if you “own” your domain? Find out at Who Is.
You need high level access to your websites hosting provider in order to do a variety of back end things – like changing an email provider, moving hosting solutions and exporting your site’s content database. While you may want technical assistance in performing these tasks, you must have access in order to do so. Calling up your old SEO begging for passwords can be a drawn out, frustrating process.
Analytics Log In
For the most part, when I say “Analytics” I mean Google Analytics. Your Google password can then be used across the entire Google ecosystem –Analtyics, Adwords, Email, Webmaster Tools etc. Having admin level access here enables you to invite others to view (or work on) any of these accounts. Thoughtlessly gifting this level of access to a vendor enables them to read your mail or create new accounts to access your performance after you fire them (recent occurrence with a client and vendor both of whom will remain unnamed). You should have exclusive high level access. Note that Google Analytics has recently changed their interface (confusing every non-regular user). Carefully select access for your vendors among the following options (and never include “add users”):
Entrust your vendors with the performance of your website, but never abdicate control of it to them.
UPDATE: Check out Steve’s comment below for an approach your agency should be using.