I really hate having to take over an existing website. And NOT for the reasons you may think. It’s not the redoing the website that I dislike – most of them are really really bad and a joy to redo. It’s sort of like mowing a lawn. When you have something that’s actually mowed weekly to deal with, it’s not much fun because you can’t really see the results. Now, when you mow down a lawn with 4 or 5 inch long grass, you REALLY can see what you’ve done. Same thing with websites. LOVE getting hold of one of these bad websites created 5 years ago by a really bad dev LOL.
The part that *I* hate is getting DNS repointing done and domain info transferred. A huge percentage of the time, the customer has no idea who their domain registrar is – much less how to access it. It frequently is in the hands of a company that has the “We do it all” thing in place where the host company owns the name and it’s a small nightmare to get the domain released for repointing or transferring elsewhere. Sometimes the domain registration information has been moved to another company. One of my clients recently found their domain name registrar to be a company in Australia. How THAT happened is still a mystery – but I’ve no doubt that it was a case of a registrar selling out, going out of business or some other issue. Other times, the admin and other contacts are pointed to someone who is no longer available and left the company 3 years ago – and trying to change the domain info is a non-ending series of half-steps.
The worst domain repointing case I have ever had to deal with was a website for Daylight Donuts of Raleigh. It was actually a pretty nice site that was created by a college student. Probably got a great price. There are some talented college students out there that make their money doing websites, but the problem lies in long term maintenance. When Daylight Donuts contacted me, they had been trying to get something changed on their website for months, but couldn’t get in touch with the student. She had graduated and moved on. And no longer used the email address that she had registered the domains with. Long story short, I ended up walking her father, who was just barely computer literate though extremely helpful, through the whole process. NO idea what ever happened to the girl – never even got a chance to talk with her. The whole process ended up taking right at a month and took more time to do than to move / redo the website itself in terms of hours.
There’s a few takeaway points of note here:
- Look for a web design company that is going to be around for the long haul. Even if you pay more than with a college student, long term service WILL be needed. And you need to be able to find the web developer / web development company after the site is launched.
- Know where your site domain is registered – GoDaddy, Network Solutions, the hosting company, etc. AND have access to the records if needed.
- It’s a good idea to keep your name somewhere in the domain contacts list. AND make sure that the email addresses and such are current at all times. We frequently register domain names in the Lizardwebs name and add on the client after registration as needed. For us, it speeds up the time required if we need to repoint the site, email servers, etc. If you DON’T have a personal relationship with the company, you need to keep your name on there somewhere.