Did You Know?
Some website systems lock you into a template software that only works with the company you choose or even worse, a website that only your web developer can access and update. If you decide to leave them, you may find that your previous website content is difficult or impossible to transfer and you have no option but to start from scratch.
Why is this an issue?
If you are building an online asset, your content online should end up attracting visitors that most likely turn into revenue at some point. If not revenue, it may be to bring awareness to a cause or issue. Either way this takes time, energy, commitment and money to develop. Not owning and controlling this content is a recipe for disaster and a trap many unwittingly fall into.
For example, if you build your website on free or proprietary software that is owned by a company they do not have to provide you with a copy of your website. This means that moving your website may mean starting all over again. While it is easy to copy your old pages from the web, copying formatting, url structure, meta content, layout, pictures and search engine position is much trickier to do.
Typically you need access to the website database and content. Once you have this downloaded you can move your website to a new hosting company or a new developer without any adverse consequences on your websites performance (providing you plan it carefully.
If you do not have this, you are effectively having to start your website from scratch and will lose any search any rankings that you have worked hard for. This can potentially destroy a business or set it back years.
Who does this?
They will not openly tell you that their software is proprietary but the easy, drag and drop style website builders – the type you see advertised on TV – are typically proprietary and non transferable. This include the ones that get you in for free and then charge in increments as your website grows.
Facebook and other social media websites are like this too. Usually terms on such sites states that they can use your content as they require, which may include charging you for services, making money from your content and sharing it as they see fit.
The only way to fully own and control your online content is to run your website in Open Source systems (like WordPress) or build your own code from scratch.
Alternatively, you could find a friendly business that is open about the software being used and will not restrict you from moving your content in its entirety if desired. For example, WebCentric360 🙂