What’s OK – and Not OK – from Your Website Developer

Now that we’ve been running this business for several years, we’ve had the pleasure of working with a robust clientele. We’ve also had the pleasure – and misfortune – of working with some of the people they’ve hired.

In these experiences, we’ve worked with some truly wonderful web developers – as well as some we wouldn’t care to work with again.

If your web developer doesn’t want you to take certain actions, that can be ok. Remember, you hired them because they have technical expertise that you do not. Below are some good guidelines on what’s normal and what may not be.

What’s OK & Not OK from your Website Developer

Perfectly Normal

  • DNS Servers It can be normal if the person who built your website encourages you not to change your DNS settings. Some technically inclined business owners can adjust these with research and help but in general, it’s an ill-advised headache. If your developer tells you not to change your DNS settings, that’s normal and encouraged.
  • Theme They prefer you don’t change your site’s theme without talking to them. They may have done custom coding to get it to work in the first place – changing it on a whim is not always advisable.

Possibly Kosher

  • SEO If your developer did your SEO it’s very possible they’ll encourage you not to alter the work they’ve done. If they did good work, there’s no reason you need to edit it. In fact, most business owners don’t know whether or not their SEO is well done. We’ve had clients immediately alter the SEO work we’ve done because they didn’t think it was “readable” enough. We encouraged that client not to update the fields again. On the other hand, we’ve trained others to do their SEO themselves. Depending on your level of technical expertise, it may be normal for your developer to tell you not to touch your SEO settings.
  • Plugins Depending on your websites features, you may have your developer tell you not to delete certain plugins. This can be normal. Again, this depends largely on how customized your site is and how technically adept you may be.

Never OK

  • Login If the person who built your website refuses to give you your login information, that’s a big red flag. It’s like buying a home and your real estate agent refusing to give you the keys. You should have access because it’s yours. Period. As a result you should have access even if you don’t plan to make any updates. If your developer dies or goes out of business, you need access to your site to hire anyone else. A developer who will not give you the access to your website is likely trying to prevent you from ever moving away from their services – and that’s simply not ok. It’s your site, your business and you should have access to your website so you can do what needs to be done.

It’s important to work with people you trust. The problem is, that when you don’t know what you don’t know, it can be hard to know which people to trust. The above should serve as a good guide for you to know whether your website developer is working normally or not.


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