I see this all the time, it is not uncommon at all. A business person buys an existing business, several months or years down the road they want to solve problems with organic placement and find out that they have no access to the important tools that control their online presence.
For any business owner considering buying an existing business, these are the things you should demand before the final payment for your new business changes hands. Then verify that they have been done before you sign over the last check.
- Domain name registration should be transferred to you.
- You should have the admin URL, login, and password for your domain control panel. Verify this! Make sure that if you needed to change your domain name servers you have access to do so. This allows you to change web hosts when you want without hassle.
- Your web hosting should be in your name and you should have administrative rights to the account and know how to login so you can set up new email accounts, and change passwords to lock old owners out.
- You should be an administrator on your business’ Google AdWords account. If the old business owner used his email address to set up the account, he or she needs to relinquish this email account to you or have Google AdWords change it to yours before you make your last payment to them. Don’t be satisfied with anything less than administrative rights.
- You should be an administrator on your Google Analytics account. Once you are an administrator, you can remove all old business owners and account managers from accessing your Google Analytics account. Don’t be satisfied with anything but administrative privileges. If the original business owner cannot do this for some reason, ask to be made a standard user so you can see the traffic, but demand that before you exchange final payment that a new Google Analytics account be set up with you as administrator and the new Google Analytics tracking code be installed on the website at their expense. This will allow you access to the old stats but full control moving forward. Demand that the old account remain in place for a minimum of two years.
You will never have more leverage to get what you want than before you make your final payment or before you pen your final signature to a contract. I have seen a number of instances when new owners simply did not know to make these changes and we have had to re-mediate them at expense to the new business owner. Be smart, be careful, and make sure you are not locked out of some of the most important tools to grow your new business. You should be in control not the old owner or an old account manager.