As you can probably see from all of the videos I’ve shared in the past months, there is a LOT that goes into creating an effective website for your business.
I want to ensure that you are properly protecting that investment of time and effort and money.
Let’s start with an important question:
Do you know all of your logins?
When I started working with Sarah, she was entangled in a nasty situation with her website.
She found herself working with a website developer who had become extremely antagonistic and she realized she needed to step away from this fellow.
But he decided he was going to hold her website hostage.
Sarah was very concerned he was going to take down her online store, which accounted for a large portion of her revenue.
Why not just have me step in and take over the website?
She didn’t have her hosting login information.
The initial developer had set it up and had never provided it to her, and she had never thought to ask for it. Until then, she had just relied on him for any changes that required website hosting access.
We did manage to extricate her from the situation. Sarah ended up involving her paying him a chunk of money in order to obtain access to the hosting details so that we could migrate her to a new hosting account.
She could have taken legal action but that would have taken a lot of time to settle and a lot of legal expense. Meanwhile, she wasn’t going to have the access to her website that required.
At the end of the day, if you don’t have the logins for your website, and you also have a developer who has gone AWOL for whatever reason, or who you want to let go of, or who has simply gone on holiday or maybe they have the flu.
At a minimum, you are dependent on someone else to be able to control your website, though things can go very badly if you have a website developer who decides they don’t want to share the logins with you.
Sophia was a creative professional that I worked with, and she found herself in a website domain hostage situation.
Her original website support guy had helped her set up her domain name. However, when he did so, he didn’t put Sophia as the domain’s registered owner.
He put his own name, and he wouldn’t willingly hand over the login information so that she could update it.
As a result, Sophia found herself in a legal dispute that dragged on for quite a long period of time. For the duration of that dispute, she had to use an alternate version of her website address.
This scenario of not having your domain account login is quite common but when you put yourself in this situation, you’re at your web designer’s mercy, even if you had a backup of your website.
How does this happen?
I’ve come across numerous examples of business owners who don’t have easy access to one or more of their website-related accounts. Sometimes it’s just not even on their radar that they should have them, so they don’t think to ask.
If you don’t have your login information, it could end very badly. I don’t want you to be another one of my website nightmares.
Even if you don’t get stuck with a disgruntled ex-web developer, there are plenty of other good reasons to make sure you have your logins.
At a minimum, if you are in the dark about how to get into your site, it means you’re not in control of your site – which not only doesn’t feel very good, but it also puts you at risk.
It also adds unnecessary work to figure out where everything is registered/hosted and what the login credentials are for each website property.
Step 1: Compile & Test Your Logins
You likely have more logins than you realize and you need easy access to them all.
I’m going to outline some of the most important logins, but you can also grab a Logins checklist PDF I’ve provided as a supplementary resource below this video.
All website owners, regardless of the platform your website has been built on, will need to have their Domain registrar login.
This is where you registered (and where you manage) your website domain name. You’ll need the registrar company name, your username, password and account email address.
Custom Fonts Account
If you have used any custom fonts on your website, for example, if you have Adobe Fonts, you will have a custom fonts account login. If you’ve only used Google Fonts on your website, then you won’t have a login for this.
Email Marketing Account
If you have created an opt-in or lead magnet in order to build your email list, you will have an email marketing account, whether it be at ConvertKit or Active Campaign or MailChimp or another email marketing provider. You’ll need to keep track of that login.
Every small business owner should implement Google Analytics on their website in order to track the behaviour of visitors to their site. Make sure you keep track of this login.
Google Search Console
Similarly, you should also set up an account with Google Search Console, and ideally, that should be done with the same login as you’ve used to set up your Google Analytics account.
Site Builder Login
If you have built your website on a site builder (e.g. Squarespace, Wix, etc.), you will have a site builder account. You’ll want to record your account login URL, username and password.
If your website is powered by WordPress, you will have some important logins to keep track of, including:
Your WordPress admin login, including your login URL, username and password.
If you are using a self-hosted platform like WordPress, you will also have a website hosting account. You should keep a record of your hosting company’s URL, your hosting control panel username and password. Also track your FTP URL, username and password.
