Tag Archives: Webmasters

Webmasters Lock You Up for Their Benefit

Find out how to unattached yourself from a webmaster.
Find out how to unattached yourself from a grabby webmaster.

You may not know it, but in my industry it is a common practice to lock in a customer to create a long term cash flow. Some webmasters will even set up accounts in their own names for services for which you are billed just to make it difficult or nearly impossible for you to leave them and thus secure payment from you in perpetuity.

I do not believe in this particular business model and have helped a number of clients break these chains, but there are some things that you can do as an educated consumer to keep from getting in this position in the first place.

1. Make sure that all accounts set up for you are in your name, tell your webmaster that all accounts must use your email, and your preferred password. By this I mean your web hosting, your email, your domain name, your Twitter account, your AdWords account, and even your Facebook Business Page.

2. Once these accounts have been set up for you, make sure they are done properly and login once so you can verify that you have ownership. Review the settings in your account to verify that you are not just invited to login to the account, but you are the registered account owner.

3. Only allow your credit card, and not that of your webmaster, to be used to pay for these accounts if there are charges. A red flag to you would be where the account is supposedly in your name, but that your credit card is not tied to the account for payment. In actuality you may just be invited to see the account but may not own it.

4. If your web designer or webmaster refuses to do number 1, 2, and 3, I would recommend that you find another resource for your services.

Remember when your accounts are in someone else’s name, you own the rights to nothing. If your Facebook Business Page is set up as a page under the account of your webmaster and you decide to terminate your webmaster, your account, you thought you owned, is lost. It is not transferable. If your hosting account is set up as a child under the parent account of your webmaster and you have a problem, the hosting agent will not speak to you as you are not the account owner.

It is unfortunate that many clients actually do not know they do not own their own accounts until there is a problem and they want to fire their webmaster. Don’t let this happen to  you! It can be costly both in time and money to remediate if even possible.

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The Webmaster Lockin Game and How to Defeat It

You may not know it, but in my industry it is a common practice to lock in a customer to create a long term cash flow. Some webmasters will even set up accounts in their own names for services for which you are billed just to make it difficult or nearly impossible for you to leave them and thus secure payment from you in perpetuity.

I do not believe in this particular business model and have helped a number of clients break these chains, but there are some things that you can do as an educated consumer to keep from getting in this position in the first place.

  1. Make sure that all accounts set up for you are in your name, tell your webmaster that all accounts must use your email, and your preferred password. By this I mean your web hosting, your email, your domain name, your Twitter account, your AdWords account, and even your Facebook Business Page.
  2. Once these accounts have been set up for you, make sure they are done properly and login once so you can verify that you have ownership. Review the settings in your account to verify that you are not just invited to login to the account, but you are the registered account owner.
  3. Only allow your credit card, and not that of your webmaster, to be used to pay for these accounts if there are charges. A red flag to you would be where the account is supposedly in your name, but that your credit card is not tied to the account for payment. In actuality you may just be invited to see the account but may not own it.
  4. If your web designer or webmaster refuses to do number 1, 2, and 3, I would recommend that you find another resource for your services.

Remember when your accounts are in someone else’s name, you own the rights to nothing. If your Facebook Business Page is set up as a page under the account of your webmaster and you decide to terminate your webmaster, your account, you thought you owned, is lost. It is not transferable. If your hosting account is set up as a child under the parent account of your webmaster and you have a problem, the hosting agent will not speak to you as you are not the account owner.

It is unfortunate that many clients actually do not know they do not own their own accounts until there is a problem and they want to fire their webmaster. Don’t let this happen to  you! It can be costly both in time and money to remediate if even possible.

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Put Testimonials and Ratings to Work for You

The first time you visit a website for a firm that you are considering purchasing products or services from, you will typically check to see if they have reviews or testimonials. This is a great place to see what others who have worked with the firm have said about their experience.

