Firms at Risk; Web Professionals Take Note

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A new Fasthosts Internet Ltd survey released earlier this month found that many firms do not have arrangements in place to retain basic control or in some cases even legal ownership of their website and domains because of over-reliance on the IT or web consultants who look after their website.

Ever broadening consumer expectations for the web has led more firms than ever (43%) to opt for using the services of skilled web professionals to help create and maintain their website. 92% of these companies rate their external web consultants positively, with 38% reporting a 'good' return on investment. However, the Fasthosts 'SME & the Web' study found that many UK companies may be risking revenue and reputation as a result of weaknesses in their workflows with such third parties.

Additional insights from the study include:

- During the past 2 years, 1 in 4 firms paying for an external web professional have had their website off-line as a result of a problem related to the other party.

- 1 in 5 businesses incurred delays to projects caused by their external partner, and 17% reported losses of both staff time and sales revenue over £1000 as a result. For 14% of respondents, an external advisor or agency had gone out of business.

- In the event of an issue with their external partner, 56% of firms have no way of making any changes or additions to their website themselves and 80% have no facility for switching their website on/off independently. For these businesses, the link to their external web professional is a single point of failure in their online presence.

- Whilst UK firms invest millions in professional web design each year, 70% of those using a web designer do not retain a back-up copy of their website themselves.

"For many firms, using external web professionals is a very sensible and rewarding option. However, as external parties can come and go, it is vital that businesses protect themselves from the potential disruption, losses and reputation damage that an off-line or out-of-date website can cause,” said Steve Holford, Marketing Director, Fasthosts Internet Ltd.

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JohnD 08-30-2010 6:51 PM

Interesting article. ~ Commented through my Website Magazine iPad App!

MarkT 08-30-2010 11:36 PM

This article points to the reason that I always recommend some type of CMS for my clients, (ability to easily modify their own content) and why we at always allow our clients to administer their own, complete site backups that they could easily re-deploy, should our firm run aground, or otherwise be unable to service them adequately. Many of our clients cannot believe that we do not "hold their content/site hostage" and because of this transparency, we earn a great deal of loyalty.

BeckyD 08-31-2010 11:09 AM

I raise this very issue at every seminar I teach and with every client. Business owners must take the responsibility!

GaryS 09-03-2010 6:59 PM

I think alot of small businesses without web experience get caught in this predicament.  They rely on a 3rd party developer then realize that they have no control over their website.  Many small business owners I have worked with did not even know if they owned their domain or not.  Great post.

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