If you don’t have your FTP info, your developer should be able to ascertain that info through your hosting account login info
That said, don’t forget to change your FTP details if you ever change your other passwords in the future.
You will have a WordPress theme login if you purchased a premium theme, for example, something like Avada or Elementor or some other theme.
Make sure to keep a record of your theme site login URL, username and password. You’ll need this info to do future theme updates (which is important to maintain your website’s security).
If your website developer custom-built your WordPress theme from scratch, you won’t have a theme account.
You’ll also need to keep a record of your login credentials for any plugins you’ve used. For example, that might include plugin accounts such as Imagify, WP Rocket, Wordfence, and so on.
Test Your Logins
I want you to start by compiling all of your website-related logins using the logins worksheet.
Then, please don’t assume that the logins work – you have to test each of them to make sure that you are able to successfully login to your account.
This is an extremely important step to not miss.
I can tell you that I’ve regularly had clients provide me with the logins for their various website accounts, only to discover that only some of the logins actually work.
Then, we have to go through a process of re-setting those login credentials.
Go back to the logins worksheet and one by one, check and mark off each login once it’s been confirmed.
If you run into any logins that aren’t accurate, follow up with whoever initially set up those accounts. You’ll need to confirm that you have the correct login credentials. Alternately, you may need to take steps to reset your password.
While that may be a pain, it’s better to take action before it’s urgent to have account access.
Step 2: Ensure You Have Account Ownership
Your first step is compiling and testing all of your logins, and step two is ensuring that you have ownership over all of your website accounts.
In Sophia’s story, the first part of the problem was that her website developer wouldn’t provide Sophia with the login information to her domain account, which is why compiling your logins is so important.
But the second part of that problem was that the developer had registered the domain in his name, which meant that Sophia wasn’t the actual owner of the domain.
A lot of business owners simply don’t want to deal with setting up accounts when creating their website for the first time. It can feel very overwhelming when you’re eyeballs deep in Website 101 stuff.
However, if you’re going to delegate these responsibilities, it is very important to not assume that accounts have been registered in your name.
Double-Check Your Accounts
You need to login to each account for your website. Confirm that the account is set up in your name and ensure that the account is attached to an email address you can access.
If you find an account registered in another person’s name, for example, your original website developer, then you need to take steps to update it to your name and contact information.
Or, if you find an account that is attached to an email address that you don’t actively use any longer, you need to take steps to update it to your current email address.
If you don’t, and you need to reset your login information in the future, you won’t be in a position to receive the password reset email, because it’ll be going to an email address you can’t access.
At that point, regaining access to your domain account becomes MUCH more difficult.
Step 3: Organize Your Logins
You’ve now compiled your passwords, checked them all to make sure they work, and double checked that you have proper ownership (and contact details) attached to your accounts.
Now it’s time to come up with a better solution for managing your passwords going forward if you don’t yet have a solid system in place.
This is going to help you ensure that the next time you need to have quick access to a login for one of your website-related accounts, that you know exactly where to find it.
If you’re one of those folks who keep all of their passwords listed in a notebook next to your computer, yes, I’m especially talking to you.
You Need a Password Manager
A password manager is a secure and automated replacement for that notepad or spreadsheet you may have noted all of your passwords in.
Using a password manager will help you ensure that you’re no longer using passwords that are too simple, that you’re not reusing passwords, plus the extra cherry on top is that your passwords will always be available at your fingertips, across all of your devices.
I use LastPass myself, but there are other popular password managers out there like 1Password and Dashlane, so feel free to check all of them out.
No more scribbling down passwords on that notepad, okay?
Once you’ve signed up for your password manager, it’s time to take all of those confirmed logins off the logins worksheet and input them into the vault of your chosen password manager.
You can also add your various other account passwords into your password manager as well! This isn’t a solution limited to just your website logins, though that may be the focus of this lesson.
Do not forget to take this step!
I want to ensure that you move ahead with a secure and reliable password solution.
When you complete all of the steps in this and the past two videos, or if you’re already ahead of the game and you’ve already done this in your business… take a moment and give yourself a pat on the back.
You’ve taken a critical step towards protecting your online presence.