Testimonials are worth their weight in gold when it comes to establishing consumer confidence in your product or abilities. I strongly recommend that every business work hard to solicit testimonies from existing and past clients. I routinely hear from clients, “what if someone says something bad what should I do?” My first response is, if the comment is bad wouldn’t you want to know about it so you could fix the problem and then change how you are doing something to be better?

Here is an example of a 4.5 star rating comment we received that we posted on our website as we felt that the testimony created legitimacy for the other 5 star ratings on the page for our writing service.

“The quality has slowly improved over time as our writer has gained experience with the topic. Our suggestions and criticism were taken well and understood perfectly. Some of the articles are quite inspired, and the embedded YouTube videos and images really make the blog stand out. Overall, it’s really better than I expected.  I will be using your service for another project/website very soon.”

Although this testimony appears possibly not glowing look carefully it addresses that we took criticism and improved to cater to the customer’s needs that they are already considering using our services for other projects. By not editing the comment, we give legitimacy to other 5 star comments on the same page.

“I’ve had a wonderful experience with you. I am really excited to check out my new blog postings. They have helped my sites search engine rankings within 2 weeks. I love how organized you are and how efficient your system is set up. I feel very taken care of and I don’t feel that I have to worry about much.”

Remember however, when it comes to testimonies, you are choosing to show them on your website or not. If you get a bad comment, I would contact the customer immediately to work actively to repair the problem and relationship. I would not place a negative comment on my own website. Sometimes a comment after the resolution of a problem can be even more valuable to your business.

That being said, if you sanitize your comments and edit wording, the comments you place on your website appear fake. For me, I post customer testimonies warts and all. When I post a testimony that is not a perfect score of five stars it gives legitimacy to the other ratings on the page. I will however never publish on my own site a negative rating that hurts confidence in my abilities. That being said I have never gotten a negative rating from a clients – I work very closely with them and work hard to provide exceptional service. I use my rating system as a double check of my service to make sure I am staying on course and focused on my customer’s needs.

You can view all our ratings pages here to get an idea of how you may want to use ratings for your own website:

Blog Writing Ratings

Google AdWords Service Ratings

Web Design Service Ratings

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Robo Spam Can You Do Anything to Stop It?

You’ve seen it the gobbledy gook on the form that comes to your inbox from your website contact form. There is literally no way to stop this new generation of spam short of introducing a captcha field on your contact form. 

A captcha field is one of those auto generated boxes filled with a combination of letters jumbled together. Only people can read them not spam robots, so they defeat the use of your online contact form by robo spammers. One of the biggest issues that real users have with sites that use captcha is that sometimes the letters and numbers are not easily readable and can create problems especially for those that are visually disabled. Case in point is the captcha used on many Google pages. If you can read it let me know. Worse yet is the audio link that tells you what the captcha says. The speaker has a very heavy Indian accent which makes understanding what the letters and number are impossible.

The bottom line is this is you use a contact form on your website, you will probably get robo spam. It is not an issue of a poor web host or a problem with your spam filter, it is simply the new generation of spam that gets to you because it uses your website’s contact form script to send you the spam thereby getting past ISP filters.

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Google the Webmasters Friend

Google with the improvements made in the webmaster control panel has rapidly become the webmasters best friend. So what are some of these improvements?

Well one of the first is to let you know if your website is spewing malware. In the spider section if you have a problem that Google has detected, they will now identify the page and the script embedded in your page that is causing the problem. Although this is not typically a problem for most websites, it can be a problem for blogs that have been hacked in some manner.

One of the next features that Google has added to the control panel is to allow you to identify and target the correct canonical address from within the control panel. With just one click you can let Google know if you prefer http:// or http://www in your links.

The HTML suggestions tab helps you to know and correct any duplicate meta title tags, short title tags, long title tags, and even non-informative title tags.

There is real value in verifying your website in the Google Webmaster Control panel, so if you are not set up, sign up for a free account today.

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