The dangers of disappearing website builders

I’ve been building and marketing commercial websites since about 1998 and there’s one aspect of this industry that never ceases to bewilder and sadden me.  Well it’s not an aspect of the web-industry, more a character quirk of some operatives within the industry.  They build a website then they disappear.

Over the years I’ve had many panicked calls from folk who have invested heavily in a web-presence then have been dropped by a developer or designer who disappears off the face of the earth.  I step in to pick up the pieces, which invariably involves a considerable amount of detective work on my part.  Each time this happens I see the same thing – a website that has been well-developed (well most of the time) and a business who have positioned themselves perfectly on the starting blocks only to have the person with the starting pistol do a runner as soon as he’s pulled the trigger.

The client is left without the power to manage their own online presence and in some very dire cases they stand to lose control of their domain names.  In the very worst case I took on I had to travel to London and negotiate access to deserted office blocks to try and get to the bottom of domain ownership issues that were about to take a client’s website offline.

For this reason and many more each of our clients receives documentation detailing everything they’ll ever need to know to keep their website live.  We’re going nowhere, but we’d rather clients stuck with us because they like our work, not because they’re held to ransom.