Signs A Website is Being Held Hostage and How to Prevent Them

A website can transform your business. Your website is who you are. It is your ultimate tool, your marketplace, your lead generator, your communicator, your body of work. But what happens when you lose it to a bad web developer?

Let’s say you’re a website owner. You’re all pumped up to get your content published but you don’t know how. You reach out to your web developer to load and publish it for you, but they seem annoyed by your request. They ignore you, or worse, they ask for additional costs. This could be a sign they’re holding your website hostage.

Unfortunately, this happens all the time. Even worse, you don’t have a tiny clue if your website is safe from its developers right now! But there are ways to determine if your website is in a hostage crisis. Here are the warning signs:

  • The developer is hiding important information from you during the building process or even after the website is built, such as full admin access.
  • The developer has taken full control of your website without you even noticing.
  • Your website is accessible to you only if the developer’s demands are met, such as an unreasonable amount of additional fees.
  • The developer is not giving you ownership despite you being the owner of the brand.

So, how can you protect your website from a hostage situation?

It is tricky to build your own website. If you’re not as technologically skilled as a web developer, you will need all the help you can get. But before you hire any developer or designer, here are a list of steps to take to minimise the chances of a website hostage crisis:

1) Determine who owns the your domain and web hosting.

You don’t necessarily have the own the actual servers your website is hosted on, there are many companies that offer just that – web hosting. However, to ensure you have full access to all your web content regardless of who builds it, you should be the one to register the hosting account so if things ever go wrong, you can recover access by proving your identity with the hosting company.

If you already have a website you want to rebuild, but you’re unsure who it’s hosted or registered with, you can find out by searching here. However, this information is not fully accessible on countries with GDPR laws.

2) Register your hosting account

You need to register and know how to set up your own web hosting account, or you should immediately be given access before building your website. You need to have full control of this, so you won’t have a hard time making updates to your website later.

3) Register your domain name

This is your website’s URL and is a key element to your website, you wouldn’t want to use a random nonsense address when you’re telling people to check out your business website! Don’t rely on a developer or a designer to do this for you. If they buy a domain on your behalf, it’s their domain, not yours. There is a possibility to get it back, but most of the time it costs more than it should.

4) Ask for a contract

You need to consider only working with professionals that will present a contract. You will need to read through it carefully to make sure your website is owned by your business, not by the developer or designer.

5) Ask for the log in details

Before launching your website, make sure you pay attention to the details. You will need to ask for a handful of usernames, passwords and licenses so you can access the backend before you proceed. For your files, make sure you are provided with the FTP server name and path as well.

6) Analytics

Never forget the analytics! Get it installed under your business’ Google Analytics account to gain full access of your data. This is important for your SEO efforts.

7) Back everything up

Make sure your developer creates a backup of your website. If held hostage, they can always delete all your website’s data. You can prevent this from happening by backing everything up! When all else fails, your backup won’t. It will save your website.

Have you encountered any of these signs from your web manager? Are you new to building a website for your business and can’t tell enough if your website is safe from all this? Tell us your situation! Or click here to learn how you can rescue your website from a hostage crisis.

Digital Marketing Trends in 2020 Businesses Should NOT Ignore

We made it, to yet another decade (YAYY!) and we’re excited for what’s to come! As we welcome this new era of digital marketing, we look at the top trends to watch out for in 2020.

There was a time when AI, data-driven marketing and visual and voice search engine optimisation were so far-fetched and ambitious that marketers didn’t even consider them to be possible tools for their brands’ success. Now, these technologies are in an upward trend.

The development of these trends are so fast paced, there’s no stopping its rapid advancement. Here, we explore the biggest marketing trends of 2020 that brands shouldn’t ignore.

Shoppable Posts

Social Commerce or Shoppable Posts are the types of social content where we can purchase a product or service. This is a brilliant way for businesses to bring their social media followers to their websites. People already use social media to research about a product (e.g. types, brands, functions and reviews), so this feature perfectly creates a call-to-action to convert the curious consumer into a customer right there and then.

It isn’t new in the social space but with Instagram’s announcement of the Checkout feature early last year, 2020 will see an increase in its use.

Chatbots and Conversational Marketing

Chatbots are what brands need right now. Let’s face it – consumers are impatient. Hubspot’s recent study on Live Chats found that 82% of consumers want a response within 10 minutes of when they ask a question about marketing or sales.

This is one of the reasons why chatbots have been in demand in recent years – and it will continue to grow in 2020. Consumers prefer chatbots over other means of contacting a business as they are responsive 24/7 and can accurately record messaging and purchasing history.

Despite the rise in chatbot demand, people are also looking for a more human approach. Conversational marketing is a real-time, one-on-one connection between brand marketer and consumer.

Businesses can build stronger relationships with their customers with conversational marketing. Through messaging apps and third-party tools that allow chat boxes installed on their websites, it allows us to enhance the user experience.

Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising is the automated buying and selling of online advertising with the use of AI. This automation makes transactions efficient and more effective, streamlining the process and consolidating your digital advertising efforts into one technology platform. Ad placement, media buying, performance tracking and customer targeting are examples of programmatic advertising.

It is effective as it uses automation, therefore it’s faster, more efficient and helps businesses acquire more customers at a lower cost.

Video marketing and Vlogging

Video marketing is the most important emerging trend. Smart Insights study says that 72% of people prefer video content over text when learning about a brand.

Any form of video content, from short films to explainer videos, guarantee a boost in social reach and engagement for as long as your business properly utilise your social media platforms. One example is the live broadcast feature of Facebook and Instagram. This allows brands to launch a live streaming event where viewers can participate by leaving messages in the comments section. LinkedIn has also launched a live stream feature early last year, which is has been especially helpful for B2Bs.

Another type of effective video content is the Vlog. Unlike explainer videos, vlogs have a more personal touch to it. Viewers love it because it’s relatable and more human.

Visual and Voice Search

People are now using search engines on a whole new level. With voice and visual search tools now developed and made available to all, businesses need to bump up their game with their approach on SEO.

Marketers need to ensure that their brands’ online presence are rich in optimised images and less technical keywords.

Ultimately, AI is the key driver in today’s marketing. It helps businesses understand their customers’ behavior and search patterns by analysing and monitoring data from social media platforms and other websites.

Despite this, businesses are keen to focus on people as well, not only in technology. According to marketing expert Michael Brenner, “there is a pushback against the increased digitisation and automation of interactions between brands and consumers, and a desire to make marketing more human again.”

Is your business up-to-date with these digital marketing trends? Which ones have you already implemented? Let us know your thoughts!