- Who owns the domain name?
- Who owns the content within the domain?
- How is the site backed up and where?
- Will you receive backups to the site in a way that you can reinstall those backups if your site is ever hacked or otherwise goes offline?
- Who owns your online customer list if any?
- In the case of mailing lists and shopping carts how do you get access to backups of everyone who becomes an online customer or inquirer?
If you hear any response similar to, “I’m sorry but our system is proprietary and does not allow for those possibilities” this is an indication the company has put processes in place to make the pain of disconnect unbearable or impossible. After all, if walking away means you will lose everything you’ve dedicated months or years building would you leave? Probably not.
Focus on building a business… not a web page
When it comes to websites the mantra, “if you build it they will come” is a false claim. You need to focus on building a business not a site.
Your website is simply one media for exchanging and disseminating information. Often it is the first step that identifies visitors who potentially have a need or want for what you are selling.
If you build a site that simply shows you exist you’ve failed. You need a site that works hard at attracting clients and customers for you–and making them enter you sales funnel– or weed themselves out as not being the right type of client or customer for you.
Look beyond building a website. Look towards building an online extension to your business. And make self-sufficiency your goal. Do so and you will have the confidence of knowing you’ve successfully put your local business online without the risks of being tied into 3rd-party contracts that control you and your business.
Is that everything?
No. There’s more.
This isn’t a complete walk through of every possible step, snafu, and site format that may come your way. That would take more time and several volumes to deliver. What I have tried here is to sequentially set down the steps for putting a professional business site online that will meet the needs of most small to medium sized companies–quickly and with the least possible cost. And I have excluded a lot of information that a few people are curious about but has little value to most readers.
For example, for some people there are questions about online shopping carts, payment processors, mailing lists, autoresponders, affiliate marketing systems, digital download delivery, on-demand fulfillment systems, lead generation best practices, squeeze page topics, and so on. For the most part these topics are not important to small local business owners.
For the sake of brevity and to avoid unnecessary ‘lingo-dumping’ a whole host of web marketing terms and processes I have not defined here either.
If you have questions I’ve not answered here shoot me an email. Or better yet…