I went to a movie last week. I finally saw “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”
I really enjoyed it. At the heart of it, it’s an action movie. There are good guys and bad guys, cool toys, chase scenes – and my favorite part of every movie: the Popcorn.
Everyone loves a hero. Everyone wants to rise to the occasion. Which is why I felt particularly bad when I got a phone call from someone with a difficult problem last week. Because we solve web problems here at OmniOnline, but this one wasn’t going to have a Hollywood ending.
Their issue was, sadly – an extreme example of what can happen when you put your business in the hands of a part-time, one-person, low-cost web developer or web designer.
Sadly, this happens quite frequently in our industry. There are more and more budget-based, cheaper website options out there that are getting easier to use all the time. There are many talented individuals out there that can handle one aspect of the whole picture, but not necessarily everything you need. There are low cost hosting solutions, and domains-for-cheap companies that can bundle up your domain name, and cobble together low-cost hosting and web design. They advertise that they can take care of this important part of your business.
But what happens when the unforeseen strikes?
If you have your entire online business in the care of a single person – what happens if that person isn’t available?
The panicked phone call I received last week was from a distressed business owner who was dealing with exactly that scenario. They had found an individual within their budget and that person had created an online presence for them using a variety of tools available to anyone with the know-how.
Unfortunately, he had passed away unexpectedly. This devastating event for his friends and family was also catastrophic for his business clients.
So they contacted us because they didn’t know where else to turn. They were in trouble, because their online form wasn’t submitting email. They had just executed a large marketing mail drop and had no way for people to contact them from the online form on their website.
A brief investigation found an additional issue – their domain name was about to expire.
Their website was live, but had incorrect information. Their domain name was due to expire, and they had no idea how to renew it.
Using basic whois info, we were able to help them track down the location of their domain provider (discovering the expiry date) but we had no login information for the back end of their website, their hosting environment, or the domain name itself.
The client is looking, at minimum, hours of time sitting on various phone trees, explaining their situation to one person after another and jumping through hoops to try and get help. Not to mention the time consuming and frustrating process of dealing with death certificates and business licenses to try and prove they own their own domain name. Worse? If they can’t get logged into the server or the back end of the website, they could lose the website itself.
I don’t like it when the best case scenario to a situation is for a someone to spend a lot of time and money digging up usernames and passwords. And I really don’t like the worst case scenario: where a client could be looking at potentially losing their domain name and existing website.
I much prefer the Hollywood ending where the “Good Guys” save the day and everyone rides off into the sunset or stares into the camera and sets the audience up for the sequel.
But Hollywood endings don’t always happen in real life, and you should have your business prepared for that.
It comes back to something I often ask potential clients: How much is a low-cost web solution going to cost you?