Right at this moment, your retirement community website could be in jeopardy and you don’t even know it. Why? Because you may not actually own your life plan community domain name (even if you assumed you did).
Sadly, this happens to many types of businesses all the time. The culprits are unethical marketers who take advantage of companies simply because they can. These companies often aren’t well versed in website technology. Consequently, they don’t ask the right questions before entering into partnerships with a marketer. The devil is always in the details. And the details for website development (like your life plan community domain name) can greatly affect your bottom line.
Be Careful About Handing Over the Keys to Your Website
Partnering with a company to create and/or maintain your website is a huge commitment. In essence, you are handing the keys to your website to someone else. Would you turn over the keys to your car to someone you didn’t trust? Of course not. Yet, companies will often hand off the keys to their website without so much as a second thought. Don’t forget one of those keys is your life plan community domain name. Lose control of that and you’re in trouble eventually.
It’s clear that retirement communities need to work with web companies that are honest and open in their dealings. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Not every web developer abides by ethical practices, and they leave behind a string of companies deeply harmed as a result.
In fact, Dreamscape Marketing has too often encountered companies in the healthcare field who were taken in by such unethical marketing companies. Many had to essentially pay a ransom to get control of their life plan community domain name and the contents of their website. In the end, these companies were scarred and suspicious of all marketers as a result. This is unfortunate because a good relationship between a marketer and a client proves mutually beneficial.
In the course of creating hundreds of websites for healthcare clients, Dreamscape Marketing knows that retirement communities must be careful to fully understand their relationship with a web developer. We recommend that you keep the following factors in mind:
Maintain access to your own website
It’s possible to be completely unaware of the fact that you’re essentially locked out of your website. Then, perhaps you and your web developer part ways unpleasantly and you realize that you have no control over your life plan community domain name or your website in general. At all times, you should have access to:
- The URL, username & password from the vendor
- The FTP server name, address username & password so that you can access the files on your website
- All necessary contact information for the company hosting your website
- Access to the WordPress dashboard so that you have 24/7 access to your website’s database
- All software used to create your website. Get a list & find out about any licenses or fees required to use that software (for example, some WordPress plugins aren’t free).
It’s a sad reality that some web developers could simply disappear on you. Maybe they went belly-up or moved without providing their new contact information. It happens. We’ve worked with clients who have been through this exact scenario and it’s painful for them to get through. Unethical or fly-by-night companies are a reality. Be on the lookout for them.
This is a situation that you never want to find yourself in. Imagine not having access to a website full of information. Picture not having control over your own life plan community domain name. People in this situation sometimes have to start all over from scratch.
You Need to Own Your Website!
Many retirement communities have made the mistake of believing they owned their websites when they didn’t. They just assumed they did. Then, they realized they didn’t. How does this happen? Usually because an unethical marketer tells these clients that since they built the website, everything on it belongs to them and not the clients. Later, they use this leverage to keep clients from leaving them.
No retirement community should ever be put into this difficult position. Therefore, when you partner with a marketing company for your website needs, it’s important to make sure that you own your website. That means owning the design, the code and the content (stock photography is another matter). If a vendor hesitates to agree to this, keep looking for another web developer!
The Domain Name Hustle
We’ve heard about this scenario countless times from new clients. They want to build a new website and an unethical marketing company “volunteers” to get the domain name for the client. They go ahead and get the domain name… in their name, not the client’s. But they don’t tell the client that important little fact. That’s a not-so-delightful surprise in store for the client at a later date.
This means, of course, that the sleazy marketer can hold the domain name hostage in exchange for a continuing relationship or for some “fee” that is essentially a ransom. This happens literally all the time… and to fairly smart companies. The lesson is obvious: buy the domain name yourself. By doing so, you avoid a lot of complications down the road.
Is Your Life Plan Community Domain Name Your Own?
Too many retirement communities have been burned by unethical web developers over the years. Your community doesn’t have to be one of them.
It’s time to work with a company that understands life plan communities and respects their unique needs. Dreamscape Marketing, a Premier Google Partner, has created hundreds of websites for our healthcare clients. We don’t purchase life plan community domain names or hold content and designs hostage. That’s not how we do